Well, we're here. We're finally fully living here, in Mobile.
Our erratic schedule is calming into a rhythm, our boxes are unpacked, and today, a new kind of normal begins. Here.
I was aching for so many things I found here. My life as an accountant in a cubicle in Montgomery left me empty and begging God for more.
Here, I feel like a better wife and mother. Our family spends more time together.
Here, I pray for my family more than I used to as I clean (surprise, surprise!) and work to turn our house into a home.
Here, I watch Brad dream about our church's potential as he grows as a preacher.
Here, I also dream about my purposes in this season of life... how I can serve God.
Last week, we started homeschooling.
The girls and I ripped open boxes full of books as if it were Christmas morning. We are having so much fun reading and learning together.
This weekend, we talked long with new friends in love with Jesus.
What a relief to so quickly find partners to share ministry with.
Yesterday, our sweet friend Mike promised to put me in the youth Sunday school teacher rotation.
I loved teaching youth Sunday school in Montgomery. What a blessing that this isn't over!
Today, I'll call a social worker from our adoption agency (who lives nearby) to find out where I can volunteer in ministry to orphans, or birth mothers, or adoptive families, or foster care situations.
(Now you know that's my passion!)
Tomorrow, we'll eat dinner with a family from across the bay who is considering adoption from Africa.
In this whole city, we've yet to meet (or hear of!) even one transracially adoptive family. I pray this dinner is the start to a new movement here.
I'm not bragging on myself.
I'm bragging on the Savior who heard our cry in Montgomery. He knew Brad was ready to preach more. He knew I needed freedom from accounting so I could fulfill callings at home and elsewhere. (My "elsewhere" wish list is long and rambling!)
I do boast that, while our family is weak, Christ still is giving us the hope of serving Him.
Serving Him here.
Can I tell you something embarrassing?
Even with the opportunities God is lavishing upon us here, I frequently care most about what PEOPLE think of ME. (rather than caring about simply living for Christ.)
- When new acquaintances ask where we'll send Caroline to kindergarten, I mutter the word "home school" with red face, convinced that they've now imposed a bizarre stereotype on our family. (or I skip the term "home school" and only tell them our plan to send her to mother's morning out two days each week for 4K!)
- When visitors enter our home, I wish I could tell them our old house was large and new and stylish. Do I think this charming yet small new home conceals our true identity? Worse still, do I find my identity in a house?
- I make mental shopping lists of "must buy" trend-setting clothing items... something I rarely did when living in Montgomery.
- I wonder whether my style of worship as the congregation sings on Sunday mornings seems eccentric to this traditional church.
I am ready to let these fears go.
I am tired of idolizing the opinions of mere humans.
How will I grow past this? I think knowing one truth is key:
I am hidden in Christ.
I am safely tucked away in the His Presence. (and His Presence is so good!)
- If I am homeschooling to teach my girls more about Christ -- then there I am hidden in Him and safe from the opinion of man!
- If I'm content in my home because my greatest treasure is Jesus rather than the place I live -- then there I am hidden in Him and safe from the opinion of man!
- If to me, clothes are simply clothes... if I neither idolatrously obsess over them nor moralistically deprive myself of them as a false religion -- then there I am hidden in Christ and safe from the opinion of man!
- If my worship on Sunday mornings is genuine, no matter how it's manifested -- then there I am hidden in Christ and safe from the opinion of man!
Christ is in me. He is also over me. Covering me.
And here, in the sweet dark cave where I am hidden, resurrection occurs.
Here, His nail-scarred hands and feet begin to move within my own, and I find myself living in His steps, walking out into His light.
Here, where I am hidden in Jesus,
I vanish, I die, and my deepest dreams come true...
Jesus becomes visible in me.
I must decrease.
And increase, and increase,
and increase my joy.
I think we'll like living here.