Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Long Story, Short (Well, Actually, Not That Short).

It occurred to me this morning that many people don't exactly understand how Blake and I ended up at Willow Springs Boys' Ranch, or what exactly we were doing between graduation, Adeline being born, and when we started here in January. And boy, is it a long story. One that is way too long to say in a simple response to the question, "What were you doing before you went to the Ranch?"

So, let me start at graduation.

It was May 17th. We walked (or, in my case, waddled) across the stage and proudly held our fake diplomas in lieu of our actual diplomas that would be mailed shortly. We were happy and excited for the future God had for us at a church where we thought we would be leading worship sometime that summer. Until then, we were still serving at Faith Baptist in Harrah.

Two weeks later, Adeline arrived 17 days earlier than expected on May 31, 2013. As excited as we were, we also knew this put a little pressure on our job timeline. Did this mean we would leave Harrah sooner? Later? We had no idea. At this point we were hearing nothing but radio silence as the other church was still working out details about hiring us.

When Adeline was two weeks old, we came to visit our friends Jon and Whitney, who had just become houseparents at Willow Springs. Hearing their excitement and nervousness as they began this new journey and ministry together was awesome. After talking for a long time that day, it was said at some point (I think by Jon), "Hey there's an empty house here. Wouldn't it be crazy if God called you guys to be houseparents out here?" *nudge nudge* *chuckles* *eyebrows* "Crazy."

We had a two week old infant in our arms. We thought God might be calling us to this church. But when Blake and I got into our car to head home that night, we both knew. A brand new daughter, and an undeniable urge to disciple others and live a missional life. From that night on, our house in Shawnee didn't feel like home any more.


We talked to our now bosses, and they were pretty much like, "Are you crazy?" Yeah, we basically are. We knew it may be a little while before we got to the ranch, because the house we would be in needed some TLC. Blake started a full time job at Lowe's, we left Harrah thinking we would all be at the Ranch within a month or two, and we began to wait.

And wait. And wait.

The house renovations moved slower than expected, even with Blake spending so many hours when he was off work to paint, and hook up sinks, and replace lighting fixtures and fans, and do tiling, and everything else he worked so hard doing to try and make the wait shorter for his family. The boy that we thought would be moving in to our house at the ranch with us suddenly fell through after months of investment. For six months we prayed earnestly to get to come home, we prayed God would magically make the numbers add up for us to have the money for the groceries we needed. We prayed for whatever boys we would have. We prayed for God to make time move faster. We prayed for anything God would give.

"You guys are still in Shawnee?"
"You still aren't at the Ranch?"
"So, what other options are you looking into?"

The enemy loves to take whatever you're called to and make you question it. He throws obstacles in our way and makes us think, "Well, this is kind of hard. Maybe God wouldn't make it this hard if I was really supposed to go." I am so glad that when Jesus was on the cross he wasn't like, "Well, this is hard. If God really wanted me to bring redemption to the nations, he wouldn't have made it this hard."

Man, going through the hard stuff is no fun at all. You definitely don't feel like God is making you stronger when you're in the middle of it. In fact, you feel like you're doing something wrong. And people like to tell you you're probably doing something wrong. Sounds familiar, right, Job?

One day, after things with the boy that we thought was coming fell through, Blake and I prayed earnestly. What now? We know You will provide for us, God. We know we are supposed to be at WSBR. What now?

The money was out, y'all. I had my knitting to help us sometimes (but not much at all). We got a lot of help from our parents--Blake was working for his dad for four months, they fed us often, and my parents often chipped in for things we needed (especially things like diapers). Blake started applying for jobs again, bearing in mind that he would have to find a job that he could leave at a moment's notice if we were finally able to move in at the Ranch. Blake found a job in Edmond at Tack Designs, who had bosses and employees who were missional minded as well, and willing to work with us in our calling. We began looking for apartments in Edmond.

Then, the call. On December 31, 2013, we were finally told that we could move into our home in Chandler. On January 1, 2014, we moved in. We had all of our boxes unpacked by January 5. We got our first two boys on January 6. After months and months of waiting, things were finally set in motion, and fast.

All this to say, if God has laid something on your heart, trust Him. Trust Him. Trust Him. Others will not trust Him for you. When it seems like there is no possible way, trust Him. Follow Him. Give Him everything you have got, and when that runs out, wait for Him to give you more, and then give that to Him, too. Sometimes what you give Him is ugly and it isn't much and it's practically leftovers and scraps, but give it to Him. If it's a tear-stained pillow case and a ton of question marks, give it to Him. He is faithful. I know God is faithful. It will almost never be how you imagined it, but He will do it, whatever "it" is for you.

So that's our story, thus far. We know that God's story is being written over all of space and time, and that we are the tiniest little part of it--but we love the part He has given us. We wait expectantly for all of the adventures that are to come, and go with confidence in the direction He has sent us. We are blessed, and we are so thankful.

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