Loving and being loved.
A full(er) bank account perhaps.
I dreamt of a rambling farmhouse, preferably white with black shutters and a red door. A large wrap around porch and huge trees. A screen door that would slam and a kitchen big enough to host large crowds of friends and people in need of love and coffee.
A big dog and a few farm cats.
Ramshackle barn or two and maybe a pond out back.
A place to raise this astonishing amount of boys that God has given us.
But above all, as i stared longingly at white farmhouses and old trees, i asked my Heavenly Father to give me a heart of contentment and surrender at whatever cost. Hopefully it involved country sunsets but i wrestled to give it up and shared in a women's small group setting that God was asking me to surrender my dreams.
"God, do you hear me?"
He heard and we're moving.
Not to country sunsets but to the sun sinking behind office buildings and rows of houses.
No big farm dog. Or cats for that matter.
We're moving to Boston. We were planning on settling in Virginia for long term and talked casually of building someday. After the third or fourth request from mission boards we began to get this unsettling feeling that perhaps God was reminding us that we're to be strangers and pilgrims in this life. Not that you can't build a house and still be a pilgrim and stranger but He has made it clear to us that it's not for us, at least not now.
But the city??? We prayed long and hard about that one. I'm a country girl at heart. It's not easy to think of being surrounded by houses and people and i remember the claustrophobia of Kisumu Kenya. So we prayed, asked lots of questions, and had hours of conversations with the older children. They have been an integral part of our decision making. We asked God to give us a heart that is unified in what His will is and we feel He has made it clear. To Boston we go.
Marlin will be director of a refugee/immigrant center that Followers of the Way Boston is setting up. He will, Lord willing, be teaching English as a second language along with various other programs all with the goal of reaching people for Christ. The mission field in the states is growing rapidly and every believer is needed in many different ways.
In spite of no white farmhouse and ramshackle barn, no pond, and sidewalks instead of country roads, my heart is at peace. I did tell Jesus that instead of a gold mansion in heaven i would be cool with a farmhouse but i know that whatever He has will be beyond my imagination.
We're not moving because we think we're somehow more spiritual than anyone else or that you can't be fulfilling God's call in your home area. Some have called us brave and adventurous (we've also gotten the raised eyebrows and the icy "oh.") but i would like to think that every believer lives a life of being willing to go anywhere and do anything for the gospel. I can't imagine moving anywhere without feeling clear that it is God calling us and neither can i imagine staying if He nudges us on. We don't question that He called us to Virginia for a season of rest and renewal and we believe He is moving us into another part of our journey.
|This is the kind of picture that happens when you remember at bedtime that your family picture is needed for a church calendar. Aren't they a handsome bunch?|