Monday, October 21, 2013

three months out

I've started writing this post several times over the past couple of months and keep stopping, telling myself that I'll write when things are easier, happier, a little fluffier... when we're through this season of waiting and praying and enduring, when the trenches are a memory and we're out on the sunny 'other side', boldly proclaiming the Lord's faithfulness and the miraculous ways He's provided and made a way.

Instead, I am writing this one with tired legs and a voice not strong... asking the Lord to help my unbelief, thanking Him for His kindness and patience with my lack of trust and faith. I'm writing to remember this part of the journey, too, and to offer encouragement to those who may be walking a season like ours. Stepping out isn't always rainbows and sunshine, and I want to be real about what this has looked like for us.

This has been one of the most trying and difficult and exhausting seasons of my life. While I anticipated hard and resistance, I wasn't at all prepared for what would come before us. We aren't being stoned to death or thrown in jail and I don't want to appear dramatic-- I know that this 'hard' is a relative term and I'm writing from my cushy couch on a macbook in the comfort of a warm house-- this 'hard' is very first world america hard, but it has seemed trying nonetheless.

We said we would go. Yes, Lord! Whatever you want! Send us out! And we began walking in it. We told families, had a lot of hard conversations, shed many tears over the close of a season. We moved forward with an excitement and an anticipation. But then things started happening...

(Let me preface this section with saying that I know in the big picture, these are small things! and I also want to say that the Lord has been faithful to provide-- though these have felt big and overwhelming, we have been able to fix or do without or treat most of that which has come up.)

Like our air conditioning breaking in our house. And then our electricity. And then buying a van that was a dream come true... until the transmission went out three weeks later. And then our other two vehicles both breaking down the same week, leaving us with three vehicles that didn't run. And then we listed our house for sale. We had the air conditioning fixed while we were in St. Kitts... and came home to a bill double what we were quoted. While we were on the mission trip, our well broke, leaving us with a flooded yard. We had lots of negative feedback from lots of showings. Two Friday's in a row, our water stopped working again. The next Friday, I broke my ankle. A Friday or two later, the front wheel fell off of Jordan's truck. We headed out on a vacation of sorts, and Cate had a severe allergic reaction to something. We dropped the price on our house, only to have to the showings nearly completely stop... I could continue with lots of other little things, but I'll spare you the self-pity party. It's been a lot of little things that have mounted up to mountains of discouragement and today, I have just felt really tired.

Our van (the one WITH a transmission that works) is barely running and after pulling over twice this morning on my way back from the store so that it didn't overheat, I found myself sobbing in the parking lot. I text Jordan that I was ready to just quit. When was the Lord going to show up? When are the 'trials' going to stop? When will our house sell? When will there be some glimmer of hope that, by golly, we just might make it to St. Kitts?! I sat for a long time, wallowing in my frustration with all of life in that moment. My husband is a really patient and wise man, and responded with encouragement from a commentary he had just read, "Before we can know His strength, we are made conscious of our weakness. In our weakness, His strength is made perfect." He continued on- Jordan McGaughey commentary now- "We are not supposed to sit around and not have to totally rely upon God. This is the normal Christian life. He WILL sustain. Rest!!!!" Timely words from a man that I respect more every single day, as I watch him hold fast to Jesus. I would love to be able to muscle my way through this time, to be able to write out a plan, see it all come to action, for the waters to be smooth. But it'd be far easier for me, for us to get the glory in that. With things as they have been, there is no doubt that it is only going to be the Lord that gets us to St. Kitts. There will be no mistaking who is our Provider and Sustainer!

I wish I could say that this morning was an isolated incident, the first time I've figuratively thrown in the towel and decided it was too hard and too much and that the Lord just couldn't do it all, but it's not. Not even close. This season has been, if nothing else, one of revealing my heart. On the second Friday of our water choosing to stop working, I was a mess, curled up in a ball, sobbing, throwing the fists of my heart angrily at the Lord. Oh, the questions were pointed- How could You?! Where are You?! Don't You see us?! Thankfully, I serve a God big enough to take my outbursts and am privileged to do life with a man who is quick to lovingly remind me of the Lord's faithfulness. There was a shift that happened that night as Jordan read the truth of Scripture over my angry heart and prayed me through a hard, hard night-- a shift I thought had stuck until the breakdown today. It was shortly after that night that I came across a C.S. Lewis quote,
"God hasn't been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't."
and my eyes were opened in a big way. You guys! I have seemed to forget that the Lord loves me. That He LOVES me. That I am His child. That He sees me and He cares for me. That He is for me. That He doesn't see my shortcomings and run away exhausted... but He sees me and sees JESUS. That His love for me and His approval have nothing to do with my performance or my unwavering faith (ha) but simply and only the work of Jesus on the cross. When I quit believing that, I start believing a whole lot of ugly lies... Like that I can earn or lose God's favor. Like that He's a taskmaster, keeping score. That He doesn't see me or hear me. I'd slipped into this mentality that took my eyes off of Jesus and the grace that has been lavished on me and into one where I believed that the Lord was against me. That all of this was some game and I was losing in a big, big way. Please hear me-- That is NOT the God I know, that I love... and that is not the Good Shepherd who knows me and loves me. He allows these trials, these hard things in our lives, absolutely. We may never know this side of heaven why things play out like they do-- but it has nothing to do with His never-changing love, I assure you of that. I know for me, in this season, much much much of these 'hard things' have been to reveal and refine. I was not aware of just how little I trusted the Lord. I was unaware that I doubted His kindness towards me. I did not see how I questioned His faithfulness, that I doubted that His eyes see even me. As much as I think I would prefer smooth sailing, I am thankful for a Savior who calls me out and walks with me through the fire, and that through the fire, He proves Himself faithful over and over again.

I am confident that the Lord has asked us to 'go'. I am confident, also, that it will not be by our power or our might that we get there. It will only be the hand of God, His provision and miracle working that land us on that little island in less than three months... and how sweet will it be to breathe in that island air and know that we are exactly where He wants us to be. We spent last week at a pastor's conference, and the message we heard was the same over and over: Whatever Jesus says, do it. Fill the water jugs, dig the ditches, and then watch Him work. So that's exactly what we intend to do. We are beggars for prayer and would love (and so appreciate) being lifted these next few months as we finish up our time in Indy and make the move to St. Kitts. Please pray that we would walk rightly, that we would not be shaken, that we would hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering (because He who promised IS FAITHFUL) no matter the circumstance. Pray for a buyer for our home, a team to surround us in prayer, for financial support, for our sweet baby joining our family in just a couple of weeks, for our kiddos... Pray that we would cling to Jesus and that our hope would be only in Him.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now...
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior


  1. You and your family are in my prayers. God IS faithful!

  2. What a treasure this post will be for you when things work out the way He will have them work out. You are going through so much...huge life changes - trying to sell a house while pregnant with 3 kiddos is challenging enough...but added in the chaos of things breaking (cars and your ankle!), and relocating to a whole new way of life in just a few months, I think it is okay to grant yourself moments to accept that this season in life is really hard. Prayers, friend. I am excited, and always love to read about your journey - the good, bad, and joyful!

  3. I love that you can still come out with such a great attitude even when it is just plain hard. I'm sorry for all the trials that have come your way during this season. I'm praying for your family during it all. :)

  4. Thank you for being real, Kristen. I'm sure others who have stepped out in faith like your family can sympathize with your season of hard. Do you have other missionaries that you're in fellowship with who can also lend you encouragement or an understanding ear? Prayers for a buyer soon!!


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