Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Enjoying the Ride

The whirlwind has officially begun--we are in full-fledged "transition mode."

Our house is teetering on the edge of livability as preparations for packing progress. On Monday movers will box our belongings and on Tuesday they will be loaded into a shipping container. On Wednesday we will deep clean an empty house in preparation for renters who will move in on Thursday.

In the meantime, a blue Rubbermaid container in which we store all of our over-the-counter drugs and first-aid supplies has mysteriously gone missing in the mayhem. Fortunately, no one has needed Bandaids, Rolaids, or Advil. Still, it would be nice to find before we go.

We are down to one pet, and he is dealing with the chaos by sulking. Jack is constantly searching (in vain) for his furry friends who are now living with other families. How we wish that we could explain all of this craziness to him! Poor kitty.

Ordinary chores have become burdensome; for example, I am reluctant to buy groceries at this stage, but the food that remains in our house makes for creative meal planning. We had pie for dinner last night. Tonight I will try to figure out what can be made with two onions, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and half a box of Cheerios. And then there's laundry! I have completely run out of dryer sheets and I am unwilling to buy any more with less than a week to go in this house. Static-cling is our "in-transition-fashion-statement."

We are trying to be intentional with how we spend our days. It is tempting to give every free moment to those we will be leaving behind; at the same time, we all seem to sense a need to nurture and invest in the relationships that we will be taking to France: Husband and wife. Father and sons. Brothers. And most importantly, our relationship with God needs dedicated time and attention each day. We are in this together, and we need each other in the midst of the process.

The to-do list is shrinking for this side of the pond, but growing for the other side. Accounts have been closed, final bills are getting paid, stuff has been sorted, friends have been celebrated, rest is mandated, and joy is anticipated. We are actually enjoying the ride.

Friday, June 18, 2010


I get to take two of these boys with me to France, but I would take all seven if I could. The five that don't belong to me are my boys' best friends. And they truly are THE BEST. Their friendship with our family has been a gift, and we are thankful for each one.

God has been faithful to give Graham and Chandler good friends here in Spokane. Will you join us in asking Him to bring just the right friends for them in France?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An Early Morning Encounter

I woke up early Monday morning, hungry for Jesus. The house was quiet, so I crept out of bed, made a cup of tea, and curled up on the sofa with my Bible, a journal, and a pen. Is there anything better?

The air was thick with anticipation. I knew my Savior was with me. One of my favorite characteristics of God is His omnipresence-I realize that He is always with me. At the same time, I love those moments when He seems to draw particularly near. Or maybe what really happens is I finally slow down enough to be particularly aware of His nearness. Either way, this was what happened on Monday morning: I was still, and I sensed His presence.

So we sat together, Jesus and me, in companionable silence. I was content to simply be with Him. After a while, some verses came to my mind. It was as if He wanted to speak His Word directly to my heart, that day, in that moment.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let you hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

These words by-passed my intellect, and sunk deeply into my heart. He GAVE me His peace, and effortlessly, it was mine. I wondered if I could hold on to that peace, and as quickly as I had posed the question, I knew the answer: I do not have to hold on to His peace because His peace is holding on to me.

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b

A command and a statement. I saw the command clearly because I have been grieving (a lot). In Ecclesiastes 3 I am told that there is a time to weep, and certainly leaving family and friends would be cause for weeping. But as you know, grief is tremendously draining. It was wearing me out. In the command, "Do not grieve," I felt His permission to stop grieving. It is as if He simply said, "enough."

As for the second part of this verse, I did not have to figure out how "the joy of the Lord is my strength," I simply recognized it is true. It wasn't a wish or a hope, it was an overwhelming reality. I HAVE the joy of the Lord and His joy makes me strong.

So if I do not weep when we part, do not think for a minute that I have not grieved our parting. I have. But now I am walking in joy. His joy. My strength. They are inseparable.

After spending time in His Word, I journaled. I write to process my thoughts, to verbalize my prayers, and to remember what God has said.

And then I was once again still before Him. Quiet with Him. Aware of His presence. Amazed by His love. Upheld by His hand. Grateful.

The Lord your God is WITH you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love; he will rejoice over you with his singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I did not hear any music that morning, but I sort of think He was singing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

How are we doing?

Well if you really want to know, we are...

Wondering. Willing. Weeping.
Itemizing. Improvising. Interim-ing.
Learning. Leaning. Leaving.
Loving. Loathing. Listing.
Invested. Impulsive. Intrigued.
Alive. Alert. Along.
Mischievous. Musing. Mourning.
Smiling. Singing. Scrambling.
Open. Ornery. Overjoyed.
Newbies. Noisy. Napping.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Do you have questions?

Well if you want to know why Hawaiian restaurants in Spokane serve macaroni salad on the side, I can't help you. If you want to know why Ann Curry wears Jedi-inspired fashions, I'm not your girl. If you want to know how to make the cute little sunshine symbol in your Facebook status update, you'll have to look somewhere else. But if you want to know some details about our move to France, THIS is your lucky day!

"What are you doing with your house?"
I am so glad you asked! Sometimes God lets things be hard, and we struggle; but, we learn things like trust and patience and perseverance. And sometimes God lets things be easy, and we remember that He is, indeed, both sovereign and good.

David and I originally thought that selling our beloved home made the most sense. But when we went to put the house back on the market after the holidays, neither of us had any peace about it. We had all of the papers from the Realtor, who would put a sign in our yard the moment she received our documents. But we hesitated. Days went by. Then weeks. People were asking if the house was on the market. We would say, "no" but have no good reason why were not moving forward, except that peace-thing, which was missing.

Then one day, about a month ago, one of the children's pastors at our church approached me while we were at work and asked about our house. It seems that he and his wife and three young sons had outgrown their small apartment and were hoping to find a house to rent out in the country. They came and looked at our house (they loved it), they agreed to a four-year lease (the exact amount of time that we will be in France for our first term), they wanted to move in the day after we wanted to move out (July 1), and both families saw the good and sovereign hand of God at work.

"What are you doing with your car?"
Freely, freely, we have received. So freely, freely we are blessed to give. Our 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer wagon, which has 150,000 miles but has NEVER given us a lick of trouble, is being given to some friends who recently adopted 2 little boys from Ethiopia. This way,we can drive it right up until the day we leave, and then pass it on to a family that has just moved into the "family car" stage of life.

"What about your cats?"
We have two kitties that we LOVE. The grey tabby, Josie, is a skittish, anxious feline. We are convinced that a transatlantic flight would be horrifically devastating to Josie, so one of the boys' teachers from Southside (the teacher who kept both of our cats last summer when we went to CIT) is going to adopt Josie. Their family loves her and will take good care of her.

Our orange tabby, Jack, is a gregarious, unflappable fellow. We think he will tolerate the trip to France. So we are leaving Jack at my mom and dad's house until we are settled, and then they will send him to us. He will become Jacques la Chat, and he will learn to meow in French ("le mew, le mew").

What other questions do you have? I mean other than, "How do you pour milk from the new Costco milk containers without spilling?"--because I still can't figure that one out.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Secret

So many people are happy that we are finally leaving for France. They are happy in a "we are excited for you and we just KNOW that God is going to do great things" kind of way. Really sweet. But can I let you in on a little secret?

I am scared to death.

Mostly, I am not a fearful person--except for when it comes to trying on swimming suits, which is a generally frightening experience that I avoid every Spring. But other than that, I don't have a lot of fears. Or at least I didn't. This missionary thing has me afraid. Very afraid.

There is much about our journey that I find rather fun. I look forward to learning a new language. I can hardly wait to make new friends. I am thrilled to get to see new places. None of those things are scary for me.

The scary thing is I don't know how to be a missionary. I did not go to missionary school. I do not have a Ph.D. in Missions. I am afraid I could really mess this up.

But then I remember that I can't mess it up, because God's grace is bigger than every mistake I can make. He loves the French people even more than I do, so if He can't work through me, I am confident that He will work in spite of me. He is just that good.

Still, I would prefer to be the kind of missionary that God can use. I would prefer to be, well, something great. And I'm not sure I will be. Heck, I'm not even sure I'll be a mediocre missionary.

I just might be a lousy missionary. And that, dear friends, is a scary thought to me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Caption Winner

I loved ALL of the caption guys are FUNNY! The entries were so clever that I could not choose a winner. So I enlisted the help of my favorite game-player, the one and only Chandler Ross Williamson, to judge the caption contest. He chose the following as runners-up:

"I can't believe I ate the wh-o-le thing." by S.C.


"How many churches did we pass on the way here today?" by J.C.

But the winner is (drum roll please) Cherie Harrington, with this entry:

"I wonder who that is up there in the 2nd row from the back, 3rd seat from the left?"

Cherie, my friend, in honor of your winning entry, David and I are sending a donation to support your upcoming mission trip to Guatemala! Way to go!