I’ve been waiting all summer for summer to begin. Yes, you read that correctly. Something deep inside of me refused to give in to summer until we got into our new home. I subconsciously made an agreement that I would not/could not enjoy summer until my family settled into our new house. I know, I know….even with the unusually warm temperatures I continued in my denial. Jesse would say, “Whew! It is such a hot day!” And I’d say, “Oh….its not that bad.” I’m not really sure how I tricked myself into actually believing I could ward off an entire God-ordained season!?! This past week, each day I walk out the door, I am overwhelmed at the new shades of red, yellow, and orange appearing literally overnight! I’m internally yelling, “Wait, wait, wait….we just moved in! We are just getting started! Now I’m ready! Lets begin now!” And summer says, “While you’ve been waiting, I’ve been here all along!”
I’m thankful for gentle reminders. I know God is the source of all creativity and I should never put my human limitations on Him. I know that. I have seen His creativity and I know that His thoughts are higher than mine and His ways are far beyond what I can imagine. The past week or so, I’ve had this sad idea that I’ve somehow lost a season. I have felt that while I waited for summer to begin, summer passed me by. But His gentle voice. How I love His words that settle my restless heart. He said, “Why do my seasons have to look like yours?” Yes. So True. So gentle. What I knew in my head, had finally dripped its way down into my heart. His ways don’t always fit into a neat, little box. They are often hard to understand. Here on earth we create a little space around us and tidy it all up and call it life. When it is, in fact, neat and tidy, we say life is good. When a wind blows in and mixes up the neat and tidy, we say life is a mess. When Jesus reaches out across unknown space and asks if we want to walk out there with Him….well, thats not quite neat and tidy and its usually obscure enough that we wouldn’t know what box to put it in anyway. He pushes the walls and borders so far beyond what our eyes could see that we are left with two choices. In order to feel safe and secure, I’ll build a few borders of my own. OR, I’ll risk it all, and reach for His hand. Your left breathless like, “2nd star to the right and straight on until morning….” (ha…Peter Pan reference, in case it eluded you) But S0. Much. Better. We are never more safe than when we’re held in His hands.
I didn’t lose. I know that’s what He is trying to speak to my heart. I hear Him. This summer turned out much different than I had initially envisioned. We sold our house in East Rochester at the end of March. I felt blessed to live in a little apartment at Elim until we knew for sure that our hearts would land in Wellsville. We were fairly certain, we just waited for the official offer to be extended. In my mind, we’d be in that itty bitty apartment for 2, maybe 3 months max. Jesse received the official phone call in April, and we began the commuting mid-May, while we began the painful extraction of our daily/weekly responsibilities at Bethel. So many tears. So few words. For me. God extended His hand and His strength for that time. We put in an offer on a sweet little house on top of a hill in May. We had no idea it would be the end of September when we’d finally close. Meanwhile, we lived in Lima and the boys were making friends with some fantastic boys on campus and creating new bonds and really loving their new home….at Elim. And this is where I am internally yelling again (maybe I need a pillow?!?), “NO! NO! NO! We just had to say goodbye to dear friends, we canNOT do this again when we have to leave here soon!?!” But kids. They are amazing, right!?! God knew exactly what they needed for that time. Perhaps it hurt my heart more seeing them have to say goodbye….again. Jesse and I have felt the prayers, heard the prayers, agreed with the prayers that MANY have prayed over us and Samuel, Eli, and Judah. Hardly one prayer goes by and someone is lifting my young men up to the Lord in prayer and believing great things for their lives. I agree with and claim each truth spoken over their life. Many unknowns remain about how life will unfold here in Wellsville, but I know God has certainly prepared them and they carry His life within them. I had truly expected to put in an offer on the house and move in two months later. I envisioned us unpacking and moving in mid-July, having the summer to get a puppy and settle in to a new place. Instead, we had the ups and downs of negotiating on the purchase price and agreeing on a final offer and then walking through the loan process with a bank that became very complex. We spent the summer unsure whether the sellers would back out, whether we’d close before school started, when we’d be together as a family or split up between two towns an hour and a half apart. It felt very challenging. And yet, other parts were sure. We knew God had prepared this place for us. We knew our new church family was praying for us and the challenges we faced were felt by them. We mutually felt that the challenges we faced lent a depth to our new relationships that may not have been there had we not had to go through some of the things we did. We felt supported and loved and blessed in the early stages of a very new relationship. We have been blessed beyond measure by our new church family. We have been given meals, and cookies, and baskets, and bouquets, and perennials for my outdoor spaces. We have been blessed by fellowship in their homes, by cards sent in the mail, by emailed encouragements, by words spoken straight to us. It would be impossible not to feel overwhelmed by the love. We have treasured every heartfelt word, gesture, and expression.
Summer. I had limited my experience to an earthly season. But God had a different summer in mind. He was digging up new ground, preparing the soil, for our family and also for our new church family. He spent the summer uprooting and transplanting. As we’ve gotten to know the people at our new church….I had this picture of Him taking some beautiful perennials with deep roots and giving them a different backdrop and little more sunshine. He has had a busy summer at work in our lives. And it has been an AMAZING summer!! Even in my distractions…(“SQUIRREL!!”)….I have seen over and over God working out so many wonderful things. His faithfulness to me has kept my heart open to recognize His faithfulness in me and our family each step of the way.
God has so much more He wants to do in us, through us, around us. I am reminded again that Heaven has it’s own order, and pattern, and seasons, and timing and it will often look vastly different than the earthly rhythms. I’m thankful for His patience when we are slow to reach for His hand. I’m grateful that He is familiar with our weaknesses and loves us regardless. I’m thankful that He sees my heart and knows I don’t want to be walled in by my own borders and keeps His arm outstretched just a little longer…. I want to be quicker to hear Him, and quicker to grab His hand, and quicker to make the jump. I am ready for whatever comes next….maybe we’ll skip winter and go straight for spring. The atmosphere of Heaven….you never know.