Six months ago Jerry and I felt a little like Abraham as we left a familiar comfortable land and began a journey toward a land we knew not of. We did not know where we were headed, but we knew Who had called us out and promised to lead us. Having been a follower of Jesus for more than 40 years, this level of faith and trust was unfamiliar to me, instilling both excitement and fear!
If you have not heard, we have both accepted positions with seeJesus in the Bethesda division. Bethesda takes the excellent books, trainings and seminars that seeJesus has created and modifies them to disciple people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I serve as administrator, assisting with development, marketing, editing, and training.
I am filled with gratitude and joy to enter this new land and begin to set up camp. But, have we “arrived”? I sure hope not. Not because I am not delighted to be part of seeJesus, but because as distressing, challenging and painfully hard the journey has been to date it has been equally refreshing, clarifying, and amazing.
I never want to get so comfortable and set in serving Jesus that I miss trusting Him. And I don’t want to lose sight of the lessons I’ve gathered along the way.
Take a look through some of the postcards I’ve gathered on this journey:
- People – As tempting as it was to isolate, the truth is we needed people who would journey with us and point us to hope. Those who just stopped by to hug or cry with us met such a deep need. It is amazing how many people have walked a similar journey; the stories others shared reminded us that our heartbreak, while painful. was not unique. God continues in the redemption business. As He had done with them He would do with us.
- Intentional Accountability -Jerry and I knew we would each process this journey in different ways and at different times. While we needed to keep our communication open I needed others with whom I could trust and bare my soul. I chose eight ladies and asked them to join me in my journey as my “Soul Care Sisters” They came from different backgrounds, churches, ages and places in my life. Each one loves me, committed to pray for me and hold me accountable in a variety of ways. They were not afraid to ask the hard questions. I knew they had my back.
- Intentional Fellowship – Along this journey we were bound to meet new people and engage in life together, but that did not mean we wanted to let go of the people who have meant so much to us from the last chapter of our lives. We instituted “Third Sunday”, a time when we opened our home to friends to drop in. Some came to chat, with others we colored, or played games. There are always snacks to share. Continuing precious relationships in new ways has been a balm for our souls.
- God’s got this – in fact He always has. Theologically I knew that and could expound on that truth. Seeing others who have survived and thrived through change was an encouragement. Living it out in my own life was a different story. But God has met our needs through money He had us save, through friends who made work available to us, who shared gifts and food with us, and those who gave us honest and necessary feedback. Times I fretted did nothing to move life forward. Times I learned to turn that fretting to trust in God took me deeper into learning His heart for me.
- Embracing new experiences -Had we not obeyed God’s prompt to leave, we may have lived status quo for some time. Exploring new opportunities has led to a deeper passion for writing, enhanced skills and amazing connections with writers across the country. Through this season of change we have enjoyed meeting dozens of people from all walk of life through our Airbnb experience. Beyond that Jerry ad I are exploring ideas we had only dreamed about before, and taking steps to make them real.
- Life goes on. This transition much like other kinds of passing, includes grief. Each time a memory marker arrives we’ll grieve, and sometimes wish for what was (because it was so very precious). Yet we are developing new traditions and experiences that someday we may be called to leave as well. Knowing pain and sorrow may be part of the future does not stop us from investing now. Seasons change, life situations change, The way we handle the impact of that grief will change, because we too are being changed,