Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We don't want to be Ephraimites!

A few of you remember almost a year ago me asking for prayers for us to do what God wanted us to do.  (And if you have kept reading my blog for a year I am super impressed!! LOL)  Yes, it's been almost a year since we've been here in NC.  Unfortunately the loose ends still remain!! 

And so the saga continues... 

The renters/buyers of our home in Indiana can not follow-through.  We were hoping that maybe they just couldn't buy it and would be able to continue renting (since that was covering our mortgage payments) but they are moving out by Monday.  We did have a contract. We will be getting the house ready to go back on the market.  Any prayers would be appreciated!!  We need prayers that we will trust in His plan and fully rely on Him.  Doubt and worry keep creeping in.

I just read about the Ephraimites in the desert this morning and how they first ran off scared when the battle began - even though God had armed them with what they needed and had provided for them in the past. Then they saw a miracle of much needed water gushing from a rock that was struck, but it wasn't good enough and they asked for meat as well.
Psalm 78 9-16 The Ephraimites, armed to the teeth,
      ran off when the battle began.
   They were cowards to God's Covenant,
      refused to walk by his Word.
   They forgot what he had done—
      marvels he'd done right before their eyes.
   He performed miracles in plain sight of their parents
      in Egypt, out on the fields of Zoan.
   He split the Sea and they walked right through it;
      he piled the waters to the right and the left.
   He led them by day with a cloud,
      led them all the night long with a fiery torch.
   He split rocks in the wilderness,
      gave them all they could drink from underground springs;
   He made creeks flow out from sheer rock,
      and water pour out like a river.

 17-20 All they did was sin even more,
      rebel in the desert against the High God.
   They tried to get their own way with God,
      clamored for favors, for special attention.
   They whined like spoiled children,
      "Why can't God give us a decent meal in this desert?
   Sure, he struck the rock and the water flowed,
      creeks cascaded from the rock.
   But how about some fresh-baked bread?
      How about a nice cut of meat?"
I pray that we will not be like them - that we will remember His faithfulness, that we will not be scared, and that we will not demand more when He already provides for us what we need.  We are ready to trust Him and allow Him to lead us to the promised land in His way.  Please just pray that we can remain steadfast in Him as we face upcoming decisions and financial struggles.  Please pray for clarity.  I am in the process of having my nursing license transferred to NC so that I can search for work, but we have the kids to think of as well - so please just ask that we'd do the right thing and not just panic and do something we shouldn't in this regard.

Our crape myrtle bloomed yesterday.  God has used crape myrtles all throughout our journey to give us peace.

Jeff and I do know that God wanted us here.  If we were in Indiana he would have lost his job.  We have grown tremendously in our faith in the past year.  So, yes, this has drug on and on - the house thing has not gone particularly smoothly, but there IS a plan in this - and we don't have to know the why.  We are called to live not by explanations, but by faith.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Be Proactive - Yet Not In Control

Things have been going well since last post.  My time with God has been better, although I still wish it was more, but it is heading in the right direction.  My yucky attitudes are mostly gone - confession has such a cleansing factor - duh! 

I pondered a friend's suggestion that maybe I am holding back something since we've been here whenever I meet new friends.  I took another's advice that I can't just sit back and expect things to fall into my lap.  She spoke the verse - James 2:17 'In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.'  So, after relaxing a bit and making some phone calls, inviting some people places, and opening myself up to making some friends (action) - I can say in the last two weeks some of those acquaintances I've been keeping at an arm's length have become some really good friends...one's I now feel as though I can turn to when I need someone and also encourage on their walk, as well.  I have had some hurts in the past.  Do I want to get hurt again.  Nope.  Yet, I can't and shouldn't miss out on the blessings God is providing me by hiding behind the 'what if's.'  There is a possibility that these friends might not be good friends...but there is a possibility that they are the best friends that He will ever provide me with!  I still hurt over some lost relationships from the past, but God is leading me step by step forward.  I need to take actions - be proactive - in this area, yet let Him be in control and my Guide.  I pray for good, Godly friendships for both myself and Emily...I think we are both longing for that. 

Things don't look like I thought they would.  Pretty sure I've said that before.  Something I have been struggling with:  I am still trying to 'set my life up' here just like it was in Indiana. (No control issues here!) Trying to find the same type of friends, the same ways to serve, the same activities to be involved in, the same ways to live...it is not working.  This is a new time and a new place in my life.  Isaiah 43:18-19  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."  It is not going to be the same and I am hurting myself by trying to make it so.  Just this past week I had signed up to serve at church on a committee for a large consignment sale in the fall...but it didn't feel right at all...so I had to let the organizer know that I changed my mind.  I have never liked it when people are wishy-washy in their decisions and commitments.  I have always felt like I've known for sure 'yes' or 'no' and then I fully commit, but I am learning the struggle of wanting to do something (because it is something I would have done in Indiana or it's a good opportunity to get plugged in) but then feeling like it really isn't what He wants of me and my time. I have had a hard time committing and following through on things since we moved - I've never been like this.  It might be a little easier to not follow through here too because no one knows that 'that's not like her' if I don't!  But it is not God-honoring to be non-committal and not follow through on what you started.  So, until God makes it clear that I need to be doing something - I need to stay out of it!!  I have been pushing to find how it is He wants me to serve, but I think He must be telling me to wait at this point - as I am hearing nothing. 

He has moved us here...we know that He did that.  So now when we face the bumps in the road and hard times here in NC, we need not look back and question - 'Did we do the right thing?' (I guess the devil likes that one, as I always immediately ask that when the going gets tough).  Instead of asking that or "WHY??" we will ask, 'What do we do now, because of this?'  Yesterday we found out that things might get hard for us financially - some issues with our house in Indiana.  I'd like to say we have had a very strong, mature, Christian response to this news, but we haven't.  We thought we had things under control finally after a year of uncertainty.  The wind got knocked out of our sails...our so-called control went away.  And once again we are at a place where He wants us to be every single day -- total and complete dependence and surrender to Him.  Give Me Faith...  Not just in these situations, but every day, every moment - even during the 'good' times.  Because we all know deep inside that life can change in an instant - we will get that call, that news...  We are not in control.  But the One who is, has our best in mind.  We have a lot to learn...but He has been faithful in the past - and He never changes.

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's a New Day!

Happy July!  I can't believe it is July already.  I can't believe that our journey began a year ago in July when Jeff got that phone call!  Wow.  I would not take any of this back.  People have been asking lately whether we feel settled?  Do you like it here?  Yes!  Jeff has felt more at home here than he ever did in our last home.  I feel at home here.  I am settled.  Yes, I like it here.  Is everything perfect and rosy all the time?  No.  In fact, the last few months have been dark for me.

I have spent the last few months feeling sorry for myself...about everything.  I have become someone I really don't like to be around.  I've written about it before, so I won't go into every detail.  I did, however, go into every detail this morning when I confessed it all to God and to Jeff and a friend so that they could pray for me.  I have found that I can not pray lately so I decided to write my prayer, because that I can do.  It worked well.  And because James 5:16  says "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." - I confessed my ugliness to two people whom I trust the most to pray for me.  When sin is in the dark it is so powerful.  Bringing it into the light exposes it and the power that it has over you diminishes. 

The end of my prayer went like this:
Lord, I confess each and every one of these ugly sins that disappoint You and me both.  I know that you are a forgiving and loving God and for that I am thankful.  Thank you for forgiving me and please please please help me through this day and the next as I heal from this and move back to the place that I've been in before where these sins are not in charge, but You are.  As I have written my prayer out I know that I need to go back to the basics of relying totally on You for my fulfillment and joy.  Please help me to pour into my relationship with You over the next days.  Help me to take every thought captive and make it obedient to you.  Help me to pour into my family.  And please Lord, help me to see You and to feel loved by You.  Fill me with Your love so that I may overflow - I am receiving it right now.  Psalm 90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
I am so excited to report that after I prayed this morning that I felt such a burden lifted.  And I also felt like I should make a phone call and check on a friend who I thought might need it.  Which shouldn't have been a big deal.  But ever since we moved here I have become almost afraid to make that step of making a phone call.  I was reminded this morning by this friend though that I can not sit back and expect things to happen.  God wants us moving and we need to trust that He will lead us right.  We have to take that first step.  So, she was blessed that I noticed and checked on her and I was blessed by her wise words.  And, I could see an answer to prayer immediately - I asked that He would help me to see Him and feel loved by Him.  He sent His love.  It has been so long since I've felt that.  It's been there.  I've just been deadened to it.  I'm sure my sins have prevented me from seeing Him.  My eyes have been closed.  I pray that today is the beginning of my eyes being open again and this season of ugliness being over.  Please pray for me.

The Kissel Happenings
The kids on vacation

The adults on vacation
Evan and Patrick playing at the water park
Kendra and I enjoying a day of girl time in North Carolina!
We've had a pretty good start to the summer.  We enjoyed seeing some friends from Indiana, then we traveled to St. Augustine and enjoyed some time with friends from Washington.  The kids and I have joined the YMCA and have loved the outdoor water parks!  What a blessing to be able to go to a pool any day that we want to -we've never had that luxury before.  We are participating in the library reading program.  Even I have been able to read quite a bit - especially at the pool.  It's been nice.  I've read some really interesting books.  If anyone has read "Uncharted" by Angela Hunt - please let me know!!  I need to discuss this book with someone.  Want to know what you thought!!

Jeff and his group just had their most successful month at work.  Probably has a lot to do with him bribing them with promises of his cooking and baking for them!  He is adjusting to the longer commute to and from work, I think.  His office moved to a different location further from home a couple months ago. 

Jeff and I have agreed to co-lead our LifeGroup after one set of leaders left.  Our group is young and has been through a lot of changes over the last six months or so.  I love that we are leading with a couple originally from Henderson - so that is such a neat bond we have.  I do feel uncertain about this decision at times, but Jeff has really stepped up and is doing a great job with it so far.  My role might just need to be to coordinate and plan stuff - I can do that!  I do think our group is bound to do great things!