UPDATE: So much has happened since our last post and we apologize for the delay. We left Maine last Thursday afternoon for Maryland to visit my folks before heading to Kona. We are excited to announce that we have our plane tickets thanks to your generous donations! Also, since our last post we learned that we wouldn’t be able to take Samantha and Troy to Kona but, they have found a church home at New Life Church in Biddeford and are working on planning their wedding for May. Praise the Lord! As of Palm Sunday we had money for the plane tickets but, no nanny yet. After major doubts about going and huge prayer time, the Lord provided a nanny who feels called to serve our family. We are so blessed that God brought her to us. Bo lives in Kona with her parents who are on staff with YWAM and she loves Jesus. We are so grateful that she wants to take care of our little girls! She is willing to do this completely on a volunteer basis however, we are praying for God to provide $100/ week for her. If you feel lead to donate to Bo you may do so here or donate on our Financial Support page. For those who are interested, we need $7470 over the next 3 weeks to pay off our tuition for the DTS or we will have to return home before the school is over. We have full faith that God will provide and if you have any further questions about the finances, check out the Financial Support page.
Since arriving in Maryland we have encountered some roadblocks and really cool blessings. I had assumed that our time here in Maryland would be somewhat of a respite before our 15 hour flight to Kona. God had a different plan. All three of the girls have had a pretty nasty upper respiratory infection since we arrived here on Thursday night. Lillian’s wheezing was so bad we questioned if we should take her to the Emergency Room. After laying hands on her Saturday night her wheezing disappeared immediately and we were able to attend church on Sunday morning. We went to Life Church in Upper Marlboro, Maryland and were so blessed! Our dear friend Darren Plummer (D Plum) invited us and we had an amazing family time seeing him! Their worship was awesome and Pastor Steve knows how to preach it!! We then traveled up to Pennsylvania to see my family for Easter dinner. We returned to my parent’s house totally exhausted but filled with God’s love. Monday was stuffed with visits and 4 hours at the MVA to get photo IDs for the little ones in Annapolis, MD (about an hour and a half drive). As we waited at the MVA (Maryland DMV) a sweet mother of 5, Heather walked up to us and asked if we wanted her two Kelty baby backpacks! She said she had been waiting for just the right family and we were it! What a surprise blessing that was! Our children are SO GOOD!! Despite being sick and tired, they sat in the car patiently while we drove from one person’s house to the next giving hugs and goodbyes. We were able to “love on” Paula, Deon, Teon and one of our former pastors Donnie before heading out of Annapolis. These are the people who God has used to make us who we are today. They are our first Christian family members and we are grateful God gave us the time (and vehicle) to see them before leaving on this adventure. We returned back to my parent’s house sick and tired once again but more blessed than the day before.
The process of leaving our families has been very difficult for both of us. I can’t speak for Jeremy and the process he has gone through but, I would like to share a bit of the healing God is doing in my life. I was the youngest of all of the kids for a while before my “little” cousin was born and I guess I have kept the posture of being the youngest. I definitely have felt the need to listen to what everyone else says and try to make everyone happy. I have, at times felt pulled away from what God wants me to do in order to satisfy other people. Let me clarify, my family has never purposely or knowingly asked me to do something outside of God’s Will for my life. They are very supportive of my relationship with the Lord but, I feel responsible for their emotions because of my own weaknesses. There is one particular relationship in my family that I want so desperately. I have communicated with this individual according to what the Lord has asked over the last year but, there are other folks who feel I should do more. I know that God has only called me to do so much and to do more would be disobedience but, I do feel pulled. I asked the Lord to explain to me what I am doing incorrectly and how to keep from getting tangled up in that net. Psalm 25:15 says “My eyes are continually toward the Lord, For He will pluck my feet out of the net.” It is truly arduous to have your eyes on the Lord when you are trying to satisfy everyone else. I have spent the better part of the day crying out to the Lord about this verse. “How does this work Lord?” “How can I be obedient to you and not cause waves with the people I love the most?” After being in an awful mood and talking to my incredible husband I realized something pretty revolutionary (at least for me):
Let me set the scene for this story… Moses had lead the Jewish people (Israel) out of Egypt where they have been slaves into the wilderness with the promise of a land of their own. As Moses lead God’s people he was given specific instructions to create the proper distance between their Holy God and them as a sinful people. God would descend on Mount Sinai in a Holy Storm to speak with Moses personally. There is a portion of scripture in Exodus chapter 19 that specifically addresses this issue as it pertains to Mount Sinai.
Exodus 19:12 “You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.”
Exodus 19: 18-25 “Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish. Also let the priests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves, or else the Lord will break out against them. ”Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds about the mountain and consecrate it.’” Then the Lord said to him, “Go down and come up again, you and Aaron with you; but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, or He will break forth upon them.” So Moses went down to the people and told them.”
About a year ago Jeremy and I were sharing the effect we have on some of the folks we meet. We call this the “mountain mover” effect. At times, just our presence in someone’s life can agitate them because we are pressing against their mountain a little bit. This is not always done on purpose, sometimes it is something small like the fact that we don’t drink alcohol that can press against that mountain; or the fact that we have a few tattoos that will make others feel uncomfortable. As I thought about this effect we have, I thought about my family and my fear of pressing against their mountains. I want so much to please them that I have been willing to put aside God to avoid upsetting them. I realized that I was putting my family in place of God. God’s mountain is what I should fear, not anyone else’s. We are fortunate to serve a very personal and loving God that sent His Son and His Holy Spirit to live in us so we don’t have to depend on someone else to hear from Him. However, our God is still to be feared. Sermonnotebook.org gives a great explanation of what this fear looks like in scripture. “Genuine fear of the Lord is always seen in obedience to the Word of God, Pro. 8:13. People who do not walk in line with God’s Word do not fear the Lord, regardless of what they profess with their lips. Therefore, when we fear the Lord, there is an elements of dread at what His wrath can do, but there is also such a respect for Him and for His will that nothing else matters but doing that which pleases the Lord”. As I walk this path, I must care more about what the Almighty God thinks more than anyone else. Even as I write this, I feel uncomfortable with it. The process of letting go of others’ expectations and giving myself completely to God’s Word has been very painful for me. Sanctification is painful but the only place I really want to be.
Father God, I give myself completely to your purposes even if they conflict with how I want to please others. I pour out my hurt at Your feet knowing that you are my comforter. I don’t always understand why I can’t have it my way but I choose to trust in You, my Lord. I choose to see Your character in Your Word and believe in that above what the world says is true. You are so faithful to me, You are so accepting of me, You died for me. There is no greater gift another could give and I thank You.