For more than 6 years I’ve been praying for the right opportunity, for my husband to be ready, and for God to show us where we can best serve. And now the answer has come. In a couple of weeks we will be back in full time ministry in Texas. Just a few hours from my aging parents. In a town we know, at a church we have loved before.
The long-desired answer to prayer did not, surprisingly, bring rejoicing. At first I felt only the weight of it. Then I began to think of all the difficulties involved in the move, and how different timing would have been easier.
Do not misunderstand me: I am glad we are going, and I see God’s hand in it all. But the expected elation at the prospect of starting over again just isn’t there.
Late August 2017
I’m sure I left this parsonage cleaner when I moved out 17 years ago than I’m finding it now. The new countertops in the kitchen are a big improvement (although the cupboard doors & drawers stick worse after another painting); the newly tiled shower in one bath is great, the other still has the same tub where we sheltered with the kids when a tornado touched down about a mile away; I do like the bit of color added with the last paint job. But everywhere I turn there is something else that I didn’t expect to need to clean. And I have to clean it myself—my children are good workers & would be such a great help, but they are grown now, and all stayed in MI. Everything about getting the household set up seems to be taking so much longer than expected.
Getting my insurance license transferred to a different state involves multiple steps (including fingerprinting!) and processing times in each. And after two trips to TX DMV, I still do not have the proper documentation to get a TX drivers license! Moving is a challenge.
There are a few people here that we knew before, & it is good to renew friendships; many others we knew are now gone, and most of the congregation (including both elders) have come since we left. It is a small, rural congregation, mostly elderly, with few children. We are beginning the task of rebuilding; several families left during and after the brief tenure of the last minister.
One very involved member passed away on our first Sunday here. Another long-time member whom we had known before just died of Alzheimers. These are difficult losses to the congregation, but they are not losses to the kingdom of God.
I hadn’t intended to start a project like putting together a new directory quite this soon (I need to spend time getting my health insurance business going!) but we need the contact lists; maybe it will be a good way to get better acquainted.
When I’m teaching the kids, having spiritual discussions with members, or listening to Doug preach, then I am glad we are back doing what we have prepared to do. When I think about friends and family (& even former coworkers & clients) in MI, I miss what was there (and sometimes what might have been).
Today we made a day trip to a nearby town (2 hrs 45 min away) for the funeral of a very dear friend of my parents who was also a teacher & friend to me & my sister. I still remember being in her preschool class as she told us that some people close their eyes to pray, and others look up toward heaven; it’s okay to fold your hands in different ways or just to lay them in your lap; God hears our prayers which ever way we pray and we should focus on Him when we talk to him. At the funeral, her sons-in-law all spoke of her love for God and for her family, and her legacy of faith. Afterwards we visited with my own aging & infirm parents & discussed mortality and eternal life.
Answers to prayers always come in God’s time, not mine. But they also come in the abundance of steadfast love.