Thursday, April 22, 2010

Garage Sale

The Sioux Center City-Wide Garage Sales started yesterday. We've been busy sorting out our stuff the last few weeks and getting everything organized and yesterday we opened up our garage door for business. Goodness, have we sold a lot of stuff! It's amazing what you can get rid of if you really think hard about what you actually need (and don't need).

Sometimes I think I need to have a spiritual garage sale. I need step back and take inventory of my thoughts, emotions, and feelings and really decide if I should be thinking, feeling or acting in certain ways. What do I need to get rid of in my walk with God that will make it less cluttered? What am I storing in my spiritual basement that I just don't need, but am hanging on to, just in case?

I can think of a few things: fear, self-reliance, and worry to name a few. In much the same way that people come to my garage and help me get rid of my stuff, I need to have God come into my life on a daily basis and clean me up. Yes, he's done it once and for all on the cross, but that doesn't mean I get off scott-free.

Being faithful to God and his will is a constant and never-ending process. As soon as I think I've got it figured out and I don't need to get rid of anything else, that's when I find another corner that's still got some junk in it.

It's amazing what you can learn sitting at a card table in your garage....

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Our move gets more and more 'real' everday. Tonight we filled out the paperwork to enroll the kids in their new school -- Grand Rapids Christian, last week I signed and sent my financial aid award from Calvin Seminary, and we're busy deciding which summer rec activities the kids will be able to participate in here.

My parents are headed to Michigan to visit my brother and his family early next month and offered to take some our stuff-- our stuff -- in Michigan...crazy! Oh, and I just made a for sale sign for my pickup since we're not planning to take that with us.

A few weeks ago I ordered some Greek textbooks and flashcards online and they came last week. I started using them to dust off my Greek skills and it's starting to come back suprisingly well.

Tonight at supper we asked the kids how they were feeling about things and neither of them really knew what to say. I think for them it's all still very uncertain and unclear. At the same, neither have ever complained about leaving...they've been great. So that is making us feel good as well.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Standstills, Stress, and Shingles

Howdy. Jessica here. I feel like I've been a somewhat silent bystander in all this, so I figured I'd share some of my thoughts.

Last fall, when Michael asked me what I thought about him going back to seminary, it really never surprised me. I married him, knowing that he had a desire to enter ministry, and in the past months, I could see him heading in that direction once again. To me, that was just a part of who he was. I also knew that I needed to support him completely, because I knew that this would be a hard task to undertake if he felt I was pulling him in the other direction.

We hummed and hawed about this decision for a while, but kept feeling like the pull was getting stronger and stronger. This is not an easy call to respond to. First of all, sometimes it's hard to discern the voice of God, "God, is this really what you're asking me to do?" Moreover, making a move like this, in essence beginning from "scratch," taking your family across the country, and living a lifestyle that has no guaranteed regular income sounds like a crazy notion. It would have been much easier to stay put. But, when it comes down to it, that's exactly why we left. We were comfortable, in a groove, coasting along. It was time to take a leap of faith, rely ultimately on God, and strengthen our relationship.

At first, things moved quickly. Right after announcing our decision, we traveled to MI and things fell nicely into place. But since that early February trip, it feels like we've been at a standstill. Yes, we've put our house of the market, but after some initial activity, we have not shown the house in 3 1/2 weeks. I have spent hours upon hours job searching online with nothing but dead ends. Leadership roles that we've had here have not found replacements.

About a month ago, I came down with a case of the shingles. Although shingles is the result of the dormant chicken pox vaccine, it's main trigger is stress. I realized that our situation is starting to take it's toll. Initially with this decision I thought I would easily be able to roll with the punches, square up my shoulders, and plow straight ahead, knowing this would be a temporary journey. But when I got the shingles, I realized that this was going to be a harder process than I thought.

So I've done what I can to prepare. I've hit the sales racks, getting my family's wardrobes stocked for the next few seasons. I've scoured my entire house, emptying it of all the "stuff" I do not want to move, I've made preparations for a major rummage sale. I have given myself to the idea that while I can do what I am able, I am trusting God to accomplish the rest. I know that when you least expect it is when you see how God has planned all the pieces to fall in place. For my "doing" mentality, having to wait is hard. But usually by waiting we see that what God had already predetermined was better than what we can even imagine.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


It's been a few weeks since my last update, but there isn't a whole lot new to report. I did get my financial aid from Calvin earlier this week, and at first glance it looks good -- so that's a bright spot. I need to study it more closely and 'plug in' the numbers to see for sure how things are shaping up.

Selling the house has been slow. We haven't shown it in over two weeks and in the last three weeks alone more than 30 homes have come on the market here in Sioux Center. This is a small place...30 homes is a lot! But we're still hoping and trusting in our risen Savior.

Speaking of Him, this isn't something I would normally talk about in public but I've found it to be a really good exercise. Today I've been doing something that I've never done before -- fasting.

I decided to do it today since we have Maundy Thursday service tonight and will celebrate the Lord's Supper. So I thought it would be good to not eat anything except for that today. Any of you who know me well know how much I love to eat, so I thought this would be a real stretch for me, and it was -- in some ways. However, I really must say that every time I felt hungry or heard my stomach growl I was reminded of His passion -- so it was a good exercise.

I tell you this not to 'brag' but to challenge you to try it sometime. It isn't a spiritual discipline that we practice much anymore today, but it wasn't as hard as I thought. I'm glad I did it and I could very well make this a regular spiritual discipline in my life.

Blessed Easter to you as we remember Christ's suffering and death and celebrate His victory over it!