Monday, July 27, 2009

5 Loaves, 2 Fish

The kids really needed to go to bed tonight, I really needed them to go to bed tonight. Caleb was still working on supper dishes when I started doing "thank yous" with the girls and Glenn in the living room and he got there just as I was starting to read Matthew 14. I got to verses 16 and 17 "But Jesus replied, 'That isn't necessary - you feed them.' 'What!' they exclaimed. 'We have exactly five small loaves of bread and two fish!'" and started crying. Caleb turned to Glenn and asked him if he had picked out what we were going to read tonight and Glenn told him that no, that was just where we were at. Caleb said, "God must have known." After I composed myself and finished the passage Caleb turned to me and said, "You see mom, if God can use five loaves and two fish to feed five thousand men and that's not including women and children then He can provide for us."

I have been struggling with trusting God. I have been struggling with the whole "where are we going to be living next week" thing and then today I realized I hadn't calculated health insurance for Glenn into my projected budget for our family. The kids are eligible for Child Health Plus in NY so they will be taken care of but Glenn and I are not and he is required to have health insurance or he can't be a student. It is going to cost us a lot of money that I had not calculated in on my budgeting. It was a surprise to me and I said, "What! We have exactly 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish" and God said in vs 18 "Bring them here." OK, God, here are my 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish. They are Yours. You know our needs over the next 4 years until we get another paycheck again better than I do and You know how You are going to use what we have and what ever else You have up Your sleeve to provide for us. I can trust You.

Soon to be Homeless but Never Hopeless

Today is Monday. We told the man we are subletting from that we will be out by the 3rd at the latest. That is next Monday. I have no idea where we are going. Glenn's final test for anatomy is on Friday and he doesn't start orientation until 8/18 so that means we don't have to be in Syracuse for those almost 2 1/2 weeks. Where should we go? What should we do? I don't know. A few people have offered to let us stay a couple of days at their homes. We have been given permission to put all of our stuff up in the attic so that is my task for this week. I guess I am packing like we are going camping. A week's worth of clothes, tents, sleeping bags, etc and sleep where ever we find a spot. It may be interesting.

During our marriage we have never lived in any one city or town for 4 years in a row so living here in Syracuse for 4 years will be a first. I am interested to find out where we will be living for those 4 years. Moving an average of once every 9 months for the last 10 years has been exhausting. I would love to live in one place for the next 4 years to move our average up to moving once a year with our longest stay being almost 4 years instead of our current record of almost 2. I don't know if that is going to happen or not. We have been pre-approved for a mortgage but we aren't sure if that is what we want to do or not. We have not been able to find any rentals that we really liked. We have looked at a few houses to possibly buy. I think that we are spoiled. For the last 2 years Glenn has walked to work and this summer he has biked to school. It saves on gas, having to have 2 vehicles, paying for parking, insurance, etc. Because of all of that we are mostly looking in the University neighborhood because it seems to make the most sense. I am not sure if that is really the best thing to do or not. We could really use wisdom. We are considering putting an offer in on a house about a block from where we are currently living but the house needs a new roof and the hardwood floors redone among other cosmetic things. There is also people living in the house now that don't really seem eager to leave (they aren't the homeowners). This may complicate things. I am not even sure if the owners would take our offer of the price minus the roof price. We will see.

Anyway, we will be homeless as of this weekend. I don't know exactly what we are going to do. I guess it will be an adventure :) As we were heading home from church on Sunday we passed a couple under 81 with a sign saying something about being homeless and I couldn't imagine being in their situation and it made me think about how thankful I am for the situation I am in. Yes, we am soon to be homeless but I know that it is not for forever and I know that God will provide a place for us to live. I can trust Him that He will work it out in His time. We may be living at various New York State Parks for a while but we have a couple of nice tents. It will be OK. Glenn got into medical school. That was a huge hurdle. There will be many other hurdles along the way but no matter what God will be by our sides and in that I have hope. I will soon be homeless but I will never be without hope.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Scattered - Part 2

As I was thinking about this some more I was thinking about the fact that we aren't the only ones who have been scattered lately. It seems that there has been a large number of people scattered from our church in Rochester. Not scattered because of persecution but because of school and jobs and other things. People have left Rochester for Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York city, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and soon Portugal (and these are just ones that I came up with quick off the top of my head - please forgive me if I missed you!). All of us have been taught and trained and given leadership opportunities at North and now we have been scattered by God to impact various parts of our world with the gospel of Christ. Our leaving also has opened doors for other people to get involved in ministry at North who otherwise "wouldn't have been needed." I am so excited to be a part of God's work. I loved our time at North and I learned so much from the messages, being involved in small groups, serving with the kids, and Adult Bible Classes. Phil. 3:13-14 seems appropriate "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." For those of you who have also been scattered keep looking ahead. Use what God has taught you in the past to make an impact where you are. I get distracted when I long for home (Rochester) but when I long for Home (Heaven!) my priorities are aligned and my vision becomes clear. God has placed us here at this time for His purposes and I don't want to miss out on them!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I am often asked why we move so much. I don't really know what to say. This morning in church the message was from Acts 8 with Phillip and the Ethiopean eunuch. Phillip had been heading toward Jerusalem after preaching in Samaria when God told him to head toward Gaza on a desert road so he went and came across the eunuch reading Isa 53. It is a pretty familiar story that you can read if you would like. The thing that God pressed on my heart was the beginning of chapter 8 the reason that Phillip was up in Samaria was because of the persecution that caused the followers of Christ to scatter. The persecution didn't seem like a good thing at the time. They had to leave the comforts of home where they had friends and family to go into the unknown. If it hadn't have happened though how big would the church have grown? Because of the persecution followers of Christ were scattered and multiplied and their reach encompassed the known civilization.

The word scattered got to me. I don't like being scattered. I don't like leaving my friends and church family to go where I know no one BUT I don't go out and meet people if God doesn't "force" me to be scattered. I really would have preferred to stay in Rochester BUT if I had stayed in Rochester I would have stayed in my little bubble of Christian friends and not met the people that I have already met here and will meet in the days to come. I am lonely right now which makes me want to go out and meet people and get together with significant others of other med students which I wouldn't have needed to as much in Rochester. I know that I really need to allow God to scatter me. It is hard. I hate saying goodbye. I hate going to places where I know no one but God is faithful and proves Himself faithful again and again. I always see our scattering (moving) to be a bad thing but God always brings about good from it.

Thinking about the message and being scattered over the years brought me to a conclusion. I am thankful that I have been scattered. I have friends all over the country and all over the world that I know only because God has forced me to leave where I felt comfortable and step out in faith. There are people all over the world that pray for me because I was a part of their lives for a season. For that I am so grateful. There are 5 great churches that we have been a part of over the years that, when the time comes for us to go overseas, and even now, will pray for us because those who haven't had the "privilege" of being scattered so many times are still there and remember the impact that we have had on them for our short season there. For that I am eternally grateful. How many fewer people I would know if I stayed where I was comfortable instead of going where God lead? How many fewer people would I have impacted?

One thing that I was convicted of today though (and quite a bit over the last few months) is that I have gotten to know other followers of Christ and impacted them but I have not really gotten to know any non-Christians in the places where I have lived. Well, here in Syracuse I have already gotten to know a few people who are not followers of Christ. I am excited to develop relationships with them and also with some of Glenn's fellow medical students and their significant others. I have lived in a bubble for too long.

As I was sitting in church this morning part of Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns was going through my head:

"Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he's holding out his hand...

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth"

I want that kind of faith. I am going to step out of my comfort zone and listen to the Voice of truth as I try to make an impact on this community for Christ. Our last morning in Rochester I woke up with the song God of this City on my heart, "Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city." God has brought us to Syracuse for a reason. "There is no one like our God" and He is going to to great things and I want to be a part of it.

Speaking of which I really want to stay in our neighborhood. I am one to talk to my neighbors when I see them but not generally go out of my way to see them. If we move out of our neighborhood I may never see these people again to become friends with them. I guess that is a matter of prayer. We still don't know where we will be living at the beginning of August but we found out on Friday that we may be pre-approved for a mortgage. Our application (for which I still have to write a letter explaining why we have moved so much over the past year. Should I just send a link to my blog??) will go before a loan committee this week and they say yes we may be buying a house. There is one just 3 doors down that we like and they are asking an amount which is a bit less than it is worth and a bit more than we will probably get pre-approved for. We will see. If it is where God wants us He will work out the details.

Scattered. It is not a comfortable place to be. It is not an easy place to be. It is not a very desirable place to be or something that people seek after but, I am thankful to have been scattered and I know that God will scatter us again several times in the future should He tarry. I long to be purposeful where ever He scatters me to because the call is the same every time: "Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age." (Matt. 28:19-20, The Message)