Signs

We rolled into Florida today, my smokin’ hot minivan dragging a bit under the weight of all the life shoved inside.  It has been an emotional roller coaster, this trip into town.  Of course any move is fraught with emotion.  Change hurts.  It’s hard.  Tears must be shed in order to cleanse the soul of the fire that rages in your heart.

As we talked today on our second day of driving, we discussed the Why. Why did we make this move?  What purpose did God have in picking our family up out of everything comfortable and placing us smack dab in the middle of the unknown.  For all practical purposes, this is our wilderness.  Albeit a wilderness with a beach (the best kind), but nonetheless this is our journey.

Why are we here?

Suddenly the reasons for the move become clouded beneath the emotion.  Did we make the right choice?  Was this really the path we were supposed to take?  Did we somehow misread the signs?  Were we instead chasing our own desires, or own passions?

Why?

While at my in-laws this past weekend, we had the blessing of soaking in their wisdom for several days straight.  One thing my father-in-law (one of the three wisest men in my life, my dad and my husband rounding out the trio) said to us has really stuck with me.

“What makes you think,” he said in his thick Arkansas drawl, “that you had anything at all to do with this decision?  It was God who moved you in this direction.  Don’t forget that God is in full control.  When you are seeking Him, you’re not going to make a mistake.”

What freedom that gave us.  And what a wonderful lesson on which to dwell.  Who are we to question the will of God?  There were times when doubt caused us to wonder if, perhaps, we should scrap the plan all together – flee back to St. Louis.  It’s peaceful there, simple.  We know it.  We know what we can and need to do there to stay comfortable.

But then what?  Comfort is boring.  As we drove today, the Cyprus and Palm trees buzzing by our windows, I held a book in my lap.  “Reading the same page of a book over and over is boring,” I told Lee.  “You have to turn the page to see what’s going to happen next in the story.”

We turned the page when we left St. Louis.  Not that staying there would have meant our story stagnated, but ignoring God’s call and being unwilling to face something new would have been extremely boring.  To live life wondering “what if we had?” would be a terrible burden to bear.  And even on our trip, the Lord gave us little signs that we are on the right path – we are continuing our story.

Lee was given the opportunity to fly up to Arkansas to be with his family and to help us drive down here.  An unexpected blessing and something we didn’t know we needed.  Lee got a very encouraging call from his manager.  It was unexpected and unprompted.  And the words spoken and messages exchanged were a balm to the soul.

As we lay in our frigid hotel room last night, everyone slowly drifting to sleep, Sloan hopped up out of bed and came over to Lee and I.  “I have something for you,” he said, the freckles on his nose dancing in the golden lamp light.  He pulled two silly bands off his arm.  They were shaped like palm trees.  “These are to help you remember that we used to live in St. Louis, but now we live in Florida.”

How did he know that was the exact thing tearing at our hearts?  We hadn’t spoken of our fears and heartache in front of him.

When we pulled out of the hotel parking lot this morning, the kids screeched and pointed at a beautiful rainbow painted across the gray sky.  God’s promises never fail.  He is still the same.  All of these signs worked together to provide a bit of comfort as we continued to haul our lives southward.  Nothing about this move has been easy.  A part of me feels a bit like a spoiled brat who’s finally been given what she wanted, but it’s not enough.

“I want it MY way.”  Foot stomp.

I want comfort and stability.  I want the perfect house.  I want it easy and fun.  I want friends.  I want, I want, I want…

The new goal is to take my eyes off of what I want.  Together Lee and I are changing our focus.  We’re turning the page.  We want to know what’s going to happen next.  And we want to know what part we get to play in it.  To His glory.  Arms stretched out wide, palms open, dancing in the rain.  What’s next?  And how do we keep our eyes pointed up?  Not looking backward and definately not staring inward.

Not about us.

What’s next to His glory?

This is really hard.  Really, really hard.  As my sister-in-law told us the other night – this is a threshing.  It’s a step into the Refiner’s Fire.  The selfishness that has pervaded our souls for a long time needs to be burned away.  There is nothing fun about that.  Nothing at all.  We are feeling vulnerable and the only refuge is God Himself.  To seek any other would be foolish.  There is no hiding – not even St. Louis could shelter us from the need to change these deepest parts.

Join us as we step forward in faith, our hearts open to what He wants and longs for us.  And we would like to join you in whatever journey you might be on.  What does a next step look like for you? Because we’re all on a different journey. How can we pray for you?  What would stepping out of comfort look like for you?  Who can you serve?  What can you do to step outside of what you know?  Or, if you’re already doing that, what are you learning?  If you would like to share or ask for prayer, please feel free to comment and we can all join together.  Or send me an email (kellistuart00 (at) hotmail (dot) com) and I will be happy to lift you up as you turn your face up.

Let’s dance in the rain together.

Blessings.

Comments

  1. Hey Kelli–I went to high school and college with Lee. I was also in your father-in-law’s Sunday School class while I was in college. My husband and I are also going through a transitional time right now. Your post was exactly what I needed to read tonight. The last few months have been rough with times of not knowing what direction we were going. My husband is a pastor and has taken a job as a Senior Pastor of his first church. It is a very overwhelming place where we are but I know that God in in complete control. I will be praying for all the right doors to open to put you, Lee ,and your kids in the place that He has for you.
    What great words of wisdom from Lee’s dad. God is in control and all we need to be is senstive to His leading. Thanks for sharing your heart and emotions. I will be praying!
    Jena Griffin Baker

    • Hi Jena. Thanks for sharing. I will pray for you all as you struggle through the same transition! 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for your post, Kelli…I’ve been really struggling in the last few days before my husband and I uproot ourselves as well. I’m vascillating between absolute belief and trust in what God is doing…and crying selfish scared tears not wanting to leave the comfort of our predictable familiar lives. I’m really scared, but I know He has us. It really helps to read your honest journey…I will be praying for you and your family.

    • Thank you for your honesty as well. It is really hard to take that first step away isn’t it?! Praying for you…

  3. Kelli, I can just feel what you are feeling and have felt it! Exactly how I felt when we moved to Oklahoma from TX 7 years ago, to St. Louis from OK 2 years ago, and back here last year. I am praying for you guys!!! Loved this verse in all of my moves…made and still makes me excited to see what God is going to do.
    “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do
    something new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a
    roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19
    T.R. and I are going through some changes right now as well. We are about to leave our Sunday school class that we have been a apart of for 6 years to start our own. The reason is that we are also going to start teaching in the children’s sunday school on Sunday mornings. We don’t want to miss out on going to service every week or being in a class ourselves, so we are starting one in our home on Sunday nights. I am worried about hurt feelings and what will happen. Will anyone come?

    Praying for you guys today and the days to come!

    • Thank you for that verse, Julie and for letting me know I’m not the only one to feel these feelings! So encouraging! I will be praying for you all as you start the new class. I would love to hear how it goes! Tell T.R. we said hello!

  4. There is something SO freeing about getting to make a fresh start. I am longing for one but am yet to see it on the horizon.:-) (I inherited ‘wander-lust’ from my dad!) So, for now I will enjoy yours and will jump in to the new adventures God has in store for me here! May you experience God in cool and new ways as you settle in. Thanks for sharing the journey.

    • Thank you, Karen! I’m sure I will have plenty to share given that writing has become my refuge as I process. 🙂

  5. Having been EXACTLY where you are (FLA-STL-FLA-STL) I do understand completely how you feel! It will never be the “grass is greener” moment you had pictured….It will however be EXACTLY what your family needs to rely on God more than you ever imagined…. Our “experience” was much different than I had ever planned…but the lessons we take from our time in FLA are invaluable. Enjoy the beach for us…we should have gone more when we were only 15 minutes away…not 15 hours!

    • Michele! I’m so sad we didn’t get the chance to meet and talk before we left. I would have loved to have heard more about your journey here and back. We’ll keep in touch, though. Maybe we’ll meet again someday on a beach somewhere! 😉

  6. I always think that God speaks the best and clearest during the wilderness…maybe that is because we finally have ears to hear. Praying that His Word falls fresh on you both and that you will continue to see His amazing “pala” works…things that only He can bring about. Nothing is too hard/wonderful/miraculous for Him. Wriggle your toes in the sand for me, will you? 🙂

  7. Hey, in your list of wise guys in your life you left out your Uncle Dusty…just sayin’. Welcome to Florida…now let’s talk about missions after the dust settles. LOVE YOU GUYS!

  8. You get the number 4 slot! 🙂 YES! We want to come see you guys asap. We need to soak in a little of your wisdom as our souls are just a bit weary these days. Love you too!

  9. Thank you, my dearest friend, for this post. Thank you for sharing the wise thoughts from your relatives and your own ones. I still doubt if we were right in our decision to leave Kiev. I often ask myself – what if we had to struggle through the crisis time and maybe we would get through it and be able to stay in the city where I felt comfortable. It still hurts. But analysing the events that pushed us to make such a difficult decision, I understand that it wasn’t ours at all. It was God who led us and everything is in his hands, every page of our story book. Good luck to you, dear, in your house hunting, in finding your own place to live in and enjoy your next life steps.

  10. Katrina says:

    Kelli, I moved to Chesterfield a few years ago. My son attended Bonhomme preschool. Maybe we crossed paths? I moved to Boca Raton, Florida two weeks ago. This was a huge move for us, but I know that GOD is in control. I miss the security of Chesterfield, but think (daily) of Kim Josar who said, “A wise woman looks to her future and smiles.”
    I just talked (fb) to Jennifer Breitwnwishcer! She told me of your blog. Thanks for your words. They truly touch my heart.

Trackbacks

  1. […] In July Jennifer Aniston did my hair, we announced our impending move to Florida and my posts got a bit contemplative. […]

  2. […] I’m Kelli and this is my blog. Obviously. I am a story teller and humor is both my defense mechanism as well as my outlet for simply enjoying this wild ride called life. The pages of this blog have evolved over the last four years as I’ve grown and matured as a mom, a wife, a writer and a friend. When you come here, I hope you laugh and walk away encouraged. […]