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?
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.