Saturday, September 13, 2008

Season of Rest

That's where we are... at least that's what I've been told! It doesn't really feel like that yet, but hopefully at some point it will. I guess when you just start a new teaching job a season of rest sounds a little suspicious. When you start a new job and your kids start school and all the extracurricular activities that accompany school and you are coordinating and driving them to and from various locations a season of rest seems like a distant dream! I think we'll get there.

For five years, T has been developing a program for students at our church to create globally, culturally and missionally aware individuals who might someday choose to live abroad in a strategic location to further God's kingdom in a unique and effective way. It has been fun, exhausting, exciting, educational, amazing and rewarding all rolled into one package. Each year, after a long summer of organizing, planning and executing trips designed to catalyze these future leaders, we sit back and wonder 1. why we do this, 2. how we do this, 3. if we can do this anymore, and 4. most importantly, is this really what God wants us to do. Most summers, T gets to the end and says, "I am never doing this again!" This summer, he did not say that, but instead had already developed a plan for next summer. It scared me a bit!

After much thought, soul-searching and some new missions initiatives at our church, we have surprisingly decided that this program has come to an end. T stepped out of that position because we recognize that it can no longer exist with the same initiative that sparked it's inception. Sometimes, when things change, everything changes. This was not an easy decision to make, but we both think it's for the best. Other opportunities that we had decided against pursuing due to time constraints are now options, we now have the freedom to explore what all these new changes would mean for the youth ministry at our church in the area of missions and we get to see more clearly what our team members from this past summer can do to shape their environments at home based on what they learned. We don't always have time for all these things, but this year, we do!

Sometimes God has to close doors to make you try new ones, with different opportunities, different stretching experiences and new connections you might have passed up otherwise. While it's not comfortable or even preferable in some cases, it is a comfort to know that God orchestrates these times in our lives with our best interest in mind and with the lives and experiences of others. I already miss SPACE and sometimes it's depressing to think that we won't do that again. Many very significant people and experiences came out of that for our whole family, so it's a difficult thing to give up.

As for a season of rest, it's much needed in our home. Especially for T, who worked tirelessly and endlessly in pursuit of excellence in every area of that ministry. There were many times over the last 5 years that I wondered if I indeed had more than one husband because he was working two full-time jobs. Nobody has the time to do that AND be a husband and father. He did things that were physically impossible - and that was one of the ways I could see God's hand in what he was doing. His passion for the mission and for developing student leaders was not like anything I've ever experienced before. At least not from a database engineer! Having him home again will be nice. For a while. But let's face it, a life without ministry for someone like T is no life at all.

We would certainly appreciate your prayers as we find our way in this time of transition and searching. It's an odd place for us. Since before we were married, we've never really had a time like this. We never adhered to the "drop out of everything for a year when you have a baby" rule because we feared a newfound love of having no commitments might keep us inactive. This is new territory for us and we have identified few nagivational tools to help us. Pray for our middle/high school students, that opportunities for them to serve in amazing ways will continue. Pray for our leaders who are scattered around the United States and abroad in various schools of higher education, that they would be catalysts in their schools for change in the world.

I am so exhausted from this week of craziness - new job, no SPACE, new extracurricular stuff, Six Flags today (I'm totally sunburned!) and new opportunities for T. I don't feel like it's the beginning of a season of rest, but I'm going to count on it! Actually, I'm counting on a season of family growth. And for real, I hope that for each of you, too!


Randy and Terry said...

Oh, I hope you all enjoy your "rest." Take the time to explore how your family is changing and growing. I'm sure, though, that God's got big plans for you all 'cause of your love for Him. Take care.

deanna said...

Thanks, Terry!