Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Scene Three

So, here we are, finally making a few new friends and whack... they hit us with the news that they are all (two couples really) planning to move to France in the future.
Honestly, when Drew and I talked about this I think we both (but definitely me) really thought about just dropping these friends.  Of course we would still be friends with them and do community group with them but we wouldn't really invest or dive in or seek them out for deep relationships, knowing they would just leave.
But that didn't really work because we really liked these couples and we saw them on a regular basis and you couldn't help but become a little attached.  We got to see each couple have a baby (or two) and then watch those little ones grow and change.  Drew got to know one of them men better at work and then the guys started cycling together.  They just weren't going away!  haha
I think a few times they mentioned to Drew, "you guys should just come to France" or something along those lines.  But it was always with out any real pressure and mostly joking it seemed.  So we just laugh, "yea...right.".
However, we had also started talking about all of the opportunities we had had in the past and all those we hadn't had as well.  Drew had been actively seeking out jobs in the Christian camping world and though in my eyes he is overly qualified and perfect for every position he applied for... door after door were closed.  He seriously made it to #2 on a  number of jobs and then they'd give it to some one else.  Super discouraging.  So, after a trip to the camp to talk to some people in person and still no open doors, we decided that maybe we needed to pick a new dream to pursue because it seemed God just wasn't letting us get into the camp world.
Shortly after some discussions along those lines and more talks about dreaming big and trusting God, our church announced they were going to have several summer mission trips and that one of them was to Southern France.
We were just talking about maybe sort of slightly thinking about maybe seeing what it might be like to almost kind of look into what our friends were thinking about France.. maybe.
So, what better way to check it out than to GO?
But, no.
We don't have that kind of money.
We've always wanted to go on a mission trip but going to France seemed like a pretty lame place to go on a mission trip to (shows what we knew).
Also, I'm not sure what I think about short term missions.
I have friends (well I think they are my friends b/c I blog stalk them) who were missionaries in Haiti and they really talked about how short term missions can be a waste of money that could be put to better use and how they often are more detrimental to the people and culture than helpful.  She is actually having a whole discussion about this now so check out Heather Hendrick in my blogroll.
Then there was the fact that they were encouraging only future missionaries to go on the trip and we had noooo idea if that is what we would be led to do and we weren't even leaning one way or the other.
Plus, we are goobers and not super spiritual, holy amazing missionary type.  We are sin every day, barely remember to tell ourselves the gospel much less tell any one else... trying to survive people.
Thankfully, we met with the guy who overseas missions at our church and was leading this trip and we were very upfront and honest with him about who we are and what are motives are etc etc.
He straight up told us, we were exactly what they were looking for.
I'd say their standards are pretty low but I will also say, I was flooded with a sense of peace.
No one was deceived about who we are.
We could be ourselves.  Be real.  And be accepted and welcomed on the short term team.
So, we went from pretty positively NOT going on the trip to filling out a CRAZY LONG application overnight and turning it in at the last second of the deadline.
So... we were going to France for 10 days.
We had no idea what to expect from the place, the people or the trip but we were going completely open.
We figured we had nothing to lose b/c at the very least we would know how to better pray for our friends going long term and we could encourage the current missionaries there.
At the very best we might find God's next step for the plan he is working out for us.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Numéro deux d'installation

Woah... are you blown away? Installation number two already?!
Now let's see where did we leave off?  Oh yes, printers and printer friends.
At this point I will back our story up a bit and come at you from a different direction.  You know where we were with work but that is only a small part of our lives.
The major part of our lives is/was community.
We believe and strive for Gospel community.
Right when we moved to Louisville and started attending Sojourn we were dropped into an amazing community group.  These people were our home away from home.  We celebrated holidays together, babysat each other's kids (for those that had them) and did life together.  It was pretty easy b/c no one had a lot of kids and the kids were babies and most of us were working part time, going to school and/or staying at home.  So we had time together.  These guys were amazing.
Sadly, our group got really large and we had to multiply and then didn't see each other quite as much.  At the same time, people started graduating from Seminary and thinking about jobs and futures etc etc.  A large part of the group decided to church plant in Texas.
Hmmm... we are from Texas... we truly love these people.... maybe we should go too!
We talked and fiddled our thumbs and talked and joked and ultimately, it just didn't work out.  We were still so attached to our church and didn't feel ready to leave... and I was still in school full time here and south Texas wasn't really our number one ideal place to live (more like dead last).  So we didn't go.
To be honest, there have been multiple times that I look back on that and wish we had gone with those friends.  But I am pretty confident that it just wasn't where we were supposed to be... though it would've been so nice.
But we still had some of the group and were starting a group of our own and meeting new people and trying to make friends and it seemed like the more we tried the more people moved away.
A couple of our dearest friends joined a church plant in the northeast and we considered that move too but in the end we found ourselves here... alone.  Literally, we are the only people from that original group left in Lville.
The next season was a long season of trial and struggle with friends and community.  We were hurting and lonely a lot of the time but still leading and serving.  Then a big trial came and knocked the wind out of us and then Stella was born.  We didn't feel like we even had time to get our legs under us and we were handed this beautiful baby girl.  We were so happy she was here in the midst of a long, hard season of trial.
Then she started crying.... screaming really... and didn't stop for months.  I think I broke.
At the same time Drew took on an extra leadership position at our church and we were asked to lead as community group coaches.  We didn't see it then but oh how clearly I see it now... we were crazy and needed to just say no!
We kept pushing, through sickness, depression, loneliness and sad to say... despair.
When we became coaches we were no longer a part of a community group but leading and helping the leaders of community group.  So we had no one to lift us up it felt at times while we were bearing so many heavy burdens of others.
THANKFULLY!!  God is so so good to us.  Though we were more than likely driven by pride and the need for approval (why else did we overload ourselves so much?) he saw our state and sent us some friends.  Specifically he sent me a friend and mentor who was able to help walk with me through and out of post partum depression.  (not to mention my fabulous OB who kept me sane with perspective)
We stepped out of a lot of leadership and started working on getting back into community!
Oh and Stella finally stopped screaming!  whew.
But it has been a long process.
We finally found a few people like us, in leadership and lacking community and accountability and care and so we became a community group.  We only met every other week and always have a meal.
This idea caught on and more people joined our group and more people started groups like ours.
A couple that joined in on the group was this friend (then more of an acquaintance) that got Drew the printer job. Drew started to become friends with him (that sounds really girly... sorry dudes) and a couple of other guys and we started to hope we would find another close community... then one night we found out... they were all already planning to move to France.  (cue clanging gong).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pictures to Match

I guess I was a little too long winded in that first installation... here are some of the views we had in France that I wanted to post with it....


Here we are! Back from France... (sorry.. blogger won't let me add photos) All I can think to say right now is: Wow. Wow God. Many of you who read this blog were also a part of the updates we sent out... or mostly Drew sent out. So I don't want to bore every one with the details. Over the next few months this blog will more than likely be dominated by the word France. I want to document all the Lord has done and will do as we journey through this France thing. So for my sake, more than yours, I am going to start at the semi beginning and process this journey on the blog... it is also so that I can have this conversation with you all at once instead of repeating the whole process again and again b/c honestly sometimes I just can't share it all again.. it can wear me out! This way most of you who care will get the basics here and can then ask questions or for specifics as they come up! And if you know of people interested in our story you have a clear place to send them. So... here we go... installation #1. How far back do we go? Once Upon A Time.... We have been living in Louisville for what will be six years this October. Louisville was a surprise... like the kind of surprise when some one gets you something NOT on your Christmas List but is the best present you got and just what you needed. Who goes to Kentucky? Who wants to live in Kentucky? That's what we thought coming to this place. We will get some schooling, spread our wings and then we're gone. But then we fell in love. We fell in love with four seasons and trees and the small town feel in the midst of a city life. Most of all we fell in love with our church. So we settled down and prepared to stay. We have been holding our mouths open to the fire hydrant for five years... soaking up everything our church and community had to offer. Taking every class or training possible... trying to learn and grow in the gospel as much as possible. However, in the midst of all of this amazing community and spiritual growth there was a big thorn. In order to stay in this city we love Drew was having to sacrifice every day. He worked for years at ERAC and I can safely say it was mostly miserable. The Lord totally blessed his time there and he was very successful in getting promotion after promotion and the Lord made it painfully obvious that that is exactly where he wanted Drew to be... but it was hard. It was long hours with little pay and even less respect. It was suits and ties and rules and regulations and paying dues to "the man" every day. It was hard. For the first few years we applied to other jobs in Louisville and every thing that seemed promising fell through. But we weren't really willing to leave and so we just stuck it out. Then, in the last couple of years we finally felt like we could let go of Louisville if it meant Drew could have a job that was a better fit for him. So we applied and applied and absolutely nothing has worked out. That was maybe harder (for me at least). Why God? What is going on? This is so unfair. We have watched friend after friend get their dream job and yet we felt that our job situation was getting worse and worse. We prayed and prayed and begged God for a new job and a better fit... we will go ANYWHERE! Drew finally got another job, by no means a dream job but at least fewer hours and we were praying for confirmation if this in fact was where we were supposed to go and then out of no where... right after Drew got the offer from the new job he was fired from ERAC... Fired? WHAT?!?! They should be groveling at his feet for working two jobs for the price of one and always working hard when every one else slacked off and patiently waiting for that promised raise etc etc... It was shady and unjust and unexpected and yet... so freeing. I felt incredible joy the moment I found out Drew was fired. I felt so secure knowing that God knew we needed an answer loud and clear that we were finally released from our time at ERAC... So our time began at the new job.. selling printers. Not much more glamourous than selling cars but Drew got to see his daughter every day... a luxury he didn't have before and he had a friend at work who loves Jesus and went to our church, who we are even in community group with now... another luxury. Little did we know.....