I love when Fall has made her presence completely known. There's an incredible sense of excitement for me when I feel the beginnings of crisp mornings and I spy the first changing leaves of the season. But when it's truly Fall it means that we've gone to the pumpkin patch. It's just really not full-on Fall until we've crossed it off our list. You too? We went three weeks ago and here I am just now telling you about it. Truth be told, I think I was holding out because I wanted to include pictures of our beautifully carved pumpkins. I'm being sarcastic here: I greatly lack in the pumpkin carving skills department! But since they are still sitting on our front porch, uncarved and no doubt growing more uncarvable by the day, we'll stick with the following pictures instead.
Like a lot of people, I love this season of sweaters, warm drinks, brilliant color, and pumpkin everything. I don't particularly love change, but I make a venti-sized exception for my pal named Fall. This exception is hinged not only on Fall itself but also on the anticipation of what will follow. I absolutely love, with a capital L, Fall and Winter. My inner nerd came up with a word for these favorite seasons: Flinter. Yep, just one lo-ong season of wonderfulness.
I think, to an extent, change of any kind carries that same sense of anticipation and wonder. And, well, if I'm honest, worry too. When we moved to the pacific northwest, we moved here with a sense that we would raise our children here and grow old and gray and cranky here. (And we just might-- I've already crossed gray hair off the list. Sad.) We don't know what the next couple of months and years hold for us, but we do know that God is changing our season of life.
Over the past year, God has certainly grown our understanding of patience, his goodness, and trust. Sometimes our view of these things was like seeing a beautiful, back-country road in the Fall. I felt like God was showing us these amazing insights into who he was and is and what he wants for our lives. Everything was crystal clear and vibrant and full of life. And even though the lessons were difficult, we could and can see the beauty of it all. At other times, our view was of that same back-country road, but only that-- the feeling of being out in the boondocks, on a bumpy and less-driven path, sometimes hitting a pot hole, and sometimes completely knocking off a tire, bringing everything to a screeching halt-- in the middle of nowhere and with no help in sight. And that was hard. Is hard.
Here's what I mean by that back-country road analogy: We moved to Oregon fresh out of seminary, wanting to be mentored and taught. We were really sad when the teaching elder of our church moved away a year later to plant Restore Church in Detroit, Michigan, but it's kind of useless to kick against God's sovereignty! After that, Steve became a part of the teaching team at our church, Grace and Truth, and about six months later, he became an elder. Needless to say, life has been busy as my husband balances family, work, and church. I think to put this all in short form, we are so thankful for the opportunities that we have had here but we know God is moving us on.
We jokingly tell our friends that Steve is a 'free agent' of sorts. I think when God is making his will for our lives known, day by day and week by week, he builds our desires that are grounded in himself. I've watched that in my husband over the last couple of years. It is a beautiful yet painful process. It's beautiful because you are so thankful for God's leading, yet painful because you struggle and wrestle in the 'already not yet'. You long to be free from the purple and orange company, the one with the really cool hidden arrow in their logo, because you want to spend all of your time doing what God has given you the desire to do. But, you realize that God hasn't opened up a new door of opportunity yet and so you wait. And pray. And fight for joy.
Recently, my husband and I had the opportunity to go to the Desiring God National Conference in Minneapolis. I generally think that I could live anywhere. I love the pacific northwest. I was born and raised in California. I'm just a west coast kind of gal, but I have thoroughly enjoyed living other places too. But funny thing-- I stepped off the plane in Minneapolis and about five minutes later I looked at Steve and said, "I'm willing to move anywhere but the midwest!". I apologize profusely to all of my midwest friends! (Wait, do I still have any after saying that?) Ultimately, we would love to stay in the pacific northwest, but we would also love, love, love to be closer to our families.
I am sorry for the information dump. It's kind of difficult to sum up three years of life into a blog post. But I hope that this catches you up in some sort of way. We would be so grateful for your prayers and I look forward to sharing with you how God answers those prayers! Just as long as it doesn't involve moving to Minneapolis. . .
Happy Flinter, reading friends!