When I think about how to explain the events of the last several months, all I can think up to tell you is an illustration of a pebble being thrown into a lake with ripple after ripple stretching out across the water. One night in January, as Steve and I whispered back and forth before drifting off to sleep, we threw out this pebble prayer: God, would you encourage our hearts, if even in a very small way, this week? And from that pebble prayer, that we prayed night after night, God began to show us, in ever-widening waves, more and more of his faithfulness.
There are literally tens upon tens of God's ripple answers that I could share with you here today, not the least of which are answers like, a ladies' Bible study that became a lifeline for me, friends near and far sending texts and emails and phone calls of encouragement, a local Bible college inviting my husband to teach for a week-- and through that opportunity, physical and mental rest was given and financial needs met, God's living words speaking to us and calling us to lean more and more on Jesus, a sunday school teacher pouring out love for our Graeme-bear, or waking up on a Saturday with nothing on our to-do list. Some of these things probably sound so silly to you, but to us, all of these ripple answers felt like God himself reaching down and pouring grace upon grace over our lives.
Last October, I wrote about how I believe that God, when he is making his will for our lives known day by day and week by week, builds our desires that are grounded in himself. I went on to say-- I've watched that very process 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 and it's 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.
I want to tell you today, with so much happiness, that God has granted a desire of our hearts! God has allowed our season of FedEx to come to a close and a new chapter of ministry, with a body of believers in southern Oregon to begin. There's so much to say (and so much to do before July 1!) and I hardly know where to begin except to say that we have seen God's hand in all of this and it has caused us, with very thankful hearts, to bless his name-- to want to be found singing even when the evening comes.
So, what does all of this mean exactly? It means that we'll be moving two hours south of where we live now. It means that my husband will be pastor to a body of believers in Pleasant Hill, Oregon. It means that I might possibly become a tad country-ish and that I like that. But, don't you worry, there's a Starbucks 8 minutes away. (smile) It means that we already see the end of ourselves, of our human knowledge and strength, and are crying out to Jesus for wisdom and guidance. It means that we are beside ourselves with anticipation.
Last night, as my husband and I again quietly talked during the late hours, we smiled as we thought about how God shows his power and glory even through wobbly pebble prayers. For all your goodness I will keep on singing // Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find // Bless the Lord, O my soul