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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

.Breaking the Silence.

I am sitting here in the early morning hours, feeling the sun stream through the windows, sipping my coffee, and trying to organize my thoughts and my heart into words that will make sense, my fingers are ready to fly, and I will loose them. For so often, I do not know my own thoughts, feelings, and heart until I read back the words that I have written. Writing tells me how I feel.

It has been a complicated three or so weeks for our family. I don't really know where to start, because so much has transpired while my blog stood here silently waiting for words to once again fill the empty spaces. We tried a week of living separate lives - with Jim and Habi down here living with his parents, so that Habi could attend school and Jim could work crazy hours at Sweet Frog, and with the littles and I back at home juggling therapies, homeschooling, and keeping the house show-ready. It didn't work. Jim and I have always functioned best together. I know military families all over this country are separated, and I know they make it work, but we just are not wired that way. We all need each other. I had crying babies on my end missing their daddy and big brother, and Jim had a sullen teenage boy on his end missing having his family, who he fought so long and hard to have, together. It just wasn't working. So we threw things in bags and laundry baskets, and Jim drove up to sweep us all down to be together. We thought it might be temporary, and that I would go home for a few days out of every week. But it became abundantly clear, that more than ever, we needed each other. So we are here, until God moves us on.

Meanwhile, in the midst of transitioning living down here with Jim's (very gracious and welcoming) parents, Jamesy snuck out of the house and ran away - again. He managed to escape a house with four adults, a teenager, and two children, and nobody saw him do it. He is sneaky and he is fast. As soon as we realized he was missing, we all took off on a wild race around the neighborhood. Thank God we found him a few houses down the street with a neighbor. Unfortunately, we did not find him before the police were called on us - again. So, as we sat down to dinner, still shaky from the events but thankful that Jamesy was safe with us, the doorbell rang, and a police officer entered to question us. I was immediately a puddle of tears, not believing that this was happening to us again (last summer, Jamesy snuck out of our house, and Jim and I were under a CPS investigation, which was eventually cleared, but which left us very nervous and jaded about the system). BUT GOD was in it all. The police officer ended up being a fellow believer who had just finished taking a special needs training course. He told Jim that prior to going to that course, he had not realized what a flight-risk children with Autism are. He understood what happened, and he was so kind and gracious, and we were thankfully not reported to CPS. We now have a deadbolt on the front door, and are even more vigilant than we were before. It is exhausting. I broke down to my mom-in-law that night and cried that I needed a break, and that I just cannot watch him 24/7. And I can't. BUT GOD is here in this. There is so much that exhausts me about our precious Jamesy, there are so many thoughts and words that never get put on this screen. Because he is my son, and I carry so, so much guilt....guilt that was nailed to the cross. But everyday I need Jesus to take it away. However, the amazing, wonderful thing about all of this, about us living here, about Jamesy running away, is that there are two more people in the world who understand what life with Jamesy is like. We have felt so alone and misunderstood for so long, and now Jim's parents get it, and we are finding solidarity in this journey, and that makes me weep. To be understood and known is what we all desire.

And if that was not enough, Jim lost his job. His new job. I think I need to choose my words carefully here, so as not to slander a fellow brother-in Christ - Jim's former boss. Things were rough from the beginning, but  the owner was building a brand new Sweet Frog store - his first, so we chocked it up to stress and Jim tolerated a lot. He worked long, hard hours. He trained hard, and he poured himself into learning how to manage the store and how to take care of the product - including how to manage the frozen yogurt, clean the machines, run the software, etc. He poured so much of himself into that job, that he began neglecting Mercy Branch - our new church plant. We whispered to each other in the night, knowing that God brought us here specifically for Mercy Branch, and yet it seemed we were only giving ourselves to the Sunday part of it - a far cry from what God had laid on our heart. We thought it would get better when the store was officially opened and Jim's hours were more set. However, soon it became clear that the verbal assaults and unrealistic expectations were not going to cease. Jim felt defeated and worn, and then last Friday he was let go. The owner was looking for someone who could give more hours and who had a restaurant management degree. In the end Jim was dealt with fairly in the leaving, but we are still in a tough spot - no insurance, little money, uncertainty about the future. I am struggling with bitterness. Jim, however, has more clarity and maturity. He believes that God gave him the Sweet Frog job as a security blanket to actually makes us leave our church in Norwich. We had talked and prayed about it for so, so long, but had not made any action step. We were nervous. God has changed so much of our lives these past three years, yet we still cling to certain securities and are only willing to risk certain things. {cringe} We are human - we fight our flesh just as much as the next person. We are so ordinary and frail. So God, knowing this, gave Jim Sweet Frog, setting it up to look like the perfect job to give us the security we needed to leave and allow us to plant the church of our dreams. And with that in our pocket we walked away from our church with stars in our eyes, ready for our new adventure. And then this - Jim loses that security. And now we realize what it truly was - just a bridge to get us to leave and move us to action. What this means for the future - we do not know. But we have eight weeks where Jim will be getting small paychecks to figure it out. So we are going to fast and pray and seek God's face in this.We are vacillating between a few options for income. Mercy Branch continues to flourish - slowly, steadily, and God is so inside of it. We now have more intentional time to invest into it, and that alone is a gift.

So this is where we sit today - waiting for our home to sell, jobless, no health insurance, and still in the honeymoon phase with our new church. And God sits here with us. We said from the very beginning that we knew without a doubt that God was asking us to move here and plant this church, but we also said that He did not give us the guarantee that this would work - only that we were to follow Him. Little did we know how quickly the job part of the equation would not work out. But we are together, life is already simpler - Habi walks home from school everyday, as we live about 3 blocks away now, Jamesy is speaking in phrases (our favorite that brings us all to giggles is "Hey, knock it off!") in just this short time here with less crazy busyness, and the children are happy - really happy . Jim and I have more time together than we have had in a few years, and we are having beautiful breakthroughs with Habi, and more time to enjoy each other as a family. We have taken more walks these past few weeks than we have taken in a year. Cadi and Scotty have made fast friends with the backyard neighbors and are often found in their yard during the afternoon. My heart is happy to hear their giggles.

Jim and I are pouring through the book of Luke, and we are learning so very much about the posture of our Jesus. He was such a renegade! As I read the stuff that He did, and how He was accused of being a drunk and a party animal and a friend of sinners, because of His lifestyle, I am so struck by how the churches I come from would react to Him today. A lot of the stuff I was taught before is being questioned as we read this book with fresh eyes. I am desperate to get rid of the Pharisaical practices that permeated so much of my church experiences. It is exciting. It is freeing. So here we are, together in this adventure, following Jesus, trusting Him inside of the chaos. And He is truly right here.


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