Friday, May 30, 2014

Steps of Faith

Today we close on our house and Ben quits his job.

We will be officially unemployed and homeless.

Oh good.

That's the nutshell version. I almost posted that on faceook but then I thought better of it. Better make it a blog post so that we can explain.

This is us saying yes to God and His call on our lives.

We are moving to Chicago to help start a church, but really, it's been so much more than a move and so much more than us wanting to help friends with a church plant. It's been God asking us if we will truly give up our lives and the things we love here on earth so that He can have more of us. He's been asking us, are you really going to follow Me anywhere?

Can I just say right here that Jesus wasn't just some good prophet? He wasn't a good man, His teachings were provocative at times. He was, I should say, is God. He doesn't want just part of our lives, He wants ALL of our lives. Ben and I are feeling the weight of that as we make this move. Jesus said things like, if you don't hate your father mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters - yes, even your own life - such a person cannot be My disciple.

We are learning to hate even our own lives.

Ben said in talking to people at work he can tell that they think he is foolish. He's refusing to climb the corporate ladder there and is venturing out for a new job in Chicago.

Yes, we will be helping with the church, but we won't get paid by them. This has also been a dream of Ben's, to be involved in church planting but still be a part of the work force.

We are heading up with our stuff on Monday. We will be living with Gabriel and Debbie Mayes for a few months until Ben finds a job and we can find some place to stay a little more permanently. Our kids will be sharing rooms with their kids (praying this goes smoothly, hoping for the best and expecting the worst) Ben and I will have the fourth bedroom and share the bathroom with all the little ones (for about two seconds I was disappointed but then realized we share our master bathroom with all our kids anyways, so whatev).

Ways that God has provided financially:
He gave us a ridiculously good car for a ridiculously low amount of money last fall. (It was doubtful our 1995 Camry would make it up there in all the snow)
He gave Ben an end of the year bonus (this was pretty typical) and then a second bonus (totally a surprise)
He sold our house in like three days! At our asking price! (Whaaaaaat?! Thank you Lord!)
Ben had saved up a few weeks of vacation for when Simeon was born but wasn't able to take it because he was so busy at work, so now he will get two and a half weeks of vacation.

God has done all of this. Time after time I ask Ben, "Why do we worry?" Why do we fret about these things? Does He say that He will provide? Now I'm praying that we will be wise stewards of the resources He has given us. It's like the Lord knew we would have enough stress with moving and three little kids, He just didn't give us more than we could handle. He truly is a good God.

He is our Provider.

Side note from that: I just want to say here that Ben and I have intentionally avoided debt in our lives and that really has allowed us to have freedom to move. It's allowed us the freedom to step out in faith and quit our job without (major) worries. Romans 13:8 says "Let no debt remain, except the continuing debt to love one another, whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." That's been the goal of our life in Christ.

Lord, this is rough. It's been a difficult last few weeks, but because of You, it has been good. Thank You for Your provision. Thank You for support of friends and family, this could not have been possible without the body of Christ around us. Thank You for constantly helping me with my attitude. You are my healer, in so many ways. I pray for open hearts for Ben and I as we move, we are plant ourselves in a foreign city for Your glory, that we would follow You even more. Let us be more devoted to prayer, and to Your Word. Let us be more sensitive to Your Spirit. You are worth it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Moving to Chicago part 3

Wow. That's all I can say.

We will be moving to Chicago (Crystal Lake, Illinois) in a week from Monday. It's happening. It's here.

I can't even blog coherently about this.

We sold our house. It went on the market on a Sunday. We got an offer that evening. We countered and they rejected. Then three other people came in and made offers. In the end, we got our asking price. Thank You Lord. It might have been the most painless part of the whole process. For me at least. Our realtor, Ray Ellen (I'm just gonna say his name so that if you need a real estate agent in Central Arkansas you can call him), did an awesome job.

God is merciful. Really, He is. This whole process of picking up and moving… not the funnest process. I've had moments of wanting to melt into a puddle of tears, but in His goodness, God has given us some incredible gifts during this time. Staying at my in-laws: sweet fellowship with them plus a clean house to pack up in the afternoons. My parents who have taken the kids overnight several times just to give us a break from the chaos. Friends who have watched the kids on different mornings. I'm learning what it means to ask of others and not cower in shame.

We are still waiting on a job for Ben. Honestly, I just am not worried. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and He tells us not to worry. Ben is an awesome worker, he's not lazy. I know that as soon as we get to Chicago he will begin looking really hard for a job.

He did have an opportunity with Verizon and that was encouraging. He had a phone interview and then flew up for a face to face interview. Then we waited to hear back. And we waited … and waited. Finally, this week he got a response that was almost, practically a "no" but encouraged him to apply for other jobs within the company and they would send on his resume.

It was a true let down. I mean, after all that time Ben and I were not feeling good feelings like he would get it, but still to have it sort of there, I think that was hard, especially for Ben. But he handled it like a champ and he had a good heart to heart with the Lord because of it.

One thing I know about this WHOLE process of receiving the call, praying through it, seeking counsel, saying yes to the Lord, and picking up and moving, Ben and I have been more challenged in our faith to truly believe that we are in His hands than ever before. This has led to a crazy intimacy with God and with each other. It's put some grit in our faith. Singing the songs on Sunday morning: "We won't move without You, You're the light of all, and all that we need" "I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back" "I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God of angel armies is always by my side" … those lyrics now hold a weight to them.

Sometimes I feel like God is calling us to Chicago just to change us.

Lord, let us be malleable clay in Your hand. Let us testify to Your faithfulness and Your goodness. That's why we're doing all this stuff. It's because You are faithful. You have so transformed us and changed our lives and made us new from who we were, that we can't help but give our lives to You.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Crazy Cravings

It is always my goal to be completely open and honest on this blog.

It's my goal to be honest in my whole life. It just feels better that way, to be known, not to have to hide anything or think, wait, should I really be talking about this right now? Often it simply results in someone else saying, I have that exact same problem/sin/difficulty and I thought I was the only one.

You're not.

No one is.

I remember sitting in small groups in high school and college and thinking I was the only one struggling with something. I struggled a lot to have good relationships in those times but I think I just didn't know how to do it. I was fearful much of the time.

Anyways, most recently I've been struggling in the area of food. I've decided not to struggle with my weight, I just had a baby not long ago and it's okay to need to lose a few pounds. Any of you women who lost all their pregnancy weight within their first six weeks… don't even talk to me right now. Don't do it, I will stare you down coldly in my mind while nodding and smiling. I digress…

My struggle with food has gone like this. All day I eat healthy and well. I don't overeat too bad, I allow myself to experience hunger, I eat a few salads, I also eat fats and carbs and proteins … it's going great. Then comes dinner. I allow myself to get pretty hungry and I clean my plate because it is just delicious, okay people? So good. I eat so fast and I don't experience complete satisfaction at the end of the meal. Then I go to the freezer, pantry, fridge for whatever else I can fit into my mouth and belly. It's not that I just want a cookie or a little bit of ice cream, it's that I want the whole cookie recipe or the whole stinking container of ice cream.

This desire proceeds until about 9 pm.

Two things usually happen. I do my best to ignore the voices in my head that are violently telling me to eat my heart out and then the 9 o clock hour rolls around and I feel 'successful' OR I eat whatever I can (usually behind Ben's back because that's how my sin nature rolls, I'm good at sneaking this stuff) and the 9 o clock hour rolls around and I hate myself. I literally, truly hate my own guts. I beat myself up and tell myself never to eat like that again, that was stupid and dumb and what an idiot I am.

This has been going on for several weeks now. I'm not actually sure about the time period, but it feels that way.

What's interesting is that I haven't really been aware of this whole battle. I just knew I had either good nights or bad nights.

Finally, the other day I realized it and I told it to Ben.

This is kind of how the conversation went:
"Ben, have you ever just wanted to eat everything in sight?"
"Maybe when I was really hungry to something."
"No, like really, even when you weren't hungry?"
"Well, I have realized that every evening after dinner it's like there's this … um … overeating monster … um … voices inside my head and I just have this desire that if I just eat as much sweets and things as I can then I will be happy. Rationally, I know this is not true, in fact, it's much better if I don't eat tons of food because then I will sleep better and not have a stomach ache when I go to bed. But still, it's like these crazy little voices that come on at 6 and don't turn off until 9. Isn't that weird?"
"That's weird. Wow. "

Once I openly acknowledged and admitted that to Ben things got a lot better. It was like, instead of going into a battle each evening dressed like I was going to a dinner party, I was dressing my mind more like I was going into a battle. I was ready for action. Bring on the crazy little voices who tell me to do stupid things… I'm ready for them and their rationalizations that never cease to amaze. Like "You deserve this" "You are nursing" "No one will know" "Who cares?" "This will feel good" and the list goes on and on.

The truth is that I don't need to eat anything after dinner. Dinner was sufficient, I don't need to eat a batch of cookies. If I eat unhealthy things they won't make me happier. Even if I eat healthy things in unhealthy amounts, my body will still not like it. The truth is that I only need satisfaction in the Lord.

Two things that have helped in the evenings are: not being left alone in the evenings as well as avoiding sweets in the evenings as well. Sometimes (not always) I don't even need to taste it.

Lord, I pray that You would be my portion forever and ever.

Healing an Angry Heart

A Sunday afternoon blog post. Why not?

It's been a rough week. That's all I can say. It's been rough, but the truth is that God is faithful.

Moving is not easy. Putting your house on the market isn't easy either. Trying to figure out what we will need for the months that we will be staying with the Mayes and what we will need to put in storage… not a lot of fun. Add to that trying to be a wife and a mom and I've pretty much become a puddle of tears. Usually angry tears.

This week was a huge struggle with anger.

I wouldn't say I am usually an angry person, however, my kids are best at provoking that out of me. As my sister-in-law told me the other day, "It's amazing what comes out of you when you are squeezed." Oh I have found some not-so-pretty things come out of me. Not pretty at all.

Some things I have realized about being a homemaker and a mother. Nesting happens. I have my nest and I like my nest. Don't push me out of my nest or mess it up. Moving nests is not fun. I lose things, I forget where I put things … putting kids down for bedtimes and naps is about a thousand times harder. There are new rooms and territories and boundaries that need to be set. I feel like I've been all out of sorts this week.

Can I just pause to say here that it's no one's fault that I have been upset? Seriously, I have the most gracious in-laws who have let us come move in with them so that our house can be shown at a moment's notice. That way I wouldn't have to be constantly picking up after a four-year-old, two-year-old and a new baby. It's wonderful, and they are the most gracious hosts I have ever been with. Seriously. You have no idea. I pray that we will be like them someday, the Lord has blessed them and they have open hands with it.

Anyways, I think I have just been mad about the situation. I've been angry that I have had to pack up all of our clothes and bring them somewhere else. I might have been a little bit angry that Simeon hasn't slept well (therefore I haven't slept well) for the past few days.

Finally, Ben and I were in the car and I was just telling him, "I am so angry and I don't even know why." Everything he said I took offense at, I just could feel angry vibes going towards him. He was like, I don't know what to do Jody. So I did the only thing I knew to do and that was just to start praying out loud and confessing my anger to God. I was asking Him, please take this away from me, please cleanse my heart and my spirit, I cannot take it out of my own body. I cannot stop wanting to spew on everyone around me.

And that was it.

We drove on to our destination in relative silence. That evening it was like I had a new heart. I literally have no idea what happened, except that God answered my prayer. All that bitterness and anger had been sucked right out of me. The next day was better and the next day was even better. The Lord heard my cry and He healed me. It was crazy.

Lord, You are my Healer. You are my very present help in times of trouble. I need nothing else BUT You Jesus. Thank You that You are faithful when I am willing to call on You. My faith in You grows each day as I get to walk with You. Not only that, but each day I am more and more convinced that there is no way I could do this on my own.

Thank You Lord.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Moving to Chicago part 2

Several times today while cleaning and packing and just thinking about packing I have wanted to break down and cry and just lay on the floor and tell everyone I can't do this. I just … can't … do … this.

But as I was cleaning the Holy Spirit was asking me, "Jody, is this your home? Is this where you were meant to be?' I was reminded that this world is not my home. It's just not. We, maybe especially americans and maybe especially housewives, want our homes all tidy and nice around us. We want it to be comfortable and a place of permanency. That's probably because we were created for permanency, for paradise. The sad part is that this world is not permanent. The world and everything in it is passing away, but the Word of God stands forever.

Lord, thank You that this is not my home. How hopeless I would be today if it were.

Okay, so more about our call to Chicago.

Why is this so hard for me to blog about?? Maybe it's because sometimes it feels foolish to say, "God told me to do this" … because really? Are you sure you heard Him? Yes, I'm sure! But really? Would He really tell you to do something that makes no sense like that? Yep. Makes sense to me.

I'll share a little from Ben's story.

We had just truly decided to begin pursing the idea of going to Chicago. We told Gabriel and Debbie one Sunday night about how we were truly feeling like the Lord was leading us there to partner in ministry with them. They were thrilled. True to form, Gabriel gave us a challenge. He's definitely the kind of guy who will hold your feet to the fire … in a good way. He challenged us to start telling people about the possibility of moving and how God was leading us. He told us to make sure and be intentional in this time.

The next day Satan started attacking. Fear. Hardcore fear. Would Ben be able to find a job? What if we went for a period without insurance? Would we be able to sell our house? What if our parents thought we were crazy?

All kinds of questions and fears.

He hadn't ever experienced fear on this level before. He decided to download a podcast from Matt Chandler. He hadn't listened to Matt before, he just knew I had listened and decided to download a sermon. It was about fear. Matthew 6 and how God provides. Ben was weeping in his car. He was on his way to lunch with one of our pastors. His meeting with the pastor was so encouraging that if the Lord really did want us to move, God would make a way and He would make it clear. God would not leave one of His children in the dark or obstruct their way.

Another meeting with a pastor Ben had just read about Jonathan and the armor bearer and how they went up and defeated a philistine outpost. Ben had a vision that he would be like the armor bearer. Ben is a team player, he wants to support, not as much lead. This pastor had preached a sermon on this passage just before he left his old church. They were able to talk about the passage and the pastor had a lot of confirmation that Ben was following God's will.

God just kept telling us to keep pressing into ministry here in Little Rock. We knew that we needed to stay for one more season. We needed to have our third baby here and Ben needed to see a huge project through at his work. He wanted to leave his job well. He didn't want to leave his co-workers in the lurch to "go start a church" for some reason, we didn't think that would be a very good witness. :)

It's sort of felt like we've had a line of bread crumbs we have been slowly picking up as we follow God. A sermon here, a scripture there, a word from a friend at a very appropriate time. People who we told would ask us, "How is Chicago looking?" And I could honestly say, I feel like I can only see about ten feet ahead of us. It's like we are on a train and God is literally laying the track out in front of our eyes.

It's been a huge faith journey for us and we are excited about what else He has in store.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

My Favorite Album Ever

Okay, I know this is totally not what I usually do, but this is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. I have been wanting to give an album to some friends, one album, many friends. If I could just push it through the internet into every home and buy one for each of my friends I would TOTALLY do that. However, I do not have the financial capacity for such things.

So, I will write.

I've posted a few times before about the album "Campfire" by Rend Collective Experiment. (I think they recently shortened it to Rend Collective, good choice, cause a lot of times I just shorten it to Rend, the easier the better is what I always say).

Can I just take a moment and speak as a musician and someone who has sold some CD's that I made myself? It's hard. I mean, I made a lot of mistakes and maybe pressured people to buy my CD when I shouldn't have, but really, we take advantage of musicians way too much in our culture today. Just buy the album is what I'm trying to say. If you like their music, this is a way to tell them, "Hey, I like what you do, please, go be fruitful and multiply. Good job." I don't know, I've just taken to buying music lately and it's felt like a very honest thing. So, I will just put my two cents in there and say, why not try supporting the musicians?

Okay, onto my "review" of this album. I'm sure I've lost about 90% of you with that last paragraph.

This was supposedly recorded in front of a campfire, so there is always that sound and the sound of the ocean in the background. I love it. It's all on acoustic instruments and there are lots of voices singing on it. Every time I listen I feel like I'm right there, yelling and worshipping right along with these crazy campfire people.

1. It starts out with "Kumbaya" which, when I first heard it I was like "Really? Laaaaame." But the word kumbaya means: come. So they are inviting the Lord to come and meet with them. It's short and sweet. And it's grown on me.

2. The next song is "Come On My Soul" there's not much to it lyrically, but the banjos and mandolins and the people yelling out "Come on!" Oh how it lifts me up! Every time I'm like, "Yeah!" Just like David saying in Psalm 42 "Why are you so downcast O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for He will yet lift up your countenance." Several times I have had a hard morning with the kids and will get in the car to go somewhere and that song comes up after Kumbaya and I have just started weeping. The lyrics "Come on my soul, it's time to look up." "Sing my soul, it's time to look up."

 3. Oh man, "Dessert Soul" the thing that I LOVE about Rend is the fact that their lyrics are so honest and raw and have such a right view of man and God. Truly, all we are is dry bones without the power of God. Can I also say that I LOVE the accordion and banjo? What a good idea. Also, the fact that so many people are singing on it, the chorus of the voices. The lyrics "I'm lost without Your creative spark in me, recreate me." That has been my prayer lately. Honestly, I've felt like dry bones in the area of creativity, these songs are like a breath of fresh air in my heart.

4. "Build Your Kingdom" This one gets played on the radio a lot. I don't like the radio version much, but this one, this is the one. Again, it's probably the rawness and acoustic nature that attracts me to it. The lyrics are incredible. Each time I want to yell, "Yes!" I love dancing to this song (and every other one on the album)

**Crud, I don't even know how to put all this stuff into a blog! I'm not a music critic, who am I kidding? Help me Lord.

5. "Movements"One day I was struggling just to hear from the Lord. Again, I felt like dry bones and just like I was crawling in my life towards the Lord. This song talks about keeping making movements toward the Lord. Even through difficult waters, even if it's crawling, even if it's running fast and free. I remember weeping before the Lord that morning just that I would keep making movements to Him no matter what. I love the honesty of the lyrics, I can't do this on my own, I'm not good at this, even when I'm squirming and uncomfortable. I want to love You more, please help me.

6. "You Are My Vision" is what caused me to buy this album. I had heard it a few times on Pandora and was like "WHO IS THIS AMAZING BAND?!" I had an iTunes gift card I hadn't used and just decided to buy the whole album. It must have been the Holy Spirit telling me to do it, because this album got me through so many hard times. I mean, I feel like the Lord USED this album so many times to just pull me by my shirt collar out of depression. The thing that I like about their version of this song is that they take out the old "Thous and thees and arts" and put in modern language and for some strange reason the song came alive in my heart. I love the lyrics "I don't want riches or many's empty praise, You're my inheritance now and always"

7. "You Bled" Honestly, these next few songs took a while to grow on me. I was in love with the first six for a long time and just sort of listened to the other ones. Truly, these are just as good. I love the lyrics of this song "You left Your perfection and embraced our rejection" They don't cut corners or dumb things down with their lyrics. Christ's sacrifice should be celebrated in truth in this way.

8. "The Cost" Oh my gosh, this song. Whew. With the things that we have been going through as a family lately, it's been asking me, "Jody, have you counted up the cost? It means leaving everything you love behind and following no matter what." I just have to reiterate here how much I love the musicianship of this band. It's like the perfect blend of excellent music along with lyrics that will pry open your soul. What could be better?

9. "Alabaster" Lord, let me always be broken at Your feet. Let me always bow my life at Your feet. I don't even know what to say about this song, but it's just a picture of the woman who wept before Jesus and her brokenness.

10. "Second Chance" I love the banjo and violin intro on this one. The truth that the cross changes everything, it's a chance to begin again. I love the passion in the singer's voice in these songs. Rend Collective is Irish and I think it's just that passion inside of them that gives all of these songs so much heart.

11. Best version of "10,000 Reasons" I have ever heard. Sorry Matt Redman. I love the vocal intro to this song and the male/female trade offs on the lead. Something about hearing this song in a different setting gives it a fresh feel.

12. "Fireworks" I blogged about how this song pulled me out of anger and depression one day here I love the lyrics to this song, the fireworks in the background, it's just so happy. I think often praise and worship songs these days are so serious that we forget that it's supposed to be fun, it's supposed to be a time of celebration because He has given us a new heart and a new home.

13. "Campfire Story" At first I thought this was kind of a cheesy advertisement, but the more I listen to it, the more I see the truth of what they wanted to communicate in this album. It sums up the feel of the album and the heart behind it.

Thank you Rend Collective. Sorry this is not the best explanation of your amazing work, But I just had to post.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Different Kind of Announcement

Okay, so I've been meaning to blog about this for a while. A long while.

Yes, we are moving. There, I said it. Does that make it more real? To Crystal Lake, Illinois, a suburb outside of Chicago. We are going to help in the upstart of a church there.

Really, I should probably start this story from the beginning. Crud, I don't want to blog right now. I am tired. I've been taking care of three little kids all day and I'm really just done. Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors, this is going to be just raw and real. Lord help me.

Where do I even begin?

About three and a half years ago we met a couple, Gabriel and Debbie Mayes. They came to Little Rock to start a business called QBot back then it was Qpon Revolution. They came to our church and just knew the Lord had led them there. Gabriel immediately started serving with me on the worship team. They are the kind of people who don't waste any time. They jump in with both feet. It's all or nothing with them. Gabriel is direct and passionate, he is a leader to the core. Debbie is quiet but has a fierceness about her (I'm pretty sure it's the irish blood that runs through her veins) that holds her to her convictions. For some reason, in their two years here in Little Rock the Lord knit our hearts together. I could call Debbie the night before and ask her to watch my kids the next morning. We had them over for dinner, they had us over. Gabriel and Ben would have game nights with other guys and go see movies together. They were the first couple who had ever mutually pursued us as we pursued them. We just clicked.

Anyways, around November of 2012 they told us they were going up to Chicago to start a church with Gabriel's cousin, Nick and his wife Lyndie. They challenged us to come with them. Honestly, in my head I thought "No way I'm leaving Little Rock, God has us here, I like it here, family is here, we're good." In other words, I was thinking, "in your dreams."  I was good and I didn't even need to pray about it.

Ben prayed about it and we didn't feel a peace about going. I was like, "of course" … :) I remember having one last meal with the Mayes and Gabriel saying that he had no doubts that we would end up in ministry together at some point. I'm being so honest here… I thought, yeah, when y'all come back to Little Rock, we will have ministry together. One thing I need to learn  in my life is to never say never.

The next year I decided to read through the Bible chronologically. I had never read through in a year before. I've read most of the Bible at different times, but for some reason I took the challenge and actually succeeded. I don't even know how.

Well, in mid July I remember reading a passage in Jeremiah. The israelites were asking Jeremiah for a word from the Lord. This was after most of them had been taken off into captivity in Babylon. God had a command for those who were to stay. He told them, "Do not go down to Egypt. (this is Jody paraphrasing) You think it will be safe there and you will be protected. But I want you to stay in Israel and live here even though it feels dangerous. If you go down to Egypt just know that sword and famine will follow you." So I thought, where is my Egypt? Lord, where do I seek comfort and ease? Am I where the Lord wants me? I remember talking to a friend about it and she was like, "This is Egypt." Referring to our easy, beautiful life down here in Little Rock.

Slowly, the Lord was pushing me out of my comfort zone.

Around September Gabriel came down to Little Rock to visit. I thought the issue was dead, but he took Ben out for dinner and laid out the whole reason why they want they Hefners up in Chicago to help with their church. It had been going for several months and they were doing exciting things in ministry. My heart was still in an "I'm never leaving Little Rock, it's way too good here" mentality. Ben and I talked afterward and I said, "So you turned him down right?" His response surprised me. He was excited about the church up there. He was really and truly considering it. I asked him why and his response cracked open my door to the possibility. He said, "No one has ever challenged me so much in the Lord as Gabriel Mayes. I don't always agree with him, but he has pushed me further into scripture than any other guy."

This gave me pause. … My husband wants to be around other men who cause him to grow closer to the Lord. I will move to the other side of the world for that.

So we prayed. Ben fasted. He told me that he wanted me to receive a word from the Lord as well, it couldn't just be him. I was still riding the reluctant train with the dread of the possibility of leaving family.

Enter October. This is the part of the chronological reading plan where Jesus FINALLY comes. By this time in your reading you are so tired of the Israelites and their kings and then their oppression and prophets, it's weary. So Jesus finally comes on the scene. Since all the gospels happen simultaneously I started to just read where Jesus was calling the disciples. God is good because if it had just been one or two callings I would have totally overlooked it. But I kept reading: follow Me, follow Me over and over. It was making me uncomfortable. They would ask Jesus questions like, "Where are you staying tonight?" and He would say vague things like, "Come and see." You mean… maybe we won't always know where we will be staying? This doesn't sound very safe and secure. Ummmm …

I think the passage that hit me the hardest was when James and John were fishing with their dad, Zebedee (cool name) and Jesus told them to follow Him. They literally got up and left their nets and their father and followed Jesus. For the first time I saw it from the parent's perspective. He was left there, holding those nets. Maybe he was glad they had been called, but maybe he was also heartbroken that he wouldn't see his sons anymore. I saw my parents and Ben's parents. We love them. We want to stay and hang out with them forever. Seriously, we are so weird. I want my kids to know them well. I want to be near them. But God was nudging me on the shoulder asking me if I could leave them so that I could serve Him.

Was I willing to do that?

Had James and John said, no, we don't want to leave our dad, we love him too much, they would have missed BEING TWO OF THE TWELVE DISCIPLES! Hello! And what would I be giving up in the Lord if I refused to follow Him wherever He would lead me?

The Lord kept telling me that this life is but a vapor. Use it for all it's worth right now because time is passing quickly. We will have an eternity to live near our family and love them. We only have this short life to follow and serve the Lord wherever He leads.

There is definitely more to this story. I'm ending this post, but I reserve the right to post more if needed.

Deep sigh.

Jesus, help us.