Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spiritual Scrapbook, part 4

A Season of Contentment

We moved to Vegas in 2002. We settled in, making friends and finding ministries at our church—Mark plays the piano and various other instruments, and I teach women's Bible studies. We had two more children: Annika was born in 2004 and Martina in

We enjoyed living in Vegas but we always planned to move back to the Northwest, and we prayed about when that was supposed to happen. In 2007 we heard about a job opening in Warrenton, Oregon, and surprisingly my first reaction was, “No! No! I don't want to move!” But that year my dad was very ill, and we began to think that maybe we should move back to be closer to him. My dad continued to go downhill and he died in 2008. The urgency for a move was gone, but we still felt a willingness to move.

In the spring of 2009 the job opening was indeed available, and Mark applied. Mark and I both flew out when he had an interview. We found a charming house for rent in Seaside, two blocks from the beach. I felt that perhaps I could live in a small town again if it was on the beach!

Mark and I both prayed and prayed about that job. There were so many reasons we wanted to move--and so many reasons we wanted to stay. For both of us, it was really a time of submitting to God's will. God really seemed to be directing us towards a move. Everything seemed to point in that direction.

And then Mark didn't get that job. I was so relieved not to have to pack and move, not to give up my church and living in a large city—but I was also frustrated! “What was that about, Lord,” I kept asking. “Why did You take us on that journey, working in our hearts to be willing to move....what was that all about?”

But then the fall came and I knew exactly what that was all about. I began teaching at Bible Study again and the weather cooled down, and I was completely content. I'd always been wishing for just a little more in my life...first I was wanting to be married, then to have a child, then to move back to the Northwest (or Ireland)...but now I am absolutely content to be right here, right now.

God took us on that journey, not to move us, but to change our hearts and to give us a joy and contentment in our current situation. We liked Vegas, but now we love it. Now it's home. I know the season of change will come again someday, but for now God has given me contentment.

I know, Lord, that a man's way of life is not his own; no one who walks determines his own steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)

A Season of Serving

Now I'm in a season of serving God. I remember when I went to that Elizabeth George conference, I watched Elizabeth on stage and I thought, “I want to do that. Maybe I could do that at Shiloh some day!” And last weekend I did.

I write a book every year and teach it at women's Bible study at our church. You can follow the links on the side of this blog to Sacred Signposts (about prayer) and Praise Patterns (about praise.) I'm writing a book on the topic of serving God—using our talents for God and looking at Biblical and historical people who served God in different ways.

I'm also very busy caring for my children—that's serving God too. Serving God can be exhausting, but it's rewarding too. I learned that at Shiloh Bible Camp when I was a teenager and I had so much fun serving God here! There was another result of that volunteer work. I didn't realize this til Lissa pointed it out to me.

In 1994 I cut down on my volunteering, because I had to get a paying job, but that was the year my dad retired. He looked around for something to do, and began mowing the lawn at Shiloh and helping in the office a little. Eventually I moved away but my dad kept going out there. Even when my dad moved away, he kept driving back to Shiloh. And when my dad died, Dan Small (a former manager of Shiloh) spoke at the graveside service and then we had the memorial service there. (The cemetery where my family is buried is very near Shiloh.)

A few months later, my Grandma died. I wondered where her memorial service would be because my aunts and uncles don't have any church connections. My aunts, however, are very organized and competent women, and they'd been taking notes during my dad's memorial service. They contacted Dan Small about speaking at the graveside service and having a luncheon there. I flew up here for that service, and Lissa attended with me. As we walked from the cemetery back to Camp, Lissa said, “Your family is here because of you.” I was startled. “What? My family were pioneers out here.”

“You started this.” she said. “You worked here for years before your dad did. You are the connection to Shiloh.” And I realized that my unsaved relatives had heard the gospel and then had lunch in such a pleasant Christian atmosphere...because of a chain of events that started when I was thirteen and I set tables and dished up pudding.

I want to encourage you today that whatever small actions you are doing to serve God—He sees, and He will reward you.

...You serve the Lord Christ. (I Corinthians 3:24)

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