So something pretty radically crazy happened yesterday that was five years in the making...five years of disobedience...but before I get to that, I realize its been awhile since our last update so let me catch you up to speed on the zoo.
About six months ago, we were happily doing campus ministry, content and settled in our home in Cochran and adjusting to our new kids when Tracey got a Facebook message from a former student....his question..."I know you love what you do but would you ever consider leaving campus ministry to be on staff in the church." Unbeknownst to him, Tracey had been wrestling with this very thing since December. He was continually telling me,"I feel God nudging us in another direction." And I was saying,"NO! We just got home from China with two new kids, Bailey is about to start his freshman year of high school....we can't move now." But once Tracey told me about the position this church was looking for...an associate pastor to preach the contemporary service, bring leadership to that service and oversea the church missions program...I knew....if there was ever a position that fit the way God created and shaped Tracey, this was it.
So we began the tough task of moving a family of 9....renting our house in Cochran, finding a house big enough here...God provided every step of the way....I will take a minute to talk about Eli and Zoe...they are both doing wonderfully. Zoe is in first grade and excelling...she is strong willed and determined. Her ambition in life is to be a princess doctor! She is fluent in English after 9 months home. Eli is in 6th grade and spends much of his day in ESL classes. He is a really happy kid....seriously the kid smiles 99.9 percent of the time! Parenting him is sometimes similar to training a toddler because there is so much he has never been taught. Older child adoption definitely has many challenges but as older kids go...we got a good one!
Mei is in kindergarten this year. He is in a new school which is tough because he had some great
buddies in Cochran but praying God would bring him a good buddy. His teachers at school call him A-Mei-zing! He truly is awe inspiring! All the other children are adjusting well. Briena is in first grade and loves school, Caleb is in fifth grade. He is playing baseball and soccer and is making friends. Shelton is in Middle school. She is trying volleyball for the first time, she's loving the church/youth group and she's made many friends. Bailey is in 9 th grade at a small private school.
It's a college prep school and a great fit for Bailey. He is playing varsity soccer for them.
So back to my disobedience...over the last 5 years God has told me repeatedly to let my job go. It's been such a personal struggle...as a family of 6 and then 7 and now 9, I couldn't figure out how we could survive without my job...so I worked full time from home...8-5 or later everyday while my kids ran around me. They sat in my office to play just to be near me because I couldn't leave the phone to engage them. My home was disorganized and we bought the same items over and over because we didn't know what we did or didn't have. Tracey was doing college ministry and gone most nights so I went straight from my office to throw something together for dinner get them bathed and in the bed and then many nights had to go back to work to be sure I accomplished everything I needed to. It's been a rat race and God has said over and over, "lay it down". But I couldn't see past the financial impact...with my job I could afford to indulge my kids whims...I just couldn't spend time with them...couldn't engage in their school, help with their homework the way they needed me to. The big thing Tracey and I talked about with this move was that there was no way we could continue doing what we were doing. Something had to give. As a pastor, his commitment level would increase and he wouldn't be as available. We weren't being good stewards of the children God blessed us with...trying to meet their medical needs around work was becoming a burden....just so many things pointed right back to my job. I started praying diligently that God would make it really clear...as if everything I said above wasn't clear enough...but financially I needed some peace. So in the week I prayed for this confirmation, God provided two very unexpected financial gifts in our mailbox...just a coincidence...I think not! After that week I knew...it was past time. Yesterday was my last day working full time...for the first time in our married lives. It's a scary place....not safe for sure! I can't trust my paycheck be our provider but am dependent completely on God who knows our needs....does it all make sense on paper?...absolutely not...I love Jim Elliot's quote ," he is no fool who gives what
he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." My job was never mine to keep...and the eternal significance of investing full time in my family...no paycheck can replace that!
We would definitely covet your prayers as we start this next chapter! The worry of paying rent, and bills, and feeding a family of 9...and keeping gas in the cars can be overwhelming. I like to have a plan, to see on paper how its all going to come together so it's tough for me to let this control go....
We have one need that we could use your prayers around...we have our 15 passenger van that we use when the whole family is together and Tracey has his jeep to beat around town in but we really need a fuel efficient mini van or car that we can use for dr appointments to and from Atlanta, dr appointments around town, taking kids to and from school and sports events, and hospital visits Tracey makes in Atlanta as well. The big van is tough to drive in and out of hospital parking garages and car pool lines...the jeep is a gas guzzler and has lots of miles so it would be a huge blessing to find something fuel efficient. Please pray for Gods provision here...
And we have a silly want that I'm going to throw out there...someone could have an old one they aren't using and want to get rid of...who knows!...we live less than a mile from the lake and would love to find a pontoon boat. This would provide hours of captive fun for our whole family...tubing, fishing, skiing, ect...
Also, can we ask ya'll to pray specifically for a best friend for each of our kids...not just a best friend but a best friend that is a great/positive/Godly influence and role model and that our kids would be a good friend in return. Being in a new place and making new friends is tough and I don't want our kids to settle for just any friend in their desperation to have friends. We'd be so grateful if you'd keep them in your prayers!
Love this quote from one of the Chronicles of Narnia movies where Aslan is spoken of...Lucy asks, "Is he safe?" And the response, " my dear, He is a ferocious lion! Of course he is not safe! But he is good!" We are no longer safe...but we are trusting in a God that is so good.