Saturday, April 16, 2011

Change: Transition from Something

Wow! There's been so much going on in the Stevens household since last September! I'm homeschooling for the first time and trying to adjust to that life. We're trying to change the way we eat and be more conscientious for our part in stewarding the beautiful planet God has given us. We are changing the way we steward God's financial provision and we are paying off our debts. In October our washing machine flooded, and we've been trying to put the house back in order ever since. Since December we have been praying about our church home, and this spring decided it was time to find a new home. And last week we found out that in less than three months time my husband will begin a new position in Washington, DC, so we will be moving to Northern Virginia in June.

Apparently in our lives it is the season of transition. Two of nature's seasons are transitional, spring and fall. One is the transition from rest to growth. The other is the transition from growth to rest. Spring is the season for new things. Fall is the season for harvest. I think for this time of transition in our lives we're experiencing spring. A lot of new things are being introduced. New seeds have been planted. We are being pruned. The dead growth is being removed from our lives to make way for new growth, to make way for a bountiful harvest.

Changing churches... A ridiculous notion in many parts of the world. In nations of persecution there may be one Bible-believing and professing church in a community if there's one at all. Yet here in America there is such an over-abundance of churches that we can pick and choose like changing your favorite restaurant. Is it a blessing that there are so many churches in America? I don't know. I think instead of the existence of a multitude of churches, and the existing churches growing and growing and growing, new churches should be planted in areas of the world where there is little knowledge of the Gospel so the Kingdom of God can be established throughout the earth. I am willing to go wherever in the world God wants to send me. Unfortunately, I haven't lived that way in the past, so I have to follow through with the consequences of past mistakes so that I am available to go in the future.

I also believe that instead of moving from church to church it's important to find a church home and be planted there. Yet here I find myself in a situation where we were no longer prospering (I'm not referring to finances) in the church we had called home for seven years. We didn't leave because we were offended or because other people who were close to us have left. If either of those things were the case we would have left a long time ago. It was an agonizing and heart-wrenching decision to leave. But we felt we have grown as much as we can within the four walls of our church. We have become root bound. We need more room to grow. We know God wants us in a church that actively involves its congregation in direct community outreach and missions. Our former home did some financial outreach, but as I've said before my heart's desire is to see and touch and smell and talk to the people I'm ministering to. I want to actively obey the Great Commission, but I'm not very good at it on my own. I need people around me that will go with me. That just wasn't the culture of my former home. I continue to pray that one day it will be the culture there. I want nothing but blessings for them. They are still my family and that will never change. The relationships there are precious.

So it was with tears that we left, not tears of anger, but tears of sadness and desire. God reminded me that those who sow with tears will reap with joy. We're sowing a new direction. We're sowing obedience to God's will for our lives. However, we need to find a new home in which to be planted. We've tried a few different places, but nowhere to call home yet. It will be wonderful to put down roots again, even if only for a few weeks until we move to Northern Virginia. I wish the timing to leave the church had coincided better with the timing to leave the Triad, but that simply wasn't God's timing for us. I can't begin to understand why He did it this way, but I trust Him and I follow Him.

And so I follow, too, to Northern Virginia. There's so much we'll be leaving behind: family, friends, our home, our garden. We've worked hard to get the services we have for Todd and Sadey. Now we'll have to find new ones. I've worked hard to find sources for good, sustainable food for us here, too. Now the search begins anew. We have to find new, good health care providers, something else that hasn't been easy to obtain. We also have to leave behind the luxury of having Shawn work from home and his short commute when he goes to the office. And I'll have to find a new homeschool association.

But I know a fresh start will be good for us. God has already blessed us with many connections in Northern Virginia. Shawn's family is there. We have many friends up there, and most of them have kids the same ages as ours. I already have leads on good food sources through my friends who live in the area. Shawn's parents even have a house we can move into for now. Shawn will no longer have to travel out of town, and there is a gym at the office in DC. We'll see an immediate pay increase and Shawn will be eligible for a promotion when it is offered that he'll never be eligible for here. We will finally be able to see real progress in paying off our debts. Shawn will be able to make good network connections through the contacts he will make in DC. And I may be able to take part of the garden with us, too. We've even visited a church we like a lot and may be our NOVA church home.

Last summer when we were visiting Shawn's family in NOVA (Northern Virginia), we were able to make some strong connections up there with old and new friends. Since Shawn works for the Federal Government, there has always been the possibility that we would live there someday. Last summer, I began to wonder if God would soon be opening that door for us, one He had kept closed for several years. Then when the washing machine flooded in October, the mess that was created was really a blessing. With the insurance money we received we were able to make some much needed upgrades to the house, which will make it easier to sell, and we'll be able to get more money out of it. Thus through the sell of our house we may be able to take a big chunk out of our debts. Other pieces both here and in NOVA began to fall into place, and then we got the call last week that Shawn got the position.

We are definitely moving in faith. We have to pay for the move and we can't sell our house to the government. We have to sell or rent it on our own. We are blessed to have a friend who is a great realtor. When we bought the house we were able to take advantage of the First-time Home Buyers Tax Credit. But we have only lived in the house for two years, not three, so we may have to pay it back. But we know that the Federal Government is not our source. It is simply the vessel through which God's provision flows to us. We are open to receive provision from other vessels. God knows of what we need. He will supply all our needs according to His riches and glory. We live in the economy of His Kingdom, not the world's economy.

I gladly follow Him as He transitions us from something old to something new.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

You will be sorely missed, and in that, I mean ALL of you. We are here to help you in any possible way with packing for the move, and we will never forget you (hint, hint, don't lose touch!) Take every step in faith, because we are NEVER in the wrong place at the wrong time. We are always in the right place when we delight in HIS will and walk in HIS way to the glory of HIS name. GOD bless and keep you all, today, tomorrow, and forever.