Huni and I have moved and ever since we planned on doing so, it’s been a struggle for me to get myself to this computer and practice discipline, sit down and write! But it’s been some of the things that have happened as a result of our move that have driven me here with laptop aptly placed in lap . . . writing. Life can be like that sometimes.
Huni was born and raised in a small town that he has always dearly loved. There’s not much to this place, but he holds fond, dear memories of his childhood here and it means a great deal to him. Over the years we have seen it decline. I used to visit fairly often when we were dating and even I’ve noticed the changes within the last ten years. And they haven’t been all bad, but it’s been mostly a pretty depressing, slow decline to the quality of life of the people who live there. Job opportunities have become a “search and find” of sorts, the local schools often get more complaints and poor grades rather support and top performing students, crime is on the rise, drugs are still deeply effecting the youth and it’s not hard to see which ones of them are held firmly in its grasp, the churches are in desperate need of leadership and spirit filled truth tellers and the people just want more altogether. So Huni decided that we should gather all of our things and move our whole life here. To help. (staring off blankly, blinking eyes rapidly) I’ll save the conversation about all that happened to get us here for another post, but let me just say that no matter how ill-equipped or incompetent I felt in this calling, God’s grace was and is on us for such a time as this.
We have some pretty huge goals for this town, some things that we are believing God to use us to initiate–whether He uses us to actually do the work or to encourage and assist others in doing it. So far we’ve started three small group bible studies; Huni meets with a group of men and I meet with a group of women and a “group” of teen girls (more on that “group” of teen girls later!). I know that ministry is no joke, but I never knew that it was going to be this blasted hard!! And right now, as we prepare to transition into our space, we are living with Huni’s parents. (swallows hard, takes deep breath, then stares off blankly, blinking eyes rapidly) :0) I have to say, since I got married, I have always been one of the most blessed married women I know because of the man God gave me, his family of origin, and my relationship with them. It’s the real deal. I love them as if they are my own and we, honestly, have no issues. But even as much as I love my mommy, the one whose womb nurtured me for some months and who raised me and helped shape me into the woman I am today–I am in no hurry to return to her home as my temporary residence!! And I do dearly love my parents that my Huni gave to me, buuuuuut. . . .you get the picture . . . :0)
SO, I’ve been stretched, changed, and gone through the whole gamut of emotions. And I’ve only been here a month and a half. And I know that it’s only just begun. (staring . . .blinking . . .)
But there is just a sweetness to belonging to God. He just knows me, and He takes the time to let me know that I am known and seen and loved and watched over and cared for. He’s using Huni, my children, my parents, my circle of sister-frans and the women in this community to reinforce that just when I need it.
This week has been a hard one. I know, it’s only Tuesday. But that’s what I’m saying. It’s only Tuesday and already I’m like WHOA. But I got a really sweet email from one of the women in the women’s group named Michelle. I wanted to share part of my response to her to give you a glimpse of what’s already happening here. Hope it blesses you and glorifies Him.
Miss meeting with you here in this space. But I think I’ve found my groove again ;0)
Michelle,I don’t even know how to start this email! I’m a very emotional girl. Always have been. My mom says that when she was pregnant with me, she spent most of her time crying and going through. I’ve used that to help explain why I cry so much now and why I spent the better part of my first 16 years of life being so tenderhearted, and crying at the drop of a hat! All of that to say, it doesn’t take much to get my tears to fall. They lie in wait at the first chance to release themselves. They used to be a permanent part of my face but I am truly, so very grateful that I now understand what it means to have the JOY of the Lord as my strength. That doesn’t mean that I don’t cry, it just means that I receive His joy as I understand His purposes for my WHOLE life, not just the parts I like and am proud of. But you’re right, I have experienced a great deal of pain and it is still present with me.I recently had the privilege of going through some counseling at the church E and I were members of when we lived in Raleigh. Michelle. It changed my life. But it opened up some wounds that, for the longest time, I didn’t even want to admit were there. Our childhoods, most often, shape our lives. Through the power of God, who trades beauty for ashes, all of those things that happened to us in our youth, no matter how ugly or destructive they seemed, show up beautifully on us. Just like we discussed last night when we talked about the long obedience in the same direction–being able to say yes however many times it takes, and say no however many times it takes–I have had to work consistently to change my thoughts in order to believe that everything that has happened to me is showing up beautifully on me. I ran away from it for so long because of the shame attached to it. And the “it” that I am referring to is so many things, including but not exclusive to most of the things you mentioned that you’ve dealt with. I’m still gaining the strength and wisdom to tell my whole story and not allow Satan to pull me back into the shame that kept me hidden and afraid for so many years. It’s women like you who put their whole selves forward that God uses to really encourage and strengthen me to do the same.This study is just as much for me, as it is for all of you. I know that the Lord called me to it, but He called me not just to use me, but continue to make me whole and holy. It’s like I told you before, every email you send me, and every text, they make me braver and strengthen me just a little bit more every time.What I want in this season of my life is to attain true freedom in Christ. I want to understand His word in such a way that it frees me up and gives me power to walk like a woman who is free, understands the word of God and the role it plays in her life, and who understands her purpose. All of the pieces are coming together–the hurt, the pain, the laughs, the joy, the sadness, the accomplishments, the mistakes, the downfalls, the slip-ups . . all of it . . . and it’s all showing up beautifully on me. In Jesus’s name.pamela t.