It’s been a while since I sat down to write out my thoughts, and apparently it takes me having Iritis for me to actually do this.  I am thankful I took typing in high school, so that I can actually type blindly.

We have been back in the States for seven months now.  We spent five months in Florida and we have been in California for two months.  It has been hard to come back to our home church here in California, where it is truly in a broken and yet beautiful place.  It was never Auberry Community Church that I would have thought would be divided, and yet here we are.  We are all human… there is always room for division, and there is always room for the Lord to work.  Everything works for good for those who are called according to his purpose, so even from pain and difficulty and definitely suffering, new growth happens, and new love for God can grow, a new dependance on the Lord can come to fruition.  God knows the hearts of every member of Auberry Community of those who left and those who stayed.  I pray for all parties that every person seeks the Lord, and his desire.  I pray that every person can pray for the desires of his heart, and that those desires would be lining up with who God is.  The facts stand for me that it was hard to come back here to a hurting congregation, and the fact stands that we miss those that are not there.  Our prayer is that all involved will search their hearts, that each person will reach out, that they will forgive, and fight to not have bitter hearts, and God knows it takes a real fight to not let our hearts grow bitter… easier said than done.

‘Let our hearts not grow bitter’ art by: Robert Griffith

As far as us here in California, it was a little bit harder for me to come back here than it was for me to go to Florida. I came back here with a cautious heart.  Initially it was harder for me to have a heart that wants to continue investing in people, because we are only here a short time.  We keep experiencing over and over being in different places for short times.  I am thankful… so thankful for the deep relationships we get to build because although it can be rare to to have deep friendships I feel that God has blessed us with many… it’s just that it is always hard to leave every place that we go because we have invested deeply into so many relationships.  And yet I feel that God has called us to these investments, I always feel like God is calling me to towards these people.   As Howard Davies from Calvary Chapel Merritt Island always told us in his english accent “grow where you’re planted, be where you are”.  I will never forget that, because no matter what we are doing there is always the thing that we are doing next, and yet I hear God calling me here and now to be doing well what he is calling me to do right now and in this moment.  Right now that is investing in these relationships here, full fledged like I’m gonna be here forever, without holding back.  I am here homeschooling my daughters, taking care of our house, preparing dinner for my family, doing the laundry and taking care of our baby… and these things God is calling me to do well.

In some ways I have felt more spiritual attacks here than I did in Senegal, or maybe they just look different.  For months now we have been praying and seeking the Lord about whether or not we should go to Senegal for a month this summer  There have been many factors not the least of these was money. After much thinking and worrying, I had a hard time seeing how it was going to work for our whole family to just visit Senegal and the validity of the whole thing, plus all the hard things that go along with bringing a new baby that I’m feeding with bottles and pumping and all that that entails.  After seeking the advice of our Florida Church elders TJ has felt 100% sure with peace from the Lord that our whole family needed to take a trip to Senegal this summer, but he has been waiting for the Lord to convince my heart too.  After much turmoil and freaking out on my part and what I think were spiritual attacks on my peace from the Lord, we decided not to talk about the trip, the tickets or anything about it.  We were silent for about a week concerning anything “Senegal”.  At the end of the week my heart calmed down, God’s peace entered my heart and mind and he calmed my fears, he showed me why he wants us to go and that he has given TJ a conviction for a reason and that he has something great for us this summer.  I feel like he took my eyes and cleared my blurred vision and made it clear, that despite all my fears and worries he was in this.  TJ took a couple more days to pray and received confirmation from the Lord, and we bought tickets to Senegal for one month this summer.  We will be visiting Del and Arielle in the village where we will also be working.  We will take part in important team meetings with our little team.  We will attend a conference being held for all the West Africa missionaries in our organization.  We will also spend some times visiting our friends and church family in Dakar.  I am now excited, and believe that God had this money set aside for this trip the whole time.

We see the benefit in going for the goal of keeping the vision alive for our whole family, TJ, me AND our girls.  We want to be there and connected to what’s going on as this is what we are giving our lives for.  As we are in the States for extra unexpected time (Mae’s cleft surgery),  we want our hearts to stay connected and that we would not lose focus.  We want to stay connected to Senegal and the ministry that we are just starting.  And to tell you the truth, we don’t know all the reasons that God is asking us to go, but we know that he is, and our desire is to follow Him.  The last thing we want to do is miss out on what God has for us because we’re afraid of difficulty.  All the details are scary for me, but I have decided that we will do one thing at a time.  If you think of it, pray that God will meet us in every place along the way.

I am currently down for the count with iritis, and TJ’s back is in quite a bit of pain and he’s taking care of our whole family, please pray that these things heal, but also pray that God would be glorified in our weaknesses, and ailments.  Something that I have been doing while not being able to open my eyes for long periods of time is listening to the Bible.  I have been going through “read through scripture in a year” on my phone and I am learning a lot and am reminded about the stories of who God is and how faithful he is despite all the people who rejected him, I am amazed at how he used lowly people to do great things, and it is so clear that it was the Lord, not the people.  People that the Lord used made mistakes.. . big ones!! When David fell to his lustful passions, he fell hard, but he also repented big, he made some big booboos and he experienced the consequences but he never stopped loving the Lord and serving him.  It is a good reminder to keep my heart soft before the Lord and that it is always worth it to serve him. He is such a great God, and I truly am nothing without him.

Easter Fun