November 26, 2013

Prepared in Advance.

We are 4 months in on our transition from Southern life to Mid-western life. It's a roller coaster of joys, struggles, and celebrating both new & old relationships while missing recently close friends. I'm really excited that we are in the holiday season because I think it'll bring a bit of normalcy. After all Christmas is the one time of year we've always been up North. Even the year our apartment had a Christmas shelf instead instead of a tree because we moved on like the 27th:)

So for myself (and maybe for you if you're in or simply want to be in transition), I'm going to share how's God been working in it all. He's been planning and preparing this move for us for awhile. It's like Ephesians 2:8-11 came to life for us. The verse says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God_ not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Rewind 10 years ago and I was a {poor} college student traveling home by train from St. Paul, MN to Chicago suburbs. While trying to stay awake on the train after a busy week of finals and a long day of travel, I'm looking out my window at all the train stops. Some stops are kind of rough places, while others seem fine. Then I see the most beautiful scene and it takes my breathe away. Snow is gently falling, the dark blue night sky is lit up as trees shine brightly with golden Christmas lights, and the downtown is storybook cute. "Arlington Heights" is called out for train passengers and I think, "If only I could live somewhere as lovely as here."

Rewind 6 years ago and God placed me in a Southern community to learn about love, justice, the steadiness of relationships, the power of reconciliation, the courage of community. He gave me homes, friends, churches, a platform to empower children, and 1 man and 1 baby to call my own.

Rewind 3 years ago and we got lost at the end of a long travel from AR to McHenry. Somehow we end up on McHenry Road in Buffalo Grove. Nate and I have a conversation about how great the area seems, so perfect really, and we wonder how in the world people afford to live here. We are curious about this "looks good on the outside" community. We might even think how in the world does a {not wealthy} ministry family survive here, how in the world could we/would we ever live here.

Rewind 2 years ago and 1 year ago and we are praying, waiting, seeking, sometimes interviewing,  waiting more, whining (me) about the when, what, and where God has a plan for us elsewhere. He doesn't. The plan is to stay, persevere, love, commit, trust, be, submit, grow, put muscle to faith. And to think what we would have missed (and what we sometimes did miss) if we had rushed this season.

Then after all the wait we find where God chooses us. He chooses the impossible, the last location we would have looked. The last location we could ever afford. The perfect place He has desired us to be.  Living on the edge of Arlington Heights and Buffalo Grove.

It was like this gift all wrapped up for us, hidden in the tree. We didn't even know it was there. Isn't that like Him? He is so full of mystery and goodness. Why oh why do we doubt what He can do?

And so now as we make this place our home and these people our community we have days of doubt. Days of real struggle as we face the beauty and the brokenness of this community. Days where we still can't figure out how to afford this place. And our help must come from the Lord. And oh it does, it does, it does. Days where we can't figure out how to relate in a culture that sometimes seem so foreign. Days where we lose our way again and forget He is always with us. So for you and for me, may this be a reminder of His wonder and His grace.

{Jesus, thank you for your saving grace. May your name be lifted higher.}

Pin It


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I had a cup of tea while reading this testimony and wish I could have heard this face to face over cups of tea. Well, I guess I will settle for hearing this amazing story Facebook to Facebook. You are beautiful inside and out! <3

    1. Whoops, sorry I got behind on returning comments! Thanks for being a faithful reader here & I'm so glad you enjoyed hearing the journey:) The thing is I could never process/share this story the same way I can through thankful God gives us all different ways to express our thoughts & faith. And never forget, you are altogether lovely too!