Why Moving Stinks

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I’ve been in a funk. On the brink of tears for days. Tired. Knot in my chest. Blegh…

It’s the pending move. Boxes gathered by friends and family sit in my shed and I haven’t been able to make myself get started on packing. 

I’m not doubting what God has called us to do. His hand is all over it in ways I will save for a different day. And I’m definitely excited about the opportunity that lies before us to live out the Gospel in High Point. Still, it doesn’t make it easy. That feeling of needing to breathe deeper to feel relief just won’t go away. This sacrifice is NOT an easy one. 

It’s because of what it requires me to leave. And all the little things that make up beautiful memories. 

And it’s them. The ones we have done life with on a daily basis for the last 12 years. 

The ones we lived with in college and “traded” roommates when we got married. 

The one I would hide and jump out to scare as she came in from school. 

The one I had sleepovers with in our apartment just so we could stay up talking. 

The ones we shared wedding days with. 

The ones we’ve shared countless pancake breakfasts and cookouts with. 

The ones that gave us a giant candle of shells as a wedding gift that became a back and forth “hide the candle” game that ended up on our roof, in a grill, and under the ground. 

The ones who we moved next door to when we got married.

The one who defends me to this day regarding the car wreck that was my fault because of that lady doing push-ups on the corner. 

The one who does my hair every time I need to dress up for something.

The ones who model unconditional love. 

The one we text at 10:00 at night when our baby has a fever. 

 The one who wrote me a note on the anniversary of my dad’s death every year. 

The ones who were at the birth of our children and we at theirs. 

The ones who are parents to my little boy’s favorite person in the world. 

The ones who let us live with them for 5 months while our home was rebuilt. 

The ones who listen and who pray. 

The ones who we have hard God conversations with and who arent afraid to challenge us or ask questions. 

The ones who encourage us and love us unconditionally. 

I could go on and on and on. Lauren and Ryan, this blog is for you. You are our family. The memories we have made    the last 12 years have been some of the best of my life. 

Thank you for being the kind of friends that make me feel this kind of sadness about moving. Not that I enjoy the sadness. But God has blessed us with one of the sweetest gifts in life. A sweet and beautiful friendship. Our moving does not and will not ever change how important you are to us. 

You are treasured. 

“Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?”  C.S. Lewis

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Ben’s Road

Ben 

I remember our last family vacation the summer before my dad died.

Our family traveled to Maui and I am forever thankful for some of the beautiful memories that were made there. One memory made was our exploration of the well known Road to Hana, a 55 mile stretch of road that exudes the breathtaking beauty of God’s creation. We had to take 2 cars for our family of 6. Ben, the youngest of my siblings, was riding in the jeep with one of my other siblings, Dad, and I. If you know my brother, or you have ever known him, you would agree that he knows how to talk. During our ride, Ben’s God-given enthusiasm for life was pouring out of him by way of words. I remember Dad setting a rule in place, “Ben, you can say one sentence per mile that we drive”. The poor kid had gotten in trouble for, as he would say at that time, “denominating” the conversation. Every mile, Dad would give Ben the opportunity to share another sentence of his story, yet Ben’s 8 year old mind couldn’t wrap his brain around picking up where the story had last left off without a recap, so he was never able to get past the first few sentences. We laughed that day about it, and we still do today.

Ben was my dad’s only son, and a perfect little mini-me of him. An outspoken, adventurous, full of life little kid that brought so much joy to our family. The day my dad died, it changed everything for all of us, especially for him. Ben struggled to process the pain of losing Dad. He struggled with a deep rooted anger that infected him to his core. Though incredibly intelligent, he crawled his way all through school, eventually turning toward drugs as a coping mechanism. It was as if we were slowly watching him die and didn’t know how to help. Believe me, this wasn’t for lack of effort on anyone’s part. My mother, family and friends poured into this hurting heart, but our sincerest efforts were not what could rescue him.

 By the time Ben graduated high school, he had slipped into a downward spiral. Depression was deep. No matter how much good was in his life, a dark cloud fogged his ability to see clearly. He struggled to see any good in the world or in people. He sat at times with my dad’s handgun in his lap contemplating the unthinkable.

A series of events led Ben to pursue a fresh start at Teen Challenge, a discipleship based program for men struggling with alcohol and drug abuse. By the absolute grace and goodness of God, my brother has been CHANGED. For the first time since my Dad’s death, I have seen him whole again. But is he broken? Yes. Are all his problems gone? No. What has changed in him lies in his submission. All the weight, all the years of anger and pain- He has laid them at the feet of our Father. Ben’s wholeness lies in the work of Christ in his life.

This morning I visited a church where Teen Challenge was visiting. My brother had the opportunity to share his story-his story of pain, but more his story of hope. As I sat there this morning, I was absolutely moved to tears as I watched my brother spend more time glorifying the goodness of God than dwelling on the pain of his life experiences. He spoke Truth over those people. His goal was not for them to hear his sufferings, it was to edify the church and to Glorify God. His heart was to see people in that building changed the way he had been changed. At the end of the service, I watched my brother walk over to a broken family friend, hug her, and start praying over her. Then my mom walked over. Then her friend. They all wept as he prayed. I wept as I watched from afar. God’s work in Him is influencing others. It’s encouraging them. Inspiring them. Reminding them of how He makes all things new.

My gratitude today is deep. He has turned ashes to beauty.

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