I have no idea where the month of February is flying off to as it seems like the days are moving far more quickly than normal. And I’m trying to not let that scare me as we have so much going on and so much to do right now!! So this will be a bit of a news update as well as a processing post; please bear with me.
As many of you know, our application to allow for the Bible school to sponsor international workers was approved in shockingly record time. And that has had us hustling as we’ve got a lot to do to now get our team through the rest of immigration. On top of that, we’re still meeting pastors, visiting churches, and planting ourselves within the Christian community of Edinburgh. We’re also 6 months out from opening our doors for the new school year and we do not have a location!! Ugh. Not because of lack of effort, but for many other reasons, this has been difficult. The logistics of starting a Bible college in a foreign country is an experience by itself. And that does not include the mental, emotional, financial, and every other kind of -al ending words of moving your family and a team of people to that foreign country. It’s been a trip . . . literally.
And praise the Lord, He has brought me so far from being the stressed out person that I was 5 years ago to this person who now handles things pretty well for the most part. Except for this week . . . in which I’ve just felt overwhelmed, overly buried in my to do list, tired of thinking through so many issues that keep coming up, under the weather, and really missing community and the comforts of home. I just need to sit down while my family’s clothes are tumbling in a dryer (rather than hanging out on a radiator), eat a big, authentically Colorado-Mexican meal, and sleep in our old, super comfortable pillow-top King bed. That could be followed by coffee with friends and an evening at my parents’ to catch up with family and my dog. That would be cool. That would be a nice reprieve from all the adjusting we’ve done over this past year. I could use a break from sausage rolls, savoury pies, instant coffee, and cold, wet weather. But that’s not reality.
What is reality is that my Father God offers us instantaneous moments of time in His presence where we get to lie down in green pastures, walk beside the still water, fellowship with Him, and allow His peace to take over. I can place all my questions, all my concerns, all my “what about this and this and that” items right at His feet and rest while He takes care of those things. That’s reality. Yet how often do I forget that I have that option? And so that’s where it’s at.
Resting is so important in the Christian life. I’ve been in and through the city of Edinburgh enough now to really get a sense of how it feels. Not to sound weird, but to be really honest, parts of this city are mega-sketchy feeling. On dark, cloudy, wet days, it can feel very gloomy as is, but when you step into a spiritually dark area, you almost immediately feel it get gloomier. The atmosphere is off, and when you’re in a good area, it feels very calm and peace-filled. It’s been such a weird thing for me as I can’t honestly say that I felt that at home in Colorado. Yet here, it’s made me more aware of why we are in this place. It’s made me much more sensitive to my surroundings and to how my internal atmosphere is doing. To be able to sense the spiritual atmosphere of a place has made me more aware of when I’m feeling chaotic or out of sorts in myself, and I don’t like it at all. I’m realizing more and more how much I need His presence; I need to rest in Him. I need to stay peace-filled. I can’t afford to be so busy (and busy doing good works) that I get into my own worries, own stress, and leave His peace-filled place. Living and acting out of emotional chaos is junky feeling and not at all where I want to be.
So in many ways, I’m feeling like our first 5 months here have been heavy in learning. We’ve learned a lot the hard way. We’ve had to persevere through much, and it hasn’t been easy. But the value of what we’re learning has been so good. To really grow in listening for God’s heart and His voice, to see financial doors be shut and to know that we’re completely dependent on Him, and to just clearly see how much we want and need to mature and grow in Him have all been such good things. Even on the hard days when I’ve blown it big time in parenting or in stressing, I can feel Him drawing closer as I look to Him. I can sense Him reminding me to just get back into His presence, and I can’t tell you how much that means to me. I’m so thankful for how God allows us to grow.
And I’m massively tired, and I know this is not turning out at all how I intended. So I’ll just end with this – we have so much to do over the next few months, and we have seen some areas in our family that have been neglected over the past year. Our family life has been neglected in the midst of all our transition and all of our doing. So we considered that if we are going to take a vacation at all in this next year, then we need to do it now before the team gets here and before our dog arrives. We had money saved from when we sold our house in Colorado, and it seemed silly to know that we need some family time and to not take it. So in 10 days, we head to the island of Malta to show our kids a real beach vacation as they have asked for one for so long. We intend to allow Ezra to play as many games with us as his heart desires. We plan to let Ryder build his sand castle. We plan to let Eden play at as many playgrounds as she can while it’s warm. And we plan to have some Mark and Micah relaxation time while the kids are in bed and we’re not having to work. I think we’re way past due to do this, and we’re so excited to see the sun, to be warm, and to eat different food!! We’re going to take a break from potatoes for a while! 😉 We’re going to refuel, recharge, pump up our faith, and get ready for the season that’s approaching. And I think we’re still kind of in awe that we get to do this, so it’s felt (again) like our Father God is holding out this gift and saying “yes, please take it!! I want you to go and enjoy your kids! Go enjoy your marriage! Go enjoy the beautiful island I made!!” And I’m still looking at him like “really, Lord? We can do this? We get to do this?!” I clearly still have some areas to grow in when it comes to receiving and enjoying His favour; I think that might be my next season of growth. 🙂
So if you think of us, please pray that our time away would be so fruitful. And agree with us that we will all be healthy!!! That’s a big one. Please pray that I can get some big things checked off my to do list before we leave. Please pray and agree for us to have favor and to find the right location for our school. Please just keep us in your prayers as we value them so completely. We love you all and are thankful for each one that prays for us, supports us, and thinks of us. Many, many blessings back to each of you. And pray for Scotland! Always keep Scotland in your prayers as God’s heart is so big for this people and this place. It pleases Him to know that others from around the world are praying for harvest. Whether you realize it or not, Scotland’s harvest is related to your country’s harvest; when this nation flourishes spiritually, so many other nations will flourish. God is a God of the nations and His heart is large enough for us all.
**Attaching a photo of Eden and Ryder at the beach in Edinburgh; it was absolutely freezing and they were so happy to see the ocean. They begged us to stay and build a sand castle, but they’ve had continually runny noses so it was a no.