There is no possible way to update this blog and catch up on all that has happened since my last post. So I’ll say this: October, November, and December were great months for us. We settled in, we adjusted, we made friends, and all was well. We even got to spend Thanksgiving with my parents, which was an added blessing. Mark and I had a wonderful anniversary trip in Prague, and we were beginning to think about the possibility of buying a house in our area because we felt like it was where we wanted to settle. And if we still weren’t allowed to buy a house, then we wanted to stay in our rental because we were happy there. At the same time, we were gearing up for classes to start at our training centre, and we had a workshop lined up for the month of January in a local church. Life was full, super exciting, and it felt like we were finally settling into a lot of good things.

Then January came, and I had this nagging feeling that change was coming. (If you haven’t followed this blog for a long time, then you may not know that we have been through more change than most couples.) I thought the change was that Mark’s job would be transitioning or that things would take off so quickly with the school that we’d be able to get our own building . . .

I should have known really as that settled feeling is never a good thing to allow in.

So ten days into January and I’m meeting with a colleague as we prepare to co-teach our first class. As we were finishing our meeting, I notice that I have an email regarding our house. I quickly check it and go into shock as the landlord wants to sell the house ASAP. And we have to show it to prospective buyers. All my “plans” for 2017 hit the fan, and very quickly, my picture of life in our little area that we were happy in just fully disintegrated. Rentals in our price range and in a livable condition are super hard to find. We were forced to consider areas that were far out of the area we wanted to be in, and it soon became clear that we couldn’t stay where we were. And then to add insult to injury, everything possible started to go wrong. Things are still going wrong.

In the midst of packing our house, showing it to possible buyers, and also in the beginning months of a brand new Bible training centre, I had a trip planned to a homeschooling conference for missionaries. I so debated about whether to cancel the trip as the timing was so horrible. However, my mom and my teammates convinced me to go, and Mark lovingly assured me he was fine with watching the kids and adjusting to a new house. So after being in our new house for only about 10 days, I left for a 6 day trip to Eastern Europe. I traveled with a new missionary friend who also homeschools, and she was so gracious to put up with my tired, worn out, heartsick self. We hit the ground running and attended workshops, courses, consultations, forums, and whatever else they jammed our week with, and it was total information overload. The hotel was the hottest place I have been in since moving to Scotland, and I didn’t sleep the first three nights. I felt totally exhausted! However, I could see and feel God’s eyes on me.

There were so many God moments at the conference; so many times when I thought “wow, what if I had not come?! What would I have missed out on?” Each morning began with chapel, and the worship was so therapeutic. I had no qualms about crying while singing or simply raising my hands and just being quiet. It was a safe space in a room filled with missionaries (who were probably crying as well). It was a time of just being ourselves before the Lord without cultural inhibitions, without wondering if I’d offend someone if I worshipped in my way, and without any sense that it would be wrong for me to just be who I needed to be. It was home. And there were so many classes and moments during the conference where I was allowed to see other moms and their struggles. So many moments where I was allowed to just see from a different perspective. And a huge moment where I got to sit with a therapist who understood what I meant when I said, “my child does this, this, and this and I think it’s all because of this.” I got to cry out my frustration in parenting while she understood exactly what I was going through. And then lastly, God showed me all the dreams and ideas I had as a 20 something in seminary who simply wanted to help those in ministry. Here I was over 10 years later walking in the very shoes of those I have wanted to help, and I was the one getting the help! That spoke so much to me. It awoke dreams that I thought were long gone…

Fast forward a week and I’ve now been back at our new rental for about 6 days; 6 days filled with things breaking, things not fitting, things being in an absolute mess. I’m behind in my duties at the Bible training centre; I haven’t even looked at our taxes or bills as I can’t even sort out a space to do those things. And yet the things that I learned and saw last week keep coming to me over and over. The reminder that my children are gifts from the Lord; they are my main ministry and priority. The reminder that my family unit and how healthy we are speaks loads to our neighbors regarding the God we serve and the life that we lead. As we live in a society that prioritizes things in such a different way than we do, we get the privilege of just shining our lights. We get the privilege of just loving one another, living for our Lord, and doing life in a way that honours Him. And the best way that I can do that is by putting aside all pretense and just being who I am and doing what God has called me to do. Who cares that my accent is different, that our English-American family lives in a culture that we don’t fully understand, that we homeschool when that is not what the government wants, or that we have days when we’re all just off and can’t sort out how to fit in to any certain way of being. What matters is that we live our lives in worship to the God who has called us. What matters is that I love my husband and my children and that I show them a life that lives genuinely and humbly in service to my God. What matters is that I remember that He is faithful. He who has known me and has seen all of my days is faithful. He is faithful even when I’ve lost the plot, when the toilet is flooding, when I’ve yelled at my son, or have just forgotten why we’re here. He knows, He sees, and He is faithful. So I have sung on the days when I don’t feel like it; I’ve played the worship music on repeat. And I’ve opened my heart to Him even when it hurts, because I have known 39 years of faithfulness. His faithfulness qualifies Him to get to see my hurt as I know that He doesn’t add to the hurt. His faithfulness has proven that He is trustworthy. And I know with certainty that He has not lost the plot. He has not forgotten why He brought us here. He doesn’t lose His purpose for my life. The overwhelming details that feel suffocating to us are not discouraging Him. And so I’ll leave the lyrics to this song as they have ministered to me so much, and I want them embedded on my heart and mind so that I will not forget His faithfulness to me and my family.

“Faithful To The End”

We’re heaven-spun creations
His pride and adoration
Treasures woven by his love

His careful hands they hold us
Safe within His promise
Of calling and of destiny

I will sing of all You’ve done
I’ll remember how far You carried me
From beginning until the end
You are faithful, faithful to the end

A Father’s heart that’s for me
A never ending story
Of love that’s always chasing me

His kindness overwhelming
And hope for me unending
He’s never given up on me

I will sing of all You’ve done
I’ll remember how far You carried me
From beginning until the end
You are faithful, faithful to the end

There wasn’t a day
That You weren’t by my side
There wasn’t a day
That You let me fall
All of my life
Your love has been true
All of my life
I will worship You

by Hannah and Paul McClure (Bethel Music)

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