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April~grace and seeing

The official signing...the house is SOLD!!

Sell Everything… Well, here we are at the end of two huge weeks…I can barely believe that God accomplished all He did in the past few days.

4 weeks ago, our home sold…so the house packing ensued…sorting, packing, selling…It seemed like a mountain. Last Thursday, we put everything that we didn’t pack into our 20 bags all over the floor, counters, tables…priced it all…and sold most of our earthly belongings. 

A strong rebuke came from the Lord…we have too much.  I was grieved that very possibly we could have used our resources differently over the past few years.  It has always been a tension, living in this world…desiring material things…and yet ready to go.  I want to say…I do not believe everyone is called to do what we’ve been asked to do. But I know what the Lord has called us to.  The two weeks leading up to our sale were HARD, exhausting, tedious…I felt pulled in a million directions…I didn’t feel like I was doing anything very well…I was trying to pack, take care of the kids, get passports, immunizations, dentist appts, eye appointments…and sending Riah and Dave up to Seattle every afternoon for 7 hours for her 3 weeks of intensive therapy!! It was one of the hardest works I have had to do…so much work was being done in me…in the physical and spiritual…so much release and change for our whole family.  It is the first of many in a new step of faith in our journey with a new calling…It makes my head spin just writing all of it…but somehow…Jesus sustained…He encouraged…He brought His grace around me in friends…fellow believers. Our families came around and loved and cared for the kids so they didn’t have to watch our household empty.

Thursday–Dave left early with the faithful 5 to go to their last day of CC…then Dave would take Riah to therapy in Seattle…then the other 4 would go to my amazing Mom-in-Law’s (with an added unexpected over night!) I walked into my home, not my home anymore–with too much everywhere I looked…unsure if we’d even make enough on the sale to buy our furniture in Addis…I walked to the computer to check for a message.  Our sending agency had emailed a new gift from a family friend from my childhood.  His gift was matched by his company.  It was twice as much as we had estimated we’d need.  That is MY GOD.  He is STRONGER…more Extravagant. He promised…He is faithful…He is our PROVIDER.  Every step of this journey He has poured out…I’m not sure why He’s chosen that for us–we know that is not the road for many in ministry.  Why so much grace for us?  I am humbled and so so grateful. My faithful friends and I worked all day to display, price, laugh and share…God was doing some special work in all of us. Thursday evening, many of our church family came to ‘shop’…so many hugged me and asked how I was doing…God gave me such joy in this obedience that I was able to say the ‘selling is joyful!’  I loved saying those words…seeing our earthly things leave and feeling the deep obedience in my heart.  But there was still the rebuke–gentle–not in condemnation. There was confession…many sweet ‘things‘ and the memories attached had to be released.  The amazing thing was that God gave me eyes to see…I could see that He was working in all the details…some items were for people who were hurting, some for ministry that God was calling their families to…it was amazing to watch how God was connecting the pieces of a much bigger picture…nothing was lost…nothing was wasted. Friday, I could barely be in my home…stuff and price tags everywhere…the work seemed endless…I called my precious sister crying and told her I couldn’t do it alone…she came to my rescue, walked, ate ice cream, prayed and worked with me. Saturday I woke with JOY…that had not happened in many days. I asked the Lord in my quiet–what He wanted me to know that day…the day that all the rest went.  He spoke clearly that He loved me deeply and that He was pleased.  Have you ever stopped to ask Jesus what He loves about you…what He is proud of…or pleased with in your life and heart?  It felt absolutely like the best thing on this earth.  He is pleased with His children…I think the enemy often works to make us think He only convicts, we only sin.   But when we say “YES, Lord”, He is pleased. Dave walked in our room shortly after and said, “Jewels, today we are supposed to love the people that come…not worry about our stuff.”  Yes. We had both heard…we set our faces. And we sold stuff and we shared about Jesus.  It was not as crazy or busy as we expected…I talked with friends, neighbors…I got a sunburn ( APRIL!!)

AND God brought in more than enough. Again. Our sweet faces of grace came again and sold cookies, scones and yummies…they have been SO faithful…and such a sweet surprise in this season!! Here they are!! 

We gave the rest away at the end of the day. Some went to ministries for Young Life…some went to help single moms…some went to our church…some to our military community.  At the end of the day, we loaded the back of 4 cars…and we didn’t look–it all just drove away.  Dave was SO happy!  It was so freeing…and yet we still have so much.  But it is getting more simple and more focused…so I rejoice.

The kids came home later that night to an empty house and friends…they were SO happy to be with us…Ella said, “Home is where we love.” Don’t you love that she said that?!  Maybe the stuff, the house…isn’t as important as I’ve made it.   It was such comfort for this momma’s heart.  God keeps us together..He always provides a place and wherever it is, we can love and be home. The next week was of course crazy.  If you’ve ever moved yourself you understand…there are endless drawers…endless cupboards…more cleaning supplies than I could ever imagine stuffed under sinks…so much…But we moved slowly through the week over to Dave’s parents’ house…then officially moved in on Friday night! We DID IT!! Mission ACCOMPLISHED~~at least this mission.

Timely…as I’m flying and typing, taking time to process and write it all down… I’ve been watching Mission Impossible on my way to North Carolina. Quote of my life, “It’s not like any mission is going to be rougher than that one….is it?!?”

GRACE GRACE GRACE Thursday, we had friends with us all day…we didn’t plan or organize that, but God did…Many friends throughout the day said they’d come back at the end of the day…they helped load and remove what was leftover!  We couldn’t have done it without them.

Thursday night a woman broke down in my room…so much pain. God worked and provided for her. I loved seeing.

Another family came in, so thrilled to be buying so much to fill a new HUGE home that God called them to buy! They are in their 60’s…embarking on a new season of ministering to missionaries by making a home of rest!! Isn’t that awesome!! Praising Him for these faithful servants.

Many shared testimonies of how God was changing and moving in their lives and hearts…I love hearing.

Sue took Riah up to Seattle 3 days this past week to help us!!  She made us a meal…she LOVES us and SERVES.

Kelsey and Mark, Rebecca and Scott took my kids so many hours…loved them when they were hurting and gave them blessings in a week that had a lot of letting go.

Kelsey KNEW me and served and loved me. As she always does. Our precious neighbors had us over for an amazing dinner…This is the hardest release of my sweet home in Dupont.  I will forever thank HIM for planting me in a place next to one of the most radiant believers I’ve ever known.

I took Ella, Caleb, Maija and Evie to the dentist…yes, all at once.  They were AMAZING.  After watching the others carefully, Evie hopped up on the chair, grabbed my hand, leaned back, said, “I’m ready!” and opened her mouth for the next 20 minutes!! (This IS the child we have to sit on and restrain just to brush her teeth at home!! So the dentist told her she shouldn’t do that anymore to Mommy…and you know what, she hasn’t :)) All of the workers in that office commented to me what sweet kids they were and how awesome they did! They were a LIGHT in the midst of a very tough week…I was so thankful!

A new eye doctor…as he did the exam after a very crazy morning of kids’ appointments, I shared about our calling…he asked question after question.  He was a Chinese Brother! He was encouraged…I walked out to pay, the receptionist starting asking me what we were doing…so I shared with her…she was quiet and said, “I’ve NEVER seen this before…”  She showed me the paper…it said,  “100% Doctor courtesy.”  Abundant and beautiful grace.  I am so thankful I am SEEING it.

Two days after I moved into my AMAZING In-law’s basement, with our 5 kids, and our 20 bags…Heart aching to leave my super resilient, but confused children, I packed a refreshingly small carry-on and hopped on a plane to North Carolina…to meet my future neighbor in Soddo…I love her deeply…she is kindred and will be moving within a couple months of when we do. Her husband is a surgeon in the Army also…we have lived strangely similar lives…and have a strangely similar calling…and heart.  We both have 5 kids!! We are both committed to figuring this whole thing out together in Africa!! We both use a classical curriculum called Classical Conversations…so here I fly to a CC conference in HOT North Carolina, where Karisa lives..We get to meet officially for the first time, share, learn, pray, plan and go to this conference together.  Aren’t we SO blessed?  She and I will be starting our own little ‘community’ of 10–maybe more, little learners in Soddo, Ethiopia come January!!! I can hardly imagine…it is beyond my wildest dreams.  Doing life, discipleship, ministry together in community while in Africa!!! I can hardly believe that God has placed all of this before me.

What lies ahead of our family…I’m not completely sure, but HE has made our path straight.  He is worthy of our lives…and I’m learning to know and love HIM more deeply…to TRUST in Him for the days ahead and to have JOY in Him.


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