Friday, April 8, 2016

The loss of a dream, and God's gift of joy in Choosing release over bitterness...

About two years ago, Nick and I sat next to each other by his computer, and he told me about a job possibility that he had just heard about in Raleigh, North Carolina.  It perked my interest in the conversation.  A year and a half prior, our church had started a new church plant out there.  It was something that had intrigued us at the time, but we were in the middle of caring for some extended family things, so our plate was full and we didn't consider it.  I had several friends move out with the plant, so I was always vested in knowing how the church was doing.

So, we decide to research this job a little more.  It turns out, an old co-worker of Nick's had switched to this company, and he had written the job requisition for it.  We pray about it, and Nick decides to send an inquiry to his friend about it.  Immediately his friend jumps on it, and Nick gets scheduled for phone interviews that Friday.  Everything started moving fast.  

The Keelers, our "extended" family who adopted our remaining baby embryos and at the time had twin boys that are full biological siblings of our twins, had moved out to Raleigh a year prior.  Nick and I talked and prayed about what the implications of taking a job close to them might be. We decided we needed to out of respect ask them how they would feel about us living close to them, before we went any further in this.  Nick and I felt that if they would not feel comfortable with us making a move like that, then we would stop the process of pursuing North Carolina immediately.  

Thursday evening I wrote out a Facebook message letting Paul and Rachel know what was going on, and asking them how they felt about it.  

That night sleep was sparse for me.  I was anxiously awaiting an answer from Paul and Rachel, and thinking about Nick's scheduled interview the next afternoon, and wondered what was going to happen.  

By 4:30 the next morning, I surrendered to the fact that I would not be getting anymore sleep, and quietly made my way downstairs to read my Bible.  
Curiousity got me, and I checked my phone prior to reading my Bible.  There was no message from Rachel, however there was a message from one of my forever mama friends, Becca, who had moved with out her family to be in Raleigh, and were a part of the church plant.  

The message was a cry of sadness.  She had just found out their dear friends, the couple who helped pastor the Raleigh plant, were being called back to Oregon to pastor Westside AJC, the church we attend, and they were going to be bringing a new pastor out to Raleigh.  

My heart skipped a little quicker... "Lord, is this You, moving in a crazy way?"  I held my breath.  Deciding to not share with my friend what was going on with Nick and I quite yet, I prayed for words to encourage her, and point her back to Jesus, and then when Nick woke up that morning I showed him the message.  It seemed to us like this was from Him.  No better time than to go help at a church plant in the midst of transition.  We got more confirmation when Paul and Rachel gave their blessing for us to move forward.  

By the afternoon, Nick had his phone interview, and the within the next week they had called and scheduled a ticket for him to fly out to North Carolina and have an all day interview out there.  

At this point we were telling friends and family what was going on.  It was heartbreaking to think of leaving them all behind.  On the flip side at church, our leadership had brought up the new pastor that would be headed to Raleigh with his family of six, and we got to meet him and his wife while they were up in Portland for the month of June.

Every Sunday we went and heard about things God was doing in Raleigh, and our hearts were stirred over and over.  It truly felt like a calling from the Lord.  

We also LOVED the idea of being on the east coast.  Nick and I have only ever lived in Oregon other than the first few months of my life, We began to dream of all the little adventures we could do with our family if we moved there.  Excitement began to build.  

Nick flew out for the interview, and I prayed and tried not to be a ball of nerves on the day of the interview.  I wish I could have been that super spiritual wife that fasted over the time he was there.  But it was more a continuous curling up in a fetal position ball crying out in prayer whenever I went before the Lord with it.  

I was at the Rose Gardens with a friend when I got the call from Nick after his interviews.  He had six total, and he thought all went well, with the exception of the last one, he felt he might have tanked it.  Not the peaceful hope I was anticipating to follow the interview.  He headed on a plane back home, with no answer other than he was still being considered and they would get back to us.  

We held our breath for three weeks.  Our emotions wavered and wondered how this was all going to turn out.  Nick had a lot of doubt in his last interview, but still the company would not release him yet.  "Still considering you..." Was the answer we were given during the waiting.  I half jokingly told Nick that if Raleigh doesn't work out, I get a trip to New York City.  (New York being a dream for years... A hope in a corner of my soul to one day explore the city for myself).

I remember Diane Comer coming up to me and saying words: "Sometimes when we are suppose to go, it doesn't always work out."  So I asked friends to pray that if God wanted us there, that satan would not thwart any plans.  

The weekend before the Fourth of July, I went into the prayer room at church, and a couple covered me with His peace and prayers for answers.  The three weeks of waiting had wrecked havoc on me.  My biggest struggle - life long learning lesson is WAITING.  That night Nick and talked.  We debated about maybe we should go even if Nick didn't get the job. Acting in faith... 

The next day the Lord answered. 
 It was a "No."  

I was shocked.  The last month our plans and trajectory of everything we had been hoping for was leading us to Raleigh.  There were so many things around us confirming this to us.  I didn't understand?  I thought we had heard from the Lord telling us to go.  

The next few weeks we kept looking online for any other job possibilities that might pop up in Raleigh.  There was nothing.  Nick didn't feel peace about leaving without a way to provide for his family.  My heart was breaking inside.  I would go to church and feel hard, questioning once more all these doubts that were surfacing.  

Anger and Bitterness to God started to seep in my soul.  "We were suppose to go!!" I would cry out to God.  

After several weeks, I sat in church, and I was at a point of the bitterness turning into something scary.  God spoke to me through the sermon, and laid out two paths in front of me that I could choose to walk in.  One required letting go and surrendering into His arms, the other one kept the bitterness into a seeping continuous drip that would eventually harden my soul. 

I went to the prayer room, once more.  My faithful companion friend Tanya, followed me in, and sat next to me as I laid it all out and silent tears of release streamed down my cheeks as prayers were spoken over me and my broken dream, a healing balm to my heart and mind that could only come from His Spirit.  I let go of all bitterness, and decided to choose to hope in Him once more, even in the midst of this broken dream, I decided to believe that He had purpose in all of this.  

Moving forward, I bought some plants for my yard to resettle into our current home at the time.  And slowly started being reminded of all I had in my life to be grateful for.  

That Friday evening, as I was getting ready for bed and about to turn my phone off for the evening, my curiosity was piqued by a notification of an email that had just come into my box.  So I look at it and my heart begins to stir with a new hope.  
Remember how I told Nick I got a trip to New York if Raleigh didn't work out?  My friend Emily, was planning a trip to New York for October.  And she wanted to know if I could go with her!  I decided to let my sleeping husband continue sleeping that night so he would be well rested when I showed him the email the next morning.  In the meantime I prayed and dreamed my way to sleep anticipating what he would say.  

The next morning, I received a yes answer by my husband. 

The most humbling part and amazing part about all of this, is God's timing.  I didn't get offered this trip while I was dealing with bitterness.  He gave me room to choose to let it go.  In His grace He provided me time to release all the heart break and brokenness from an unfulfilled dream, and then in spite of my struggles in all of it, He gave me a new beautiful dream that had been tucked away in the corner of my heart, and as a beautiful gift, unblemished nor tarnished by any of my former bitterness, I was able to openly receive it with a joy in my heart only from the Lord. 

I wanted to post some pictures as little praises to the Lord who knew my heart so well, intertwined dreams with my friend Emily, gave us each day in New York as a gift to be unwrapped by Him.  I took over 500 pictures so these are just a small glimpse into many of the treasures He overflowed into our lives.  If I could encourage anyone reading this.  I may never fully understand why we didn't go to Raleigh.  But what I have learned is He knows us so much better than we know ourselves, and He does want to pour His love into us.  And He is patient for us and allows us room to work through our grief and then piece by piece He restores and brings about new dreams that are so much better than anything we could have controlled and orchestrated.  

Getting to meet the Statue of Liberty

A view of the Empire State Building standing on top of the Rockefeller building.  

Standing in front of Matt Flamhaff's house in Greenwich Village (think 13 going on 30)

A bike ride through Central Park

My dear friend Emily who played an amazing job as our event coordinator and tour guide on the trip

A picnic lunch in Central Park from Zabar's 

A beautiful sunset view of the New York skyline from the top of the Met.

My first slice of New York Pizza

Taking a pause in Grand Central Station

An amazing meal of fresh pasta from the Eataly

Eating our Razzles we found at a Candy Shop, on the Brooklyn Bridge (again think 13 going on 30)

My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus' Name. 
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.