Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil. -James 4:13-16
Clearly not much has been happening here on the blog. But do not be deceived - much has been happening with our family. Once again we have been reminded that following God's plans for our lives and walking in the path He has laid out before us is never a dull or boring process!
In September, we decided to pursue more fully the opportunity placed before us to move to Zambia and work with a great organization called Wiphan. It was a huge decision for us and not one that we took lightly or made easily. However, as we did pursue the opportunity more fully, it became increasingly clear to us that this was not the path God was calling us to walk right now. There were many things factored into the decision. And just as the decision to fully pursue it was difficult - the decision to let the opportunity pass by was difficult as well. The reason for that being that we LOVE Africa. And we LOVE orphans and widows. And we LOVE our God and we wanted to be careful and confident that we were not telling Him no. But as we gained peace and clarity that this was not the case, we became more and more confident that the time just was not right for our family of 6. It also became clear to us that, even though it wasn't to Zambia, God was asking us to move. As we began trying to discern what that meant for us, a strange but beautiful thing happened. God laid a city on both of our hearts - separately - but at nearly the same time. As we talked and shared what we were feeling, we discovered that God had given both of us a strong desire to move to Nashville. Now, to those of you who know that this is my home town and where my family is, you may be tempted to think that this was less a God thing and more of a "I just wanna go home" thing. But let me tell you - we are fully convinced that God placed this desire in both of our hearts. First let me say that I have a wonderful relationship with ALL of my family. I have amazing parents, the best brother and sister, the cutest niece and nephews, and the craziest and best extended family you could imagine. YET, I have NEVER wanted to move home. I can't really explain it. I think it has something to do with my fierce independence and also involves my tendency to move on from a place and not look back. I'm not a nostalgic person. At all. Aaaand it could have to do with my control issues - who knows? But Nashville has just never been on our radar. Yet we both felt fully confident that God was saying, "Nashville."
A lot of people read this verse and think, "Oh, if I just delight in the Lord he will give me what I want. I can have all the desires of my heart!". But over time we have learned that truly delighting in the Lord means that His desires will replace our own. If we ever truly and perfectly delighted in Lord (which we are FAR from doing) we would no longer have our own desires, but would only desire what He wants us to desire.
So... as long as it's "what the Lord wants us to", it looks like we're moving to Nashville. We've never before decided what city we were moving to before we knew what we would be doing in that city. It probably seems kind of crazy. But hey, have you met us?
Are we sad to leave the many wonderful friends we've made in Tuscaloosa? Absolutely.
Does it make sense to us that we moved into our current neighborhood only one year ago because we felt God leading us here and now He seems to be leading us away? No.
Do we think seeking to follow Christ in America will be easier than seeking to follow Christ in Africa? No, not really. I honestly think that in many ways moving to Nashville will prove to be more challenging than moving to Zambia.
Will it be painful to leave the beautiful house that Duane painstakingly built with his own 2 hands while I was holed up in a small apartment with 4 kids after only being able to enjoy the fruits of his labor and my sacrifice for exactly one year? Uh, YEAH. But we see it as a great reminder that God has asked us never to build anything or store up any treasure that we wouldn't gladly walk away from if He asked us to. In fact, we already have a contract on our house - which is nothing short of a miracle. And the people buying it are anxious to move into the neighborhood for many of the same reasons that we did. Win, win. God's been so faithful to provide many examples of evidence and confirmation that we've heard Him clearly and are on the right path.
So, that's what's been happening around here! And all I have left to say is that I sure hope Nashville is ready for this crazy crew.