Two weeks ago, Karl ended just over a year at the factory. The job has been such a blessing to us over the last year, but so difficult as well. We are thankful that God provided it, but also thankful that the time there has drawn to a close. He also ended his 3 months as an interim pastor for Cornerstone Church a couple of weeks ago. Another door that was such a gift from God has closed. Having Karl around more has been such a blessing for all of us. The kids are the biggest Daddy fans I've ever seen lately. Now, they've always been like this to some degree, but since he's been home more, it's even more apparent. Even Selah, who I could count on to be a mommy's girl, pushed me away last night so that Daddy could tuck her in (yes, it hurt a little, but it was too precious to take personally).
So, what is the metaphoric Spring that is knocking? Well, there's a whole conglomeration of things including Karl's work schedule, a new church plant (more to come on that later), and renewed passion and vision, but the biggest thing right now for me personally is Awake and Alive, that dream to be involved with the people of Africa for so many years that is now becoming a reality. Last week alone the Shrocks and I drove to Michigan City to meet an amazing Ethiopian man from Chicago named Talargi and heard about his vision for helping Ethiopian children in Addis Ababa and their moms who are widowed. It was so inspiring. And then, the next day we had Eyob and Melat and their beautiful boys over for dinner for the first time...and that was wonderful, too. Karl said afterwards, "It's pretty incredible how much it felt as if that wasn't the first time we'd met." It was so fun and natural and good.
I think there's this false perception out there that if you find yourself if a bad, or even uncomfortable place--in a bad spot financially, not feeling intimately connected in your marriage (or not married at all), indulging in unhealthy habits, not feeling connected to God, confused, depressed, you get the point--then you can't move forward. Some of the thoughts that assault our minds are how can we do our part to save the world if we're so broken? Or need help ourselves? Can I really make a difference when I'm so messed up? So, too many of us do nothing...and keep wishing life were different. I don't buy it. At all. I think it's a lie that keeps us inactive and self-absorbed. If we all waited to have our act together before we stepped outside ourselves, there would be far less world-changers out there. Those, in fact, are some of the thoughts behind Awake and Alive's tag "Beyond Wishing."
So, here we are taking some steps of faith. And God sure seems to be walking beside us, encouraging us that He is guiding and leading. He's saying, I think, that these are His things and we don't have to freak about how everything's going to come together (the freak out part is more me than Karl :) ). He's allowing us to recognize that this year was a hard year, but not a fruitless year. It had to come in order for us to become more like Christ and, therefore, more able for Christ to use. I'm thankful for all these lessons and for how they have changed me. But, man! Am I EVER excited for Spring!!!!!