Sunday, July 05, 2015

Next chapter

It would be easy to say our journey to Thailand began in March but I think that would be a simplistic and missing a whole lot of the story. 

Here's the real story... 

When I was a teenager I lived in Germany as an army brat and it changed my life. Like CHANGED ME and who I was on a very deep level for the better. 

Fast forward a few years. 

When Russ and I were dating I shared so much of what I learned while living abroad with Russ that he and I began to pray throughout our years together that one day our family could live overseas so that our kids could have that kind of amazing growth experience. Our prayer was actually very specific. We prayed that we would be able to move overseas while we could still have all our kids living at home with us and that they would all be old enough to appreciate the journey and travel well. 

Fast forward a lot of years. 

We had hoped to be sent overseas for years and it looked like it might happen over and over but it never did. So we decided that God clearly intended to keep us where we were and built a beautiful home we loved and let go of that wish to move. 

We settled into a community we loved and a church we adored and became involved with ministry we were passionate about and were happy homeschooling at a co op full of some very special friends. The kids were in leadership at church and Zoe had a catering job she was crazy about. Russ was only weeks away from being at the gorgeous new work campus we had moved across town a year and a half before to be near. We had all found precious friendships and we were finally able to begin visiting Guatemala with Zoe and investing in people we love there as well. Our church started an adoption ministry and wanted me to help lead it. We had our restaurants, our grocery stores, our routines, our date nights. 

Every single thing in our life was lining up beautifully. It was the picture... The dream. It hadn't been this easy since we'd had children. God blessed our time in The Woodlands in ways I could never explain in just a blog post. In our time there we experienced significant healing and became stronger as a family. 

So naturally that's when God decided to answer our slightly forgotten prayer. :-) 

I'm not sure if you know why this blog is named "The Voice of Adventure" but here goes. When Russ and I were first married my mom shared a devotional with me one day saying she felt like she should pass it along. This devotional hit so deeply that I immediately called Russ to share it. He too was deeply moved and we both agreed that we wanted this to be our "life devotional." 

Here is that devotional.. 

The Voice of Adventure 

There is a rawness and a wonder to life. Pursue it. Hunt for it. Sell out to get it.

Jesus says the options are clear. On one side there is the voice of safety. You can build a fire in the hearth, stay inside, and stay warm and dry and safe.

Or you can hear the voice of adventure—God’s adventure.

Instead of building a fire in your hearth, build a fire in your heart. Follow God’s impulses. Adopt the child. Move overseas. Teach the class. Change careers. Run for office. Make a difference.

Don’t listen to the whines of those who have settled for a second-rate life and want you to do the same so they won’t feel guilty. Your goal is not to live long; it’s to live.

Sure it isn’t safe, but what is? (Max Lucado)

Luke 17:33 Whoever seeks to save his life loses it, but whoever loses his life preserves it.

So this became a kind of mantra for us and we did, in fact, adopt a child... several times. We taught a class more than once. Russ changed careers with my enthusiastic encouragment after attending MBA school. We hope we have made a difference. 

This devotional was such a huge part of my life that I even named my blog "The Voice of Adventure." 

Fast forward to Jan 2015.. 

Every year for many years now I've prayed and asked God for a focus for the new year. This year I kept hearing something that confused me... a lot. I kept hearing.. 

The Voice of Adventure- NEXT CHAPTER

I was puzzled.. and a bit distressed by this. I explained very nicely to God, "God that's our life devotional. Not my word for the year." You know.. In case He was confused. ;) I even told several of my close friends about my distress over getting this particular word for the year. 

Cause I know from experience those words MEAN something and I wasn't sure I liked what this meant. There were only two things on that list we hadn't done.. 

Run for office and move overseas. 

Oh dear. I got pretty nervous. Started explaining it to myself as maybe meaning that we were helping Zoe start HER adventure and journey and that's what it meant. And after all, we had become very involved in Village of Hope in Guatemala and intended to go more and more often. SO that counted right? Eh hem. Good try Angel. Sheesh. I'm not USUALLY one for denial. 

But our life was full of ministry and love and deep connections and new opportunities to serve. How could God be having us leave NOW? It couldn't be. 

So when we found out we were moving overseas we were simultaneously STUNNED and not at all surprised even a little bit.  

Zoe is 16. This is absolutely the last opportunity we would have to live overseas and have her able to be with us. The littles are just now getting to the age where travel is becoming easier and they appreciate the journey. 

It is "The Voice of Adventure- NEXT CHAPTER." 

BANGKOK, THAILAND... I'm gonna say it. I threw a bit of a temper tantrum! I was a little bit like, "WAIT!!! Hold up!! I changed my MIND! It's too hard. Everything is perfect. I. TAKE. IT. BACK. We've grown enough. I don't want anything to change. Everything is comfortable and wonderful and look at the amazing things we are involved in right here! How can we just LEAVE?"

But in my heart I knew it was time to go and that this was our answer to prayer. 

Yes.. That first day a lot of words came out of my mouth that I probably shouldn't publish. I paced through my yard and home for MILES that day trying to wrap my mind around leaving our perfect world to live in a place I'd never even seen. 

I worried about my children who have all already faced so many battles in their lives and wondered about the load for my precious husband. To ask them to leave so much and take on so much.. could we be ok? I paced and I prayed and I cussed and I cried. (Look.. I'm not saying I recommend cussing while you pray. I am just getting real about how this went down.) It took a few hours of the praying and the pacing but..

I opened my hands and let go of what I expected my life to be and then I began to feel the joy in the adventure.

So I am grateful I didn't get my way. I'm blessed that I was pushed out of my comfort zone. I'm thankful that we are in our next chapter and I'm excited to take you along for the ride. 

Love, Angel 

1 comment:

Polkadot, Olka, Koka, Kokakola, Momma, Doll Face, Dorth Vader, Tink said...

Angel Face, this is so beautiful! I have savored every word! I love the pix! Thank you for taking the time to share your heart....I, here loving you....that love doesn't feel the distance's like you are right here...then I see that you aren't here ...and my heart is STRETCH all the way to Thailand...indeed we are all on this Voice of Adventure "Next Chapter" together Mia Momma