At the end of May, Liz, Nathan, and I were able to attend the “Living in Grace” conference at the Ridge Haven retreat center in North Carolina. We had a wonderful time in the mountains, being refreshed in the hope of the gospel and meeting some of our fellow Mission to the World missionaries who are also preparing to move overseas. Loading up the family for a 1500 mile road trip is never “easy,” but all in all things went surprisingly well. This was due in large part to the wonderful help of Lydia and Libby, friends of our family who travelled with us to help care for the “little guy.” Nathan seemed to enjoy himself thoroughly—particularly meal-times in the Ridge Haven cafeteria where he was able to waddle around the tables “working the crowd.”
The week was good for Liz and me. It would be an understatement to say that we have been living the past several months at an intense pace. Between trying to work full-time at Grace PCA, support-raise for Ethiopia, remodel and rent out our condo, and parent a very active toddler, life has been incredibly full. Too full. Thankfully May brought some significant “relief’ from the hectic pace. First, we were blessed to find some wonderful renters for our condo, and thanks to the late-night help of a couple friends I was able to wrap-up the condo remodel right before they moved in. Second, starting in May I have gone down to 2/3 time in my staff role at church so that Liz and I will have more flexibility to travel and support-raise. Both of these developments have been a big relief, and have finally given us the space to start realizing what a toll those early months of 2011 took on us as individuals and a family. Our time at “Living in Grace” helped me to realize the ways I have been relying on my own strength in the midst of the busyness rather than the empowerment of the Spirit. As a result, I have been putting more strain on myself and our family than I had realized, and some of the costs have started to show. As hard as it is to admit my self-reliance before God, it was good to talk through these things together in a gospel-centered way, and to have hope in God’s ability to change my heart.
You can be praying that God would continue to lead me in repentance, as we seek to establish a more God-honoring pace and rhythm for our family life. I increasingly become more and more aware of how even in the simple moments of the day, I can commit the idolatry of forsaking God’s fountain of living water as my life and strength, and instead turn to my own broken cistern of “self.” I desperately need the help of the Spirit to make these changes in my life and schedule, and would deeply appreciate your prayers to that end. Our God is faithful, and I know he will continue to grow me in these areas as I learn to trust and rest in Him as my daily portion.