Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hawai'i and Me

Last week while in Michigan, we were excited to share our involvement with Antioch School Hawai'i with our church in Allen Park, Bethesda Baptist Church. Chris was able to provide a lot of details about the school and our part in it, and I shared a personal testimony of how God has been leading me and our family regarding Hawai'i. So, this is what I said, much of which I have written before in the few times I've blogged over the past year. I guess I just keep coming back to it because it's the core of what God has been doing in my life lately:

Jeremiah 29 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."

As Chris will tell you, God began planting seeds of a vision for ministry in Hawaii in his mind and heart before we even met. And when he and I fell in love, well, sure, I would serve Jesus in Hawaii if that was what marrying him meant! But over the next 9 years as we moved around the Midwest and he went to graduate school, future plans were very unclear; and before I knew it, as far as I was concerned, life after Chris finished school involved him teaching theology at a seminary or college, and the closer to family the better. I was trying to live in the moment, enjoying our sweet boys and those early years of their lives, but ultimately, Chris' graduation symbolized a finish line of sorts; and we would cross it to move on to a more secure and stable life, with a house and a yard. And the closer to family the better.

But then we reached that "finish line," and what was on the other side of it was not what I expected. We were pretty discouraged last summer after some extensive job interviews left us emotionally exhausted when they unexpectedly came to dead ends. For the first time in my life, I had serious questions about God's role in our lives. I wondered if we had made a mistake somewhere along the way, or if we were simply another family affected by the poor economy and weak job market. Was this what God had in mind for us? God really used this time in both Chris' and my life to encourage us and bolster our faith in the Gospel. When we had doubts and fears, I remember asking these questions out loud and to Chris; and every time, we would remember the truths of Scripture: God has a plan for us. Each of the hairs of our head are numbered, and he knows what each day holds before it comes. He is not letting the cards fall where they may, but he is 100% for us! And no matter what jobs fall through, or any other problem we face, our biggest problem has already been solved, through Jesus, on the cross.

I believe now that God was using all of the uncertainty and disappointment of the last year to change me, preparing me for this opportunity to serve in Hawaii. He has revealed hidden idols in my heart - things that I counted so important that my happiness depended on them. He is showing me that only Jesus should hold that place. Everything else that I hold on to so tightly - even good things, blessings from God, like family and living nearby - will leave me disappointed.

One by one, God met each of our needs, big and small. But if I am honest with you, when he told me about his email exchange with a pastor in Hawai'i who was starting a church-based seminary, I MAYBE rolled my eyes a bit and held my breath, because I knew the man I was married to, and I was getting pretty comfortable in suburban Chicago now that Chris had a good full-time job and I had my minivan and grandparents a half-day's drive away.

As God started laying out the pieces for this new ministry in Hawaii, he also began working in my heart, patiently changing my desires and giving me a shared passion with Chris for this needy area of the US. After many years of transition and being at churches for only a few years at a time, we are so excited for the plans God has for our family in Hawai'i. I am thankful for this opportunity for Chris to use the training and gifts God has given him, and I am confident in God's plan for Chris & me, and Luke, Simon & Elliot.

If I could ask you to pray for us as we prepare for our Hawaiian adventure, I would ask you to remember 3 things:

1) Pray for us as a family. Growing up in church, I don't remember too many missionaries mentioning the stresses and challenges of ministry and the circumstances it entails. Let's just say, it's not always a healthy enhancement to your marriage! Chris and I don't have a perfect marriage, and our kids do not have perfect parents, and we do not have perfect children! Ask God to give us unity of spirit and a home that daily remembers the gospel.

2) Pray for us as we make the practical arrangements necessary for moving a family of five to Hawaii. It's not as simple as loading up the truck and hitting the highway, and we need wisdom for many details.

3) Finally, pray for the adjustment period after we move to Hawaii - both for us and for our families here in Michigan and Wisconsin. We are thankful for new friendships that we are already forming in Hawaii. But of course, there will be a time of adjustment, especially for the boys and me, as we get used to a new life in a new place, far from our family and friends.


Chastity Gomez said...

Will be praying for you all Katie!

Kelly Glupker said...

Such exciting things going on with you guys! How neat to see the way the Lord has lead you. Isn't it funny how we can always see His hand so clearly from the other side?