Friday, January 04, 2013

Though the Storm Rages

Though the Storm Rages - 

In the quiet blackness of the night
The heart wonders and waits.
And cries.
For the storm has raged longer than
Anticipated.
And the pain has dulled some - 
A scar has formed
But the longing is still there.

To be there and not here - 
But where is that elusive place?
To what extent must the tree be
Pruned
And how long before the sap wounds heal
Completely?

Longing for the place for roots to grow
Deep and Strong - 
To be wanted and used and grown and loved

The winds have blown hard - the tree
Must be replanted and the roots
Long for fresh water.

As the cover of night fades to day
And the heart continues to long for rescue
From the storm - 
The promises remain and the hope for 
Deliverance continues.

He has not left.  He has not forgotten.
The growing and the pruning, the pain - 
The tears - 
Have not failed to serve a purpose.  
He is still right.  He is still Sovereign.

Through the wind and rain He still deserves
Praise.
Worship.
Honor.
Glory.
Adoration.

Though the storm rages on He is still
Holy.
 Sovereign. 
   Unfailing.
    Lovely.
     Just.
      Good.
       Wise.
God.

                                      





Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2012 Year in Review

I've done this a couple of times.  You can see last year's list here

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?

I became a substitute teacher.  I've taught before (both in schools and as a homeschooler) but this is a new adventure for me.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Um...I don't know if I had any to be honest, so I guess not!  I'm not really a resolution maker....I'm constantly realizing areas that need to change...

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My cousin, Erin, had a baby.  Other than that, nope.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully, no.

5.  Which countries did you visit?

We didn't venture very far this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

A real family vacation.  Due to a move and other circumstances, a vacation didn't happen.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

July 15 - we said goodbye to our Roseville home.  We signed our name in the rafters of the attic and drove away.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Hmmm....I re-taught myself how to knit and used that skill to make Christmas gifts for the women on our list.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Organization.  One of these years I'll master it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yes, in February I had pneumonia.  It took a LONG time to get back to full health.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Stocking stuffers.  I shopped after last Christmas and tucked some things away, so it was nice to have that done already!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Our boys have adapted well.  We've had some rough days and some transitional times, but they've done so very well!

13. Where did most of your money go?

Bill.  He shows up in my mailbox and demands that I send him money multiple times every month.  He has a problem!!

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

We moved closer to our church and to a much safer area.

15. What song will always remind you of 2012?

"I'll Never Forsake You"

O soul, are you weary from wave upon wave
Of grief and affliction whom no man can save?
Has sickness surrounded, or unending night?
Uncertainty stolen your joy and your might?
O doubting, o fearful– remember His care,
The helpless and hopeless need never despair
For from your afflictions His glory shall spring–
The deeper your sorrow, the louder you’ll sing!
Remember your Father– His promise, His love:
“I’ll never forsake you, this pain will not break you,
For I will remake you for unending joy;
My promise is faithful though now it is painful;
No power can trample my covenant love.”
Remember your Savior– His grief and His pain,
The lonely affliction, unmerited shame.
Though you had betrayed Him, He died in your place;
The joy set before Him He offers by grace.
Remember your Father– His promise, His love:
“I’ll never forsake you, this pain will not break you,
For I will remake you for unending joy;
My promise is faithful though now it is painful;
No power can trample my covenant love.”


16. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

I'd have to say happier.  God has never failed us.  Trials have come and still continue to bear down at times, but we have our God to guide and care for us.  I'm happy.

17. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Travel - one thing I miss about ministry is the trips we would take with our teens.  Also, we need to take a vacation (I think I mentioned that, lol!)

18. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Packing and unpacking boxes.  While I am oh so ready for God to give us a new ministry, I loathe the idea of moving again!!

19. What was your favorite TV program? 

We like Blue Bloods and I want to give Downton Abby a try.

20. What was the best book you read?

We're working through Knowing God by Packer for our Bible study at church.  It's been the most profitable.  I also read The Hunger Games.  That was the best "pleasure" reading I did this year.

21. What was your favorite film of this year?

I found Obama 2016 to be informative.  I enjoyed The Dark Night and Spiderman.  Snow White and the Huntsman was not so wonderful.  My favorite though?  Hands down:  "October Baby"

22. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

Don't wear anything that my sister would be embarrassed by :)

23. What kept you sane?

Joel - he's sure and steady.  God was gracious to give me a husband who is a rock!

24. What political issue stirred you the most?

Ah, the 2012 election season brought many topics to debate.  Benghazi, gay marriage and healthcare reform have been discussed a lot around here!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall...........

This summer did not really go as I had anticipated.  I had grandiose ideas of fun and exciting things to do with the boys.  We made a list and bought little scrapbooks. We schemed and planned.

And then Fall came.

That's not to say we didn't do anything fun this summer. We hit the beach a few times, made homemade ice cream, played lots of backyard baseball and moved into a different house.

Okay, so maybe moving shouldn't be categorized as something fun we did this summer.  I've moved enough in my life that while it's exciting and new and challenging...it is not fun.  Sweating buckets while hauling boxes upon miserable boxes cannot in any way be categorized as fun.

So our summer has passed and we are officially into the best season that exists here in Michigan - Fall. Yes, I capitalized it (yes, on purpose).  Sure, nothing compares to Fall in New England, but God has placed me in Michigan ;)  The air is crisp and the cider mill is just begging for our family to visit.  The boys have switched from backyard baseball to football and we've begun making our daily trek to school and back.

It's funny.  When the boys were all really little I used to long for empty, peaceful days when I could get things done.  It seemed like the flurry of activity would never cease.  Now that I have the house all to myself each day, it's kinda surreal.  I can't stand the lack of noise - I guess you just get accustomed to the rambles of boys and when they're not here it is just too quiet.  So, it's a good thing I like to listen to music or I think I'd go a little nuts.

I'm learning that I'm not nearly as patient as I thought I was.  God has asked us to wait longer for a new ministry than I'd ever imagined.  We've done a lot of thinking, a lot of praying and, to be honest, a lot of sighing and wondering when and why and how.  I'd like to say that I never question what God is doing and I'd like to say that I've never asked why.

But I can't, because I have.  Joel and I know that God has something in mind for us.  Joel and I both remain convinced that ministry is where God wants us long-term.  We never imagined that we'd still be searching and waiting and learning to trust and trying to understand, but we are...

We don't know why God has allowed us to walk the path we have for the past little while.  We don't know when the rain is going to stop and when the sun is going to start shining again.  We're trying to dance in the rain, but there are days when we seem to have two left feet and the music gets all jumbled in our heads.

So, we keep trusting and waiting and taking dancing lessons.



Monday, June 04, 2012

The Third Day in June

On June 3, 1995 I graduated from Victory Christian School in Londonderry, NH.  My parents hosted an open house and I spent the day celebrating my accomplishments, dreaming of my future and crying a few tears.  Like most high school graduates, I had big plans and couldn't wait to go off to college and begin the rest of my life.

On June 3, 2003 Joel and I moved into our apartment in Clinton Township.  We had driven from Wisconsin to Michigan the day before, but we had arrived just a few minutes after 5 p.m.  The leasing office would not give us our keys after 5, so we ended up spending the night at Matt and Rachael Wipf's house.

I was expecting Camden at the time, and was only 7 weeks away from my due date.  Joel had accepted the youth pastorate at Macomb Baptist and we were excited to see what was coming next. The next 7 and  a half years would be full of blessings, challenges, laughter, tears and joy.  In God's plan, He moved us from that ministry and placed us in His waiting room - where we remain today.

On June 3, 2012 we spent the day (the weekend, really) to honor our current Pastor and his sweet wife.  Pastor and Sue have served Maranatha Baptist Church for 25 years - and they have served MBC very well.  While we've only been part of this church body for less than 18 months, we have grown to deeply love and appreciate this sweet couple.  They are genuine.  They are sincere.  They are humble.  They are loving.   As Mike Sanders said yesterday, they are true Christians - and that is the greatest title in the world.

God has been so good to MBC.  This weekend was about thanking God and honoring Him for giving us this good gift. It was about recognizing that all of this is possible only through the grace of our good God.  

I am so thankful for Glen and Sue Currie.  God has given us a wonderful gift.



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Family Update - May 2012

As you know, our family has been in the middle of a transition for a while now.  We continue to wait on what God has for us in vocational ministry, but we are making a few changes in the process.

Joel is still working the secular job he's had since last year.  While it's not what he wants to be doing long-term, we are very, very thankful that he has had continuous work.

Our family will be moving closer to our church in a month or so.  We have found a house to rent and are making preparations to move.  This will eliminate a lot of driving (especially on Sunday) and allow us to be more involved with our church family.  Since we won't be locked into a long-term lease, we will be ready to pack up and move again when a ministry fit is found.  We have to be out of our house by August 2, but we plan to move well in advance of that date.

Many have asked how the search is going - to be honest....it's difficult.  We drove to one ministry (here in MI) in March and spent several hours with a search committee.  Joel has had several phone conversations and even a conference call with a pulpit committee recently.  None of these options have resulted in a new ministry for us.  We continue to look, send resumes, follow leads and pray for guidance.  It's frustrating, at times, but we know that we are not in control of this timeline.





Friday, May 11, 2012

Living the Fishbowl Life?

Are you/Have you been a ministry wife?  Can you give me your input?  I'm trying to put some thoughts together and need some thoughts from you.  If you would, answer the following questions - and if you don't want to post them publicly, you can email them to me (gearhart0624 at gmail dot com) or send me a Facebook message.  All emailed answers will be kept confidential.

1.  What do you think is your role as a ministry wife?

2.  What kinds of struggles do you face because of your role as a ministry wife?

3.  Did you/do you feel like you live in a fishbowl - under constant scrutiny and the watchful eyes of those around you?

4.  What are your greatest joys as a ministry wife?

5.  If you have children, how does the ministry play a role in how you are raising/have raised them?  Would you do things differently if you were not in the ministry?

6.  What keeps you up at night?

7.  What kind of ministry are you part of (school, church, missionary, camp, etc.)?

8.  If you had it to do all over again, would you choose this path for your life?  Why/Why not?

9.  What topics have you found to be "taboo" when it comes to discussing ministry life?

10.  What do you wish you could tell a younger woman about ministry life?

You're probably wondering why I'm asking these questions....and rightly so.  I've actually been brainstorming for a new blog idea (I'd love to write a book, but a blog is much more manageable.)  I don't know if it will ever happen, but I wanted to ask the questions anyways.

Resources and discussions regarding life as a ministry wife are few and far between, especially online. Issues are skirted and there seems to be some sort of odd silence about what life is really like for ministry wives.

Any input you can offer is greatly appreciated.






Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Not as I planned....

Today my youngest little guy turns 5.  He's sweet and funny and I can't imagine NOT having him in our family.

I was six weeks along in my pregnancy with Trevor before I even suspected that I might be pregnant.  I had been hitting the gym and my shirts were fitting so well, but my pants were getting harder and harder to button.  I was quite confused but figured that things were just shifting.  One September afternoon (I remember that it was the day of the Awana fair at church) I took a nap and could not figure out why I was so tired.  When I got up from the nap, the thought hit me....could it be?  Certainly not!  I grabbed a test out of the closet (leftover from when Josiah came along) and it was instantly positive.  I thought for sure that it must be expired or something...in fact, it took 4 tests to convince me that we were going to have another baby.

We were thrilled and surprised.  We desired more children, but Josiah was 2 weeks away from his first birthday and we didn't think another baby would come along quite so soon.  Once the initial shock wore off we began to get really excited....until the ultrasound.

You see, I prayed for a girl.  I was convinced I was going to have a girl.  You might remember that we had a mistaken ultrasound with Josiah (we were told he was a girl) so I thought for sure that God was going to give us a girl this time.  We already had 2 boys, so a girl would balance things out a bit.  In my mind, I convinced myself that since God had surprised us with this baby, He was going to really make it a good surprise and give us a girl.  

He didn't.  When the ultrasound tech told us (with Camden and Josiah watching and waiting) that another boy was on his way, I couldn't even look at the screen. I didn't want a boy.  I didn't plan for this pregnancy at all and another boy was certainly NOT on my radar.  How was I going to parent 3 boys?  Didn't God care that I really, really wanted to have a girl?  What was He thinking??

The next couple months were met with many sleepless nights.  Outwardly I smiled and accepted the heartfelt congratulations from friends and family.  Inwardly I battled with the idea that I didn't get what I wanted.  I laid awake many nights praying that God would help me to love and want this baby.  I couldn't imagine going through labor in this state of mind.

I know what you're probably thinking:  how selfish.  You're right.  I was selfish.  I was inwardly focused.  I should have been grateful for the fact that I could have children at all.  I battled with these thoughts.  I had friends that had miscarried and would give anything to have a child and here I was not happy with the gender.  I wanted to be excited.  I wanted to want a boy.  I knew that God was going to have to change my heart and my mind.

Trevor was due in May, and it was about mid-March before I finally came to terms with God's plan for our family. I spent the last 6 weeks preparing my mind and heart to welcome another boy into our family.  By the  time Trevor arrived, I was so excited with how God was blessing our family.

Today, I cannot imagine NOT having Trevor.  While the world would say he was a mistake (unplanned and not the gender I initially desired) I know that his life is a gift from God.  God decided that he would be and God decided that I would get to be his mother.  He's definitely a momma's boy (and I milk it!).  He brings us so much joy.  There's not a doubt in my mind that Trevor is a good gift from my good God.