We’ve run into a few process-related snags on our visas to the UK already. (No, we don’t have criminal records!) Please pray that our visas are approved and back in our hands so we may enroll Blake in school by April 28. We truly don’t know what we’d do if we don’t make the application deadline and lose his spot at this incredible school.
In other news, we’ve been to Taco Bell, Ted’s (local Tex-Mex restaurant), Super Target, and Wal-Mart. All very American things we’ve not experienced for months now. I’m sure we can go back to living without them all, but it was fun to go.
Chris and I went for a jog in the Oklahoma wind yesterday. The wind tried to push me over the entire time. I suppose it’ll have to be the wind that I’ve NOT missed. However, it’s the same temp. in London today but cloudy – so I’ll take today’s OKC sun as a peace offering for the wind beating we’ve taken.
We’re meeting friends today and have a fun weekend ahead – LifeChurch.tv OKC Campus on Saturday night and the 9am GMT Internet Campus service at 3am OKC time on Sunday morning!
We’re in a place where everyone talks with strange accents and they drive on the wrong side of the road…Oklahoma!
We’re stretching our legs in wide-open American spaces and cars. It was a special treat to be able to have room to move around in the shower stall this morning, and our kids are LOVING having space in the house to spread their toys out in! Getting behind the wheel of a car after 6 months off was a little scary but we both managed.
Thanks for your prayers for our trip. We had a great flight back and are adjusting pretty well to the time change.
We had a check-in meeting at LifeChurch.tv today and look forward to absorbing all we can these next weeks so we may implement these lessons in the network church in Wimbledon. Chris and I have plans to wrap up a few details for Blue Door Ministries, Inc. (our 501(c)3 organization) this week and mail out fundraising letters.
I’ll post updates throughout our visit once we jump into a routine here.
Ten minutes into a 30 minute jog the other day I tripped and essentially ate pavement. Go ahead and laugh about this – I think I made a pretty good scene for all the families in the park. I got back up, checked to see if my iPod was broken, and noticed my knee was bleeding through my pants. You probably know exactly what happened next: A list of reasons came to mind to turn around and go back home. I thought about walking back home, finding a cookie to eat, and lying on the couch like a bum. Perhaps this fall was just the excuse I needed to avoid exercising!
Then the thought crossed my mind. You might’ve gone home a few months ago, but that’s not you anymore. Nothing’s broken – just run! So I ran. And I ran longer than I planned to. Then after I came home and stretched our family took a 2 mile walk. Later that afternoon I went for a long walk in the rain. I was sore from my fall but I felt so much stronger from having chosen to press on.
You’re running right now, too. You’re disciplining and training yourself to be more like Christ. Are you running back home in retreat, or are you running out there on the open road with a purpose in mind? It’s a fact of life that when any believer begins to obey God obstacles arise. Things worse than a crack in the concrete (the cause of my fall) appear and try to take us down. We start to wonder: Did I hear God correctly? Maybe I’ve obeyed enough now and I can go back to where things are more comfortable for me.
Don’t buy those lies in your head. You’re strong enough to keep running.
“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.”
The family who own the home we’re renting when we return to Wimbledon is wonderful. Last week we stopped by the house for one last look before visiting the US. The home owner told us he has bunk beds in storage his daughters used when they were younger, and we may use them for our kids. Blake is ECSTATIC! So are we. Blake doesn’t see the bunk beds as hand-me-downs, rather they are extra cool because his babysitter (home owner’s daughter) slept in the same beds when she was younger.
The home will eventually undergo additional remodeling. What will one day be the utility room is currently our kitchen (to give you an idea of its size). We saw the refrigerator for the house last week and Blake was thrilled at it’s small size. “I can open it myself, Mom! You won’t have to stand on tippy toes to reach things!”
While I am thankful for what God provides our family, deep gratitude is growing in my heart as I replay Blake’s refreshing comments in my mind. A child’s perspective on things often reminds us what truly is important, doesn’t it?
Is there an everyday relationship, circumstance, or item you’re taking for granted today?
We’re really pleased to have had nearly 20 people at last night’s service. Schools are on half-term break this week and church attendance is generally down, so it was great to only have a few less bodies there. We even had some new faces, and that is the greatest encouragement of all. Changes in set-up and service details were made and provided improvement. We’re truly in a learning phase and agree with the many people who told us last night they can’t wait to see how things unfold after we’re back in June.
Today will be a whirlwind day of packing and moving our belongings to storage. We stay with some friends tonight before flying out at 3am OKC time tomorrow morning (Tuesday). We are scheduled to land in OKC after 5pm.
Please pray for our family’s safe journey and God’s protection of our friendships and growing relationships in ministry here while we’re gone. We are jittery with excitement to see family, friends, have a little rest, raise funds, and absorb all we can about ministry from LC.tv over the next 6 weeks.
With a lump in my throat, I want to acknowledge the extreme care, direction, and provision God’s provided over these past 5+ months in England for our family. We laugh now to remember how little we knew about why we were moving here as compared to our return to the states with so many doors having been opened to us simply for showing up as God asked. Thank you for following us through this blog and in prayer over time. We look forward to seeing each of you during our time in the states to recharge our ministry batteries.
With much love,
These are challenging questions Craig Groeschel asked on swerve.lifechurch.tv this week.
Ten Questions: Family
Posted: 02 Apr 2008 06:11 AM CDT
- Am I closer to my spouse today than I was a year ago?
- Have I read God’s word with my family this week?
- Have I prayed with each member of my family this week?
- Do my children know they come before the people in the church?
- Are my children joyfully experiencing Christ at church or do they resent the church?
- Does my spouse feel close to me spiritually?
- If my spouse could have me change one thing about me, what would it be? (Why haven’t I changed in this way? What am I going to do about it?)
- Are we honoring the Sabbath as a family?
- Do my wife and kids enjoy being around me?
- Can my family clearly articulate our family values and vision?
“Ever wonder if you’re missing something in life? Our pace in life seems so fast. It can force us to get frustrated over things like our email going too slow or the cell phone’s poor reception. We have access to so much, but we don’t seem content. I think you need to laugh more. Smiles and laughter begin in the heart.
One thing that allows a heart to be merry is contentment. Consider times when you’ve felt contented and at peace with God and your life. Now think of your discontented times. How easy was it to be merry when you were longing for a better job, for your spouse to change, for more money or a better home, or for more disciplined children?
Being content begins with understanding that God’s in control and his plan is better than ours. Freedom happens when we trust him completely and then express our gratefulness for all that he is. That alone should bring joy in the midst of a busy and stressful life!”
Source: Gary Smalley
Blake and I made a visit together to a local McDonald’s bathroom earlier this week. Always the one to make a race out of any event, Blake was done and out of his stall with his pants still unzipped in record time. Since the two of us were alone in the restroom, we carried on a conversation as he washed his hands. I continued speaking to him even though his back was to me, and as he used the motion-sensor hands dryer he discovered my voice couldn’t be heard when he waved his hands under the dryer. Giggling with delight, he kept his back to me and yelled between dryings: “I!” (dryer) “CAN’T!” (dryer) “HEAR!” (dryer) “YOU!” (giggle, giggle). I had a laugh, too, and thank God for the joy of raising a boy who loves to tease as much as I do.
Because I already forget what we’d been discussing when Blake began his hand dryer antics, I know it wasn’t a very important conversation. But had I been trying to tell him something necessary, I know I’d have quickly become frustrated and maybe even angry with him for intentionally ignoring me.
Sometimes we get in the habit of making noise and turning our back on God as a way of shutting out what He’s trying to tell us. “No, Lord – I’m not so sure I want to hear what you have to say to me today!” When we strive to have ears and hearts poised to hear Him speaking to us, we will find He’s surrounding us with His wisdom and direction.
“I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48
Yesterday we took a tour of the school we’re applying for Blake to attend.
We also also made one last walk past the home we’ll rent upon our return to the UK. The owner is completing a major renovation on the house, and it was fun to see the progress! The pic above was taken of the kids yesterday in the home’s dining room.
We’ve had several viewings of the flat now. Interest is growing as people are making second viewings – we trust one of these prospective renters will sign a contract this week and ask you to pray with us that our deposit and April/May pre-paid rent is refunded to our family.
Chris has asked a few people to meet him at the church tonight and they’ll brainstorm on some adjustments to make to set up before this Sunday evening’s service. He plans to stand in the city square with a friend from church tomorrow to distribute invitations to the service as well.
We leave London in 6 days to spend 6 weeks in the US training so we may further develop our ministry here when we return. Another primary purpose in our visit (in addition to hugging our loved ones, of course!) is to raise funds so our family may continue serving here.
If you would like to speak with us when we’re in the US to learn more about our work in London or would like more details about our fund raising needs, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All donations are tax-deductible.