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Archive for July, 2014

If so, then you are going to like this as we jump ahead to present time in the Return Home series. It also gives a break in the rollercoaster ride of the Return Home series with Abigail and Josiah’s return home for Christmas.

When Scott resigned in February, it was unexpected and quite a shock, therefore we looked to see God’s specific direction for “what now”.  While He was preparing the next position for Scott He had some specifics of what we were to do in our “what now” faze. I look forward to sharing them.

Scott and I were praying about the specific time when we were to go to Iowa to visit Abigail and Josiah this summer. It was only for a visit and not a “pick up” because Lydia and Selah still had 4 weeks of school left or they would not be able to advance to the next grade. It was hardest on Abigail because she was tortured by thoughts of us not wanting her to come home when in actuality we were trying to make sure she still got a summer break. If we picked them up at the end of their school year in May, there would have been no pool, no church camp, no bike rides tooling around town, no VBS, no library access, no arts and crafts, and no ball. But we would have been together. After some time to think about it they decided to stay in Iowa until Abigail got back from church camp on one condition…I was impressed that they “battered” the conditions of their stay. It revealed they were thinking ahead and not just in the moment but also able to weight things out. Great sign of maturity. They would stay only if we came to one of their ball games. It reminded me of Josiah’s phone call the year before, “Mom, when are you coming to a game?”2014-06-10 18.52.34

“Honey, I am with Lydia in the hospital. I can’t make it for a game,” I explained.

“Mom, you aren’t going to make it for any games?” came his desperate response of disbelief.

“Josiah, I can’t. I know this is hard but you can do this. Play well, give them your best and watch your best get better every game. I believe in you, sweetheart,” I encouraged.

Obviously last year was tougher than we thought, so they bartered this summer stay for our attending one of their games. So the deal was made J I kept hearing Violet’s plea in The Incredibles, “Mom, I don’t want to act normal, I want to be normal.” There was nothing normal about their last year. We are so proud of their ability to receive encouragement and get back on track when they wanted to give up.

Josiah’s team played tonight in the championship game (and they won)!! I am so proud of him but just prior to his leaving for the game my Mom called, “Josiah thinks he isn’t going to have a good game because you aren’t here to cheer for him,” and handed the phone to Josiah who begrudgingly said, “Hello”.

“Son, I love you and wish I could be there to cheer you on. You have developed in to quite a player and I am so proud of you! I know I am not there but you owe it to yourself and your team to play your best just as if I was in the crowd cheering you on.” He didn’t respond so I continued, “You can do this! You are quick to get to the ball. I was so impressed a couple of weeks ago when I saw you dive and catch the ball. Your swing has become consistent and strong. Hit it to the outfield and when you get home tonight call me and tell me all about it! I love you son.”

Out the door he went and my heart ached as yet again I would miss out on a significant event in his life. Now, I was the one who need to be encouraged. All I can say is, “Stink-o-rama!” So let me take a sharp turn on this rollercoaster ride and share something absolutely amazing!!!!

When the heaven's open and God directs your path

When the heaven’s open and God directs your path

Flipping toward the end of The Return Home series, Do you like the answer and then the details or details first?

The answer: Scott will now be working with CC Inc. in Conrad, Iowa! He will be heading up a community youth ministry that is beginning their 10th year of ministry. (Sorry, for the shocker for those of you who didn’t know he had resigned from his former position. I haven’t gotten to that part of our Return Home series in the blog but I have got to share how God has put this together.)

The Details: The Bible says that God is at work putting things together for our benefit. I am sure Scott and I don’t even know the half of it but let me share a portion of what we know God has done.

  1. In February, Greg Shine called and said he and his wife were taking their grandsons on an Easter break vacation to South Carolina. He asked if Abigail and Josiah would be flying home and if they could “escort” them in order to prevent the extra fees of minors flying without an adult. I told him we were coming up in a few weeks and we could meet to book the flight together. (God is so sneaky as He was already putting pieces together)
  2. Scott’s resignation was accepted on February 14th.
  3. A week later we were in Iowa to celebrate Abigail’s birthday. Greg came over and we booked the flight. Iowa was in severe blizzard conditions and Scott was saying, “Iowa has the best this…Iowa has the best of that…Iowa, Iowa, Iowa.” I was thinking he had better stop because nothing God offers will compare to what Iowa has if he keeps thinking like this and I didn’t want him or the children disappointed in what God had for us. That would be a horrible way to start a new job, a new school, and a new life together! I had remembered years earlier thinking how my children (at the time, Abigail and Josiah and Lydia on the way) would never really know my parents. There was never even a thought of returning home. Conrad just didn’t have what Scott and I did vocationally, but God was working on our behalf even at that time. After a short time of lamenting what would never be, I remember purposefully turning it over to the Lord so I could focus on where God had planted us. The only way I was going to grow instead of being bitter was to remove the thoughts of what my children were missing out on and embrace/trust what God had for them currently. I never entertained the thought again because I thought it was a “no” when it was “not yet”.
  4. Easter came and the Shines arrived with Abigail and Josiah. We discussed Abigail and Josiah’s summer plans. I had figured
    Reunion at the airport for Easter celebration!

    Reunion at the airport for Easter celebration!

    out the schedule and if we picked them up when school let out Lydia and Selah would still have 6 weeks of school. It was a tough decision because they were ready to be together with us. Nothing bad about where they were, it was just that we weren’t there with them. They decided to remain in Iowa after bartering for our coming to watch them play ball.

  5. Abigail calls a week after Easter and says she wanted to graduate from BCLUW. She had already ridden her bike around town looking for a house big enough for all of us. She was so disappointed when she didn’t find any. I chuckled at her openness to think since Daddy didn’t have a job we could just move there and he could work somewhere. I did caution her that we were looking in Iowa but not there, Conrad didn’t have a job possibility for Scott (shows what I know! I am sure God was shaking His head and laughing to Himself, “Sweetheart, if you only knew what I have planned.”
  6. A week before school let out Abigail and Josiah were struggling with having to say goodbye to friends. Abigail called, “Mom, I want to live here.” I listened and heard her heart cry but encouraged her that she was ready for where God would take us, she had a “practice” year of being the new kid and this next move would be easier.
  7. Abigail in her element at the BCLUW spring concert!

    Abigail in her element at the BCLUW spring concert!

    We prayed about when we were to go visit to see them play ball. There was a concern that if we came in for the spring band and vocal concert Abigail and Josiah would not stay for the summer but return home with us. So we waited until we were sure God said to go. It was heart-wrenching when we logged on to watch their concert and the streaming didn’t work!!! I sent the girls upstairs to get ready for bed, turned off the computer and the light so I could have my moment to cry. I was mad at myself. 3 days prior a thought had fluttered in my mind that the streaming would not work and I still did not go. Instead of packing up and going I contacted Shannan Callaway who had been taking pictures from her phone at all the other events throughout the year and asked her to take pictures that night. She told me she would take her good camera so I would have them on the computer and not just my phone.   I was thankful I had called her but it still hurt and I wondered if God was telling me so we would go or so it wouldn’t hurt so bad when it didn’t work. I had my moment to let a few tears trickle down my face and asked God, “Really? Do I really have to be this responsible? Why didn’t I go?” But God had a plan and specific timing for us to go as He was putting all things together.

  8. We put off going to Iowa another week when the date had been set for a former youth, Brian Boyd, from Scott’s youth
    Honored to be a part of Brian's life and ordination!

    Honored to be a part of Brian’s life and ordination!

    ministry in Texas was ordained the first Sunday in June. While we were at his ordination, he mentioned to Scott, “You should look at youth positions. You were great and we all loved you. Look at where many of us are today because of you and Veridee.” I don’t know the details of what Brian shared but God was using him to prepare Scott for what was to come. It was a seed that God would “shine some light on” a week later.

  9. It was a Tuesday night at the ballpark and we cheered heartily for Josiah (he played awesome!! He was diving for balls and going for the extra base to score. One mom chuckled, “He is having the game of his life!” I responded, “Anything is possible when mom is around to cheer their child on.” He was so much fun to watch!) Later in the game Brenda Shine sat down next to me, she asked how things were going and just as I had to run off after Charis I had mentioned that Scott was still looking for a job. Odd that she disappeared so quickly until I sat down again and Greg came by. He started to mention the CC Inc. position and I cut in, “You don’t need to talk to me, you need to talk to Scott,” and I vacated my spot so they could talk. I was not about to “convince” Scott this is where he needed to be. His last position was a ball and chain that had choked his gifting and passion, I watched a man on fire for God dwindle to a smoldering ember. I had been praying too long for Scott just to take any ole position offered to him. I wanted him to have a position that would stir the embers and release a roaring blaze of God’s love and power for His people as he once had. With each job possibility I asked the tough questions so he wouldn’t settle for anything less than what would light his fire again.
  10. That night Scott entertained the idea. He sent his resume for Greg and found out CC Inc. was meeting the next night. We and Abigail went to the youth meeting. We wanted to see how Abigail would respond and what her take on it was. She had no idea that Scott was considering working for CC Inc. When they asked for prayer requests she said, “I want to live in Conrad with my family.” Slightly embarrassed, I put my arm around her and gave her a squeeze. We couldn’t tell her because it was happening too fast and she needed some security not possible disappointment.
  11. Afterward Scott asked about the 7 murals the youth had painted down the wall the year before. Greg responded in a sheepish manner thinking we wouldn’t know, “The 7 Mountains.” My mind still refusing to consider the possibility of God positioning us in Conrad, Iowa could not discard the “writing on the wall”. Scott and I had just finished the 7-week coaching course on the 7 mountains the day before we left for Iowa.
  12. “God, are you teasing me? What are You doing? We have prayed for You to open the doors no man can shut and shut the doors no man can open. Is this really it?!” I was a little distressed. I hadn’t even dreamed we would be headed back not in a million years. Obviously, I believe and know God can do what He wants but I didn’t want the misery of false hope. We had dealt with so much and my heart had been hurt in the last 6 months I just didn’t want to entertain the idea if it wasn’t a real “yes”. Scott had signed us up at the Open Door conference in April for the 7 mountain coaching course, how would he interpret this?
  13. Greg asked Scott and I to come for an interview the next night. They had already set up interviews with others and since we were there we might as well check them out and they us.
  14. For some reason I was still fighting the idea of returning home. I don’t know if I just didn’t want to be disappointed if they didn’t ask us or God told us “Not this one but another.” Or was I still hurt from the loose words spoke by the previous pastor we had served faithfully. God had to deal with my heart, “Veridee, that is the point, you were to serve Me faithfully not a pastor. Honor him because you are a person of honor but never serve Me to bring honor to another. You were serving so he would get the glory. I want you to serve so I get the glory. That is why I told you to take this year to share what I had done in Lydia and for your family. That is why I had you blog. You are to encourage others to look to me for anything and everything they need.” I live and breathe being able to share God’s incredible love, redemption, restoration, and power to anyone who will let me share. Returning home would be an awesome opportunity share what God had done in my life and continues to do but I also know ministry has brought the deepest pains as well. I didn’t want it to come from people I knew and had grown up with. But even in this, it was not my choice and I had to trust God.
  15. As if the paintings on the wall weren’t enough God made something happen in the natural the night we before we left as well as reminded me of something from my past.
    1. What I am about to write in the blog series The Return Home, is about what God had us doing after Scott resigned. We did a prayer strategy in 8 different cities and the weather conditions shifted EVERY time from when we came to the complete opposite when we left. Conrad, Iowa was needing rain desperately. The night before we left just like with these other prayer strategies it started to rain (the sun came out Wednesday when Scott arrived to be introduced for his new position)! God is so cool!
    2. Secondly, as I was about to climb into bed that night, the Lord reminded me of the Beth Moore Believing God study I did 3 times back in 2005. In there she talked about going full circle. At the time we applied it as confirmation to go full circle by returning to Norway where Scott was a youth leader before leaving SC to go to seminary 15 years earlier. He returned to lead a street ministry and start a church. Then the Lord revealed the second full circle was when Scott was sent out by the next church to start a church in his hometown. And now God said we were satisfying the 3rd full circle by returning to Conrad, Iowa, my hometown. As I drifted off to sleep I told God, “Just make sure You make it clear to Scott.”
Know what God created you to do and fulfill it wholeheartedly!

Know what God created you to do and fulfill it wholeheartedly!

We returned home to South Carolina after a wonderful 12 days as a family and Scott delivered the message of our testimony at his home church. That night he left for a 5-day prayer retreat. While he was gone he began to dream again about ministry. Now, the chains were gone and he was free to do as God directed not man. It was a valuable lesson learned the hard way, very much like the Biblical reference of Joseph.

Scott loves God and loves people so he always prospers at anything he did in ministry, but now, he had an opportunity of a new beginning to be free to be led by God. When he returned from his prayer retreat he said, “I have been asking God to return to our

children when they become youth what we have sewn in other youth. And God answered that prayer request with you and me! We will be our children’s youth pastors!” Have you ever been the answer to your own prayers and you didn’t even know it?! God does have a sense of humor!

For Scott to turn down being a senior pastor to return to being a pastor of youth doesn’t mean that he is being demoted, it means he will be harvesting the field God has given him right now. He will be doing what God has called and equipped him to do because he is not being controlled by others to do something he “can” do but what God has positioned him to do. He will not be caught up in striving after something that people want him to be. He will be who God created him to be and he will do what God has called him to do.

I know people will look down upon him or think he can’t do the job of a senior pastor, but that would be to their ignorance and poor judgment. He has already been a senior pastor, he has led just about every ministry in a church other than a woman’s ministry. He doesn’t need a title to make him happy or to signify that he has something to share, he needed to see the open door that reveals the field God has equipped and positioned him to harvest.

Something I never thought as an option is not only “an” option but “the” option. I am returning home!…with my family!!!

God’s “no” is now a “yes!”

Veridee

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