My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
The girls of the Little White House could perhaps use your prayers. It’s hard to know where to begin in explaining all of the changes and opportunities that have come knocking over the past couple months…I think our silence was inspired in part by the fact that we received some valuable reproof–that we were portraying our lives here as almost unrealistically idyllic and lacking in real content in such a way as to cause envy and stumbling in our readers. (Looking back, though, I think we’d all have to agree that our “honeymoon” months were rather unmitigatedly idyllic, to be fair.)
Now, though, what’s going on in our lives is often so nebulous and intangible that it’s hard to put into concrete words. However, I shall try.
These are times of glorious upheaval.
Awhile back, through prayer, Grace received the call and direction that she ought to apply to volunteer at the Amani Baby Cottage in Uganda–the month “September” was weighing on her heart, and in seeming coincidence, that was precisely the month that they most needed volunteers. With trepidation, excitement, fear, hope, and a big sense of purpose, she applied. And she was accepted.
It was a time for rejoicing, and we were so glad and proud and pleased for Grace. But it was also a little hard not to worry and be selfish–three months in Africa for a girl with Grace’s health trials and tribulations were not something to be taken lightly! What if she got sick? What if she decided to stay and mother the Ugandan orphans forever and we never saw her again? What on earth would we do without our giggly, serious, fun, caring, hard-working, dorky, level-headed, inspiring Grace? But we worked hard to set aside our doubts and selfishness and be the sort of supportive, encouraging friends she deserves. 🙂
Almost concurrently with her acceptance at Amani, though, opportunities of another sort starting opening up for Grace. It was hard for her to consider giving up Amani after she had received what had seemed to her such a specific and certain calling to it, but she sensibly is leaving it in the Lord’s hands. In order to go to Amani this year, she would have needed to raise a substantial amount of money for a plane ticket, and at this point, the deadline for that has passed, so it’s looking like she won’t be going to Uganda this fall after all. (She might go next year instead, though. We’ll see.)
If you were thinking with a sigh of relief, “Oh good, we’ll get to keep her!” think again. 🙂 I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say at the moment, because Grace’s “Other Opportunity” isn’t entirely off the ground yet, but I’ll try to give you the gist of our situation. There is a discipleship project of epic proportions that is underway in a town about half an hour from our present location. Grace’s parents are to play a really important role in it, and shall necessarily be locating to live on-site so that they can devote their lives and all their attention to it. Dad has, I think, another year left till his retirement from air traffic controlling, though, and Mom needs someone to be learning alongside her and working with her while things are getting off the ground.
When our lease is up in August, Grace will not be signing on for another term; for various reasons, she’s going to have to move back in with her parents. Her parents will probably be re-locating half an hour away as soon as possible. In many ways, this doesn’t sound nearly as scary as Grace going to Uganda, but somehow. . .
It’s a very bittersweet time for all of us. Change and uncertainty are sweeping in through every door, and sometimes it feels like the Devil is unleashing as many demons of fear and doubt as he can possibly spare for such a small group of people. Are Bex, Abby, and I going to lease this house again? Or should we move to a safer area, since our house parents are going to be farther away? Should we move closer to them? What about the commute to our jobs? Could we get our lease here lowered to month-to-month to give us more time and options? What if Mom, Dad, and Grace don’t have time for us anymore? What if we hardly ever get to see them anymore? And Grace has a whole other school of worries all to herself.
It can feel like circumstance is setting up a wedge in our lives to drive us apart, and I, myself, am struggling with a particularly nagging fear. Always, I’ve struggled with the feeling of not belonging to anyone, of being on the fringes of things, and this upheaval is bringing it all to the front again. It’s so easy for me to see Grace’s leaving as the beginning of an exodus. Here she is, off to do the Lord’s work and knowing what she has to do. Suppose next year it’s Bex discovering with a sense of purpose that she’s to do the Lord’s work in Timbuctoo, and what if the year after that, Abby gets married and moves to Venezuela? It’s so, so easy for me to feel left out and fear that I’m going to end up alone. That I’ll never be any closer to knowing what I’m to do than I am right now. That always, always I’ll be weighed down by uncertainty and directionless. That I’ll be forgotten.
I think, with allowance for personal variation, that’s kind of what we all are struggling with right now. And a great deal of it is silliness, granted, and even more of it is pure sinfulness–to forget even for a moment that our Father in heaven is loving us and has His hand in all of this, and will NEVER stop guiding us and caring for us. We all know, too, deep down, that our friendships with each other are going to last. Undoubtedly, we’ve been put into each others’ lives for continued encouragement and blessing, and I know that we’re just going to grow closer through the years–never further apart.
But all the same, I think we’re having a little bit of a tough time right now. It’s so easy to falter and become overwhelmed. So if you think of us, say a prayer or two. It would be so much appreciated. 🙂
In this time of uncertainty, we have to remember to stick together, keep the lines of communication and sharing open, and tirelessly encourage each other. Pray that we’ll be able to keep doing this. 🙂
And perhaps in a few days I’ll come back with a lighter update pertaining to some of our recent adventures and domestic delights.
God bless you!
Update: Grace just got home from speaking with our landlords, and once our lease is up, we will be on a month-by-month basis here.