Monday, August 18, 2014

A life interrupted.

All of a sudden six months have passed and really, if anyone is still stopping by at all that is a small miracle in and of itself for this blog. First of all, my apologies for NOT posting and sharing or at least putting up a graphic that says, "Nitty.Gritty.Out.To.Lunch." or something to indicate that I was still here. Just not "here".
I can tell you in the past several months there has been a lot of living going on in our life and family. So much so that I don't find or make time to blog like I want to or should. There has been a couple of birthdays. And preschool graduation. There was a new puppy...and a lot of fun and cute pictures with our sweet goldendoodle, Hazel. And then there was the tough decision to find her a new home after a week of Wyndham having such high anxiety over a puppy that she literally wouldn't eat. So Hazel got a new home. There were tears and life lessons and I could practically write a whole book on just that week in our life alone! Maybe one day I'll write that story.
In addition to puppy days there were days at the beach. And riding the one cent pony at the grocery store. There was a week of camp. And grandparents here from Michigan. There was Coke Float Day and maybe you got in on that with is- even if it was a virtual celebration. I could probably write a book about how Coke Float Day has evolved and become almost a summer holiday all its own. There have been parades and pool days and more days spent by the pool. There have been a couple of day trips to Chicago and days recovering from those days- which means catching up on laundry and sleeping in as late as we can.
Our summer has been full in so many ways. From fresh local produce- our favorites are the jumbo blueberries, cherries and peaches to gourmet cupcakes and walks to the park. There have been lots of days that felt like fall and only a handful that we needed to turn the A/C on- which is rare for where we live. There have been new friendships formed and new experiences- including Brock finishing driving school and getting his permit. There has been so much and yet really we have just so enjoyed "doing nothing" for nearly three full months. It has been a wonderful summer and we have one week left to enjoy it to the fullest.
So with all of that going on behind the scenes of Nitty.Gritty. it's no wonder there has been a quiet lull on this blog. But something else has happened. Something that stirred in me and brings me back to my laptop to click away and put my thoughts down in this place.
It's a book called, "Interrupted" by Jen Hatmaker. Maybe you have heard of her and/or her book. It is in easy to spot places like Barnes & Noble and you can pick up a copy right here online at Amazon too. I don't know Jen. I have heard her speak briefly at a weekend conference via satellite. But after reading this book I feel like I know a big part of her heart. She writes this book so authentically and candidly. I actually laughed outloud at times and that's not normally how I read books. I cruised through this book in a matter of two days- which also speaks to the readability of it. The way and they why she wrote this book so resonated with me and that is what made me want to dust off this blog and write again.
If you have followed Nitty.Gritty. for any length of time then you know full well that Chip and I have lived a life that was interrupted one Sunday during brunch. We recently marked thirteen years since that day happened and we are still learning lessons and living in light of so much of the events of that tragedy. I can't help but shake the feeling all these years later that there must be a big purpose or point to the pain and hurt behind our interruption. Knowing just how much God loves and cares and acts out of goodness and justice simply doesn't add up to the amount of pain and hurt we have endured. But we KNOW He is in it and over it all. So we have hung on and clung to His promise of faithfulness to us- even when we can't see or understand His ways in all the twists and turns at times.
Some of what Jen writes in this book touched on the parts of me where I still sense such a deep longing or where I just want to see the senseless parts of life make sense. She reminded me in sharing her own life journey that God CAN be trusted in all of it- to the point where we can literally pick up and start new again if we are putting all our trust in Him for what comes next.
We have been in places like that- even with our last two moves when we didn't know where we were going or what we were doing next. But God knew. And sometimes I think He leaves us hanging without a clue as to the next step to test us and see if we are willing to get out of the boat and follow Him. Not just with our words and rhetoric. But with our whole hearts and selves. It's easy to give money, or to raise a hand or nod approvingly to the sermon being preached in church. It's a whole other thing to get up and actually respond and do something. Especially something radical.
I have wrestled and prayed a lot since reading "Interrupted". It's one thing to read the book, but another thing to be moved. It's one thing to read the Bible, to know it, to study it, to love it, to lean on it, to believe in it, to turn to it, to memorize it and study it and share it. It's another thing to let it so penetrate your heart and mind that you are different each and every day because of the truth in its pages.
I have wondered and questioned why things have happened in our lives the way that they have- especially in regards to the move to Minnesota and back. It hasn't made sense in my practical and structure-loving mind. I have asked God to show me how or why or what to do as a result of this. I have opened my heart and soul for Him to use me- use our whole family here in any way that He feels led to do so. Sometimes I have felt like I missed the calling when I was single and more able to pack up and serve Him in Africa. Being a SAHM {stuck-at-home-mom as I refer to myself many times =) }in a mostly middle-class white America feels like a box- a very blessed and wonderful box, but a box just the same. I have wondered how God could use me or why He would need me here. This part of Jen's book made sense to me and makes me realize that no matter where we live or who we are or what we have to offer, God can use it all and He wants too. As long as we are willing to say 'yes' when our life gets interrupted.
"We have the privilege of serving Jesus Himself every time we feed a hungry belly, each moment we give dignity to someone who has none left, when we acknowledge the value of a convict because he [or she] (I added that pronoun) is a human being, when we share our extreme excess with those who have nothing, when we love the forsaken and remember the forgotten. Jesus is there."
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I still can't say that I fully understand or ever will fully understand how God wills, moves or works. But I am willing to open my heart to His ways and be moved as a result in every little or big way that I sense His call in my life. I am willing to be interrupted, inconvenienced, embarrassed, put on the spot, broken, and uncomfortable for the sake of His glory and kingdom. Not because I am worthy or great. But because of what He did for me on the cross. It's the least I can offer back to Him.