Monday, April 11, 2011

The Open Door

" But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me. " Paul at Corinth

"Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me," Paul at Corinth

"And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ," Paul at Colosse

Ever wonder how the Apostle Paul knew what to do next? Did he hear an audible voice from God or see a neon sign telling him where to preach and teach next? How did he know when his time in Corinth was completed? Paul spent two years in Corinth and his visit there was very productive. How did he know when it was time to go to the next town or, in his case, to the next continent? His method was pretty simple and it applies to us today: look for the open door.

We have felt that the door has closed for our time in Hawai'i. Though we love this island and its culture and its people, we are struggling to see how we can continue to provide for our remaining children . Our reason for coming here was twofold: 1. Help Laura get to a better climate and 2. help Trinity Christian School navigate the difficult transition from a traditional Christian school model to a Classical Christian School model. We feel that we've accomplished both of these goals. Laura is thriving and Trinity has overcome the biggest hurdle of transition, curriculum philosophy and development.

When we came here, we could see in the future a need for a counseling ministry and a need for a ministry to Hawaiians to understand their own culture in light of the greatness of Christ, who gives meaning to culture and history. On Oahu there is a great need for affordable housing. We envisioned an opportunity to utilize the island's need for affordable housing to establish a ministry community so that all of these needs could be met in one location, if the Lord opened the door.

We could also see that while Laura had found her niche, our other three were struggling to find their way with both parents working SO very full time. Children in the teen and tween years need more structure and parental input, not less. Our full time hours, which were taking our focus away from our family, were enough to pay rent, but never a mortgage or a down payment for a house (a small house here is about 600 thousand and banks want 20% as a down payment! ). We began to ask ourselves if it was time to go. After all, what is more important than being available to our children? But what about our dreams for ministry? Funny as it is, Laura's passion is counseling, and Shawn's passion is teaching Hawaiian culture. Could it be that God was closing a door for our family but opening a door for Shawn and Laura? We decided to knock on doors and see what opened. In light of our desire to have our children in a classical school and live in an affordable location, Dave encouraged me to find a school where I could use my administrative gifts. I have interviewed with several and am about to make a second visit to a school in the Houston area to see if the Lord is opening up a door for us to use our gifts, love on our children and afford our own home. We're knocking. If the Lord opens up that door, we will go, right after Laura and Shawn's wedding. Please pray for us that God will make the door of His will open very wide so that we will know which way to go. Either way, we know that we cannot afford to stay here, we just don't know for sure where He is leading us next. We'll keep knocking.

The next question you will ask is: but what about Laura? Laura and Shawn are clearly called to minister here in Hawai'i. It's where they belong. And we see doors opening for them for the future, for housing and for ministry. We did not raise Laura to keep her, we raised her to send her out into the world to make a diffence. Laura and Shawn are eager to begin life together and make an impact. As for the specifics, they will pray and wait for the doors to open.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mother of the Bride

When Laura was a newborn I wanted time to stop all together to savor every second of her newborn sneezes and grunts and wiggles. As she grew, I came to accept that life would keep going, she would keep getting older. And then 3 more precious children came. Our house was full of kids and toys and giggles and stomping feet. When she was twelve years old, I had a friend sketch the four of them so that I could freeze that moment of their childhood forever. It was such a special time. I distinctly remember beginning to mourn the loss of my motherhood when Jonathan stopped using his pacifier. I began to treasure every moment of watching my children grow; intensely aware that this would not last. One morning as I brushed her hair, I remember wondering what it would be like when she was old enough to get married. And then it hit me: what would I be like? Would I be an emotional wreck? Would I want to plan her wedding so that it fit my tastes, would I like her future husband?

A few weeks ago I waited outside the dressing room as Laura tried on her wedding dress for her final fitting. No violins playing in the background to set the mood, no soft lighting, just a dressing room in a busy store. But Laura was beautiful. Every dress she tried on looked fabulous because she is tall and slender. This was the dress that she wanted, the dress that she will wear through the entryway of her next journey. And how did I feel? Did I want her to wear a dress that looked like the one I wore? Surprisingly, I didn't. I wanted her to have what she wanted. I really didn't have an opinon as long as she was happy. People have asked me what it's like to be the mother of the bride. To be honest, it's a great honor and privilege to watch her making wise decisions and seeking the Lord's guidance in every detail of her wedding. It's been that way all along in her relationship with Shawn. Laura and Shawn have sought to honor their parents and the Lord in every step of their relationship. They want desperately to do one thing: live in such a way as to make an impact on others. And I think they will, they've already had an impact on me.