Tuesday, August 30, 2016

On the closing of a chapter...

Two weeks ago, we moved out of our Chicago home and community, after five years. This is the closing of a major chapter for us, a chapter that has included seminary degrees for both of us, the gifts of three daughters, the beginning of a future ministry in South Africa, the involvement in communities of believers who've become our family.

As you can imagine, that week was a blur of busyness, of general overwhelm, and of a nice dose of chaos. We managed, with the help of Ben's mom and two of his sisters, plus a couple of our nephews and our little niece, and Beth's parents, and several friends along the way, to sell many of our belongings, ship a small crate of some, donate the rest, and pack our suitcases. We also moved our of our home of four years, were commissioned by our church, and said many goodbyes to our Chicago community.

Since then, I have been reflecting on much of what we have left:
- the edification of our wonderful church body, who have challenged us, supported, and loved us, and who have come around us as we follow God's leading to South Africa

- the encouragement of our "small" group of six other families, all of who have sacrificially committed to financially and prayerfully partnering with us - this is what it looks and feels like to be "sent" as missionaries

- the camaraderie of our friends from Trinity, from previous churches, from our work settings, for two, and three, and four and some even for five years

- the comfort of our bright and cheery and spacious to us home for the past four years

- the routine of "the castle park" the perfect walk from our home and many play dates with friends

- the years of learning and growing during our time at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School - and the refinement of our giftings and how we can serve the Lord 

It is a very bittersweet goodbye - we are leaving what has been a good, rich, growing season for us as a family, and there are so many people we will greatly miss. There are many "losses" and we're taking some time to acknowledge them all. The girls have been asking lately about certain things - "where is my rocking chair? where are our dishes?" So we are learning to explain how some of our things we can take with us, and other things we cannot take - but they are just things. 

But this is the blessed truth that we have been dwelling on:

"Therefore, as you have received Christ the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving."
Colossians 2:6-7

So while we've said goodbye to our earthly roots in Chicago, we hold fast to our true rootedness - in Christ, for "in him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). 

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