Sunday, October 02, 2005


Our little social and religious experiment in Alabama is over.

I don't really have the distance needed for reflection yet. All day today I have been thinking of Jesus' warnings about the cost of following Him. Any delusions I have that this will be fun, or profitable, or easy, are self-imposed. Jesus never said anything like that. Even though tonight I feel like I've followed Christ off a cliff, I also have to remember that God never promised me otherwise.


I am tempted to second-guess our decisions a year ago, but this year has been too good to do that. Most of what we've learned is too personal to be discussed in a public domain, but this much I'll say: when we left Nashville, my friend Halle predicted that the next year would be similar to the Year of Jubilee in the Old Testament. It was the year that no crops were planted, but the soil was replenished for the next season. She was right; this year was for us. It was a year of restoration, and I'm thankful for it. But externally, this year has been a disaster ... and I'm thankful to see that part end, too. So mostly, I guess, I'm thankful. I'm glad I've had this time, and I'm glad to see it go.

The next logical question is, now what? I have no idea. I hate staring into the abyss; I don't like having this many options (or none at all, depending on your perspective). Right now, we're just doing what comes next. And we're learning to trust God. At this point, that's all we can do.


lovelib said...

Luckily, the promises of sacrifice and suffering and bearing our crosses, are not the only ones. Things may look bleak, but I think you and Brian are richer than just about anyone I know right now. I think one of the best promises we can hold to during suffering is that of the Holy Spirit. (Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children. Acts 2:3)
The same disciples that were afraid to be seen with Jesus when he was going to be crucified, the same one that denied him, had the bravery to be martyred in the name of Jesus because they were filled with the Holy Spirit. I believe that every once in a while that same Spirit gives us the courage to jump off of cliffs.

We are also promised that God is with us. Emmanuel. My dad has a key chain that has Joshua 1:9 on it. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." I know your options seem limitless and lacking both at the same time, but I just want to encourage you that whatever choice you make, God will be with you wherever you go.
One thing I remember from my Bible beating reformed theology days, is that God is concerned first and foremost with His glory. I know He will provide a way for you and Brian because you have been faithful and it will bring Him the most glory when He does it.
Anyway, I know sometimes encouragement doesn't help in your situation....we did the homeless with no jobs thing and I wasn't exactly in the mood for encouragement. I was in the mood for a place to live. I just have to try anyway. Keep us posted. I pray for you and Brian every morning.

Madame Rubies said...

Sounds like our year at Tallassee. SO what is next on your plate? Anything? Coming to visit ME?! ;) I am so selfish. But seriously, I declared 2005 my year of freedom, meaning freedom from my "issues" and they began, one by one, to blow up in face, forcing me to take them on and actually gain the freedom I so naively asked for. Like you wrote, earlier, Freedom is another word for nothing left to lose.

Stephanie said...

hey mary, thanks for the encouragement. seriously.

heather - look for a couple and a dog on a doorstep near you sometime this fall.

Liz said...

Can I have a couple and a dog on my doorstep too? I have the means to entertain a dog for sure, and a couple quite possibly. =)

Ciona said...

If a couple and dog would like to journey back to Nashville, I bet the city wouldn't complain at all. It'd be good to see you again! I feel like all of you guys snuck away while I was sleeping. :(

Be in touch!

Ciona said...

btw . . .

1 Cor. 15:58 . . . I spoke this past weekend about this text, and I believe it holds so many truths in the midst of transition. It helps us ask great questions: what does it mean to be steadfast? What is the work of the Lord? How do we give fully to it? And it helps us be encouraged by the promise that the Lord's work is never in vain.

So I'm excited that you're feeling your frustration instead of ignoring it. And I hope that you'll be encouraged in the midst of more transition.