Sunday, April 19, 2009

Our Intended Trip to Philadelphia

Thanks everyone for your sweet comments and support on the last post. I felt your prayers.


Tuesday morning, Chris and I were supposed to be on a plane to Philadelphia. Why, you ask? Well, surprise, surprise (no, no, not that one)...we're applying to seminary. And when I say 'we', I mean Chris.
The topic of seminary has been on the table for almost 6 years and we've finally come to the same place at the same time and well, we're just going to step out and do it.

And I am freaking out.

Did I just say that?

To be honest, I'm afraid. I'm afraid of being a minister's wife, of living in a fish bowl, of having to give of myself daily and live for something more than myself and my family.

But I just know that if we don't do this, then we will be walking away from the calling He has placed on our lives. Chris has felt the call since he was 16. Me, not so much.
Humor me here when I say that when we were dating, I thought that it was so cool that the guy I was with wanted to do ministry. I was a new Christian and pretty 'fired up' about the Gospel.

It took getting married and going through some tough trials to figure out that this whole Christian life was not all emotional highs and mountain tops. We were newlyweds, he was in school, I was unemployed and we fought. alot.
It was difficult.

When I finally found a job, I was 'let go' 5 weeks later.
I was unemployed again for 8 months.

It was a dark time in my life. I didn't know unemployment could reek as much havoc in me as it did. My college education was worthless and I felt worthless too.
I turned away from God with a bitter heart and became a hermit, even shutting Chris out at times.

It was a gradual softening of my heart to the goodness of God that brought me out of the darkness I was engulfed in. I saw His goodness and faithfulness through the kindness and faithfulness of my sweet husband, who never lashed out in anger towards me or criticized my unemployment.
He was steadfast and showed me the steadfast love of our God, who wouldn't abandon us, even when we are so unlovable and obstinate.

The Lord did provide me with a job (in His timing) and it couldn't have been a better one.
I loved my co-workers; they became great friends, and still are.

Two years into our marriage, Chris graduated from college (did I mention I was 2 years older than him?) and we found ourselves in a state of disagreement and confusion about what to do with the rest of our lives. Daunting, right? He wanted to go into ministry and do an internship with a college international student ministry and I just wanted him to get a job and help support us. I wanted us to anything but live off the support of others. Well, in the end we didn't raise enough support for the internship and that was just fine by me.
I talked him into applying to grad school for ceramic art (he has a bachelor's degree in ceramics). And what do you know? He didn't get into any of the schools where he applied.

One week after the last rejection letter came, I took a pregnancy test and there was little Owen.
Another surprise.

It was a year or so after coming out of the darkness of depression and getting pregnant seemed like a turning point in our lives. I was overjoyed. New life. And a new life for the two of us too.
Chris got a job at the art school he graduated from and everything just seemed right.

Needless to say, when Owen died, everything fell apart. I couldn't imagine serving a God who would allow my son to die. I didn't understand. I didn't know how to view Him and His character. Was it punishment? Was God reacting to my disobedience and sin? Was God good at all?
Chris, on the other hand, ran to the Lord and found comfort and peace in His presence. I found anger and bitterness.

You've probably gotten a sense of how things have changed since Owen's first birthday in Heaven and my third baby's death. I've found that I don't have anywhere to go but to Him. I can't describe with words the comfort and peace that are in His presence. There is still hurt and sorrow and yes, still anger, but He is bigger.

I have felt peace in the decision to go to seminary with my husband. To trust in the Lord's guidance of his calling and desire to be a minister of the Gospel. To follow and submit to Chris.

I have seen what happens when I try to control things; how unhappy we were and how wrong it was for me to lead my husband. I don't believe I messed up God's will for our lives, but I definitely made the two of us very unhappy and confused.

I certainly don't think God planned Owen's life and death for the purpose of turning me in the direction of His will. It would be incredibly small minded to box God up like that. We will never know (in this life and maybe not in the next life either) why Owen's life on earth was so short, but I have found comfort in His Word and sovereignty.

Whoa...I didn't mean to go on and on, but I felt a little background might be helpful for this post.


So, we were going to visit Westminster Theological Seminary in Philly this week, but our plans fell through at the last minute. We are not discouraged, but Chris is a little disappointed.
We do have some time to visit and make the decision between which seminary to go to, because we are currently applying for the fall of 2010. That sounds far away but that's just next year!

If you think of us, will you pray that we would continue to be united and like-minded about seminary?
I will keep you updated on any developments and let you know where we decide to go.

It's scary and a big change, but if I'm being 100% honest, I'm excited too.

7 comments:

Starsnrose said...

God's timing is everything, but what is equally important is our willingness to wait on Him. He loves you so much more than you can imagine. I suspect you know that in your heart and head, but have you absorbed it into your very soul? I am not doubting, who am I do that?! I write to encourage you in this walk we know as life. We are all waiting and walking hoping and praying and dealing with our own pain. Like you I am a "surviving" mom looking forward to the day I once again see my son in heaven. I've had to learn that the pain on earth isn't just to be endured. We are to live openly and honestly sharing God's love all the time. God will open the doors of ministry no matter where you are and what you are doing. I will be praying for you and your husband.

Tonya said...

Ebe,
You know I'll be praying for you - it's an honor! Submission is hard - I struggle with that a lot. It is also hard to wait on God's timing and accept His perfect will, especially when it isn't what we want! However, my most recent post was based on our message in church yesterday. The main point I took away from it...
"I want to know God more than I want answers to my questions". He is bigger and greater than all of this earthly "stuff". He has my Grady and your Owen in His loving arms in heaven. And He has us in His loving arms while we wait to join them.
Love you!
Tonya

Jennifer said...

Ebe,

I am so excited for you and Chris! God will bless your faithfulness and obedience to Him.

I prayed for you so much after I read your last post. Even to this day, it hurts and upsets me when people (even friends) say, "Well, you just have one child...wait until you have two" (when we get Kylie). These are ones that know we lost Kyler. I don't understand their thinking. I have just come to accept that they don't know because they have never lost a child.

I pray that you and Chris continue to find comfort and healing from the Prince of Peace. He alone uses our sufferings to strengthen us and glorify Him. Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31).

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the news about ministry. I'm anxious to see in the upcoming years what God is doing in and through your lives. God loves you and cares for you deeply.

Love,
Jennifer

Rachel said...

Wow Ebe! What a blessing you could be to so many as a pastor's wife (or even a seminary student's wife).

I encourage you to go meet Sara at http://hintzshappenings.blogspot.com

She's also a grieving mommy (with Samuel in Heaven) and four kids on earth AND she's the wife of a pastor, newly out of seminary (a year or two, I think.) She's been an amazing support for me!

Keisha Valentina said...

Ebe, I loved reading this post! I am in the midst of writing out our own story on how Chad decided to go to seminary (will be posted soon :)

We are both entering into a very similar season in life and I am so glad I have met you to be able to share the journey alongside with.

I will be praying for you. I am there to, thinking about being in the ministry is a very daunting thing but thankfully there is support in our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Love you!

Keisha

Mrs. MK said...

This is such an amazing post! I love to hear how far God has brought you in your faith...being willing to trust him for things that you're not even sure you want!! I will really keep you and Chris in prayer during this exciting and stressful time!

Chris said...

Love,
I am so glad and thankful that the Lord in His love and goodness has orchestrated all of this in His timing and way. I am so in love with you and honored to be called to serve along side you!! What a wonderful post.
PAPA