You Moved

Last night… You Moved.

That unmistakable feeling, more than flutters.

A sign of life.

A sign of health.

A sign of fight.

 

The future holds unknowns.

Watching. Waiting. Worries beyond our control.

But you? You Moved.

 

Perhaps as a sign. Perhaps for peace.

Few things are known of the weeks to come.

But right now, today, you’re here.

 

I’ll live in this moment.

Hold on. Remember. Smile.

Bound to you by truth beyond words.

For no matter what, you moved.

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Funny How Time Works.

The other day, we had the kids at an amusement park.

It was hot, crowded and everyone was tired.

You let me sit; giving me the opportunity to just watch.

Giving me the chance to think. To reflect.

 

You waited in line with our boys, to buy milkshakes that were ridiculously overfilled, over “sugared” and overpriced.

I saw you laughing with them, building memories from small moments that will last forever.

I’ve watched you reading to them. Teaching them to play card games. Playing paddle ball. Throwing baseballs.

Disciplining when things go too far. Turning experiences into lessons.

Teaching them how to grow.

Teaching them to laugh.

Teaching them how to hold onto every little moment.

 

And I thought.

I thought back to our own childhoods, that by God’s good plan somehow merged together.

I remember bike-rides around that curve that felt more dangerous than it was.

I remember camping trips, telling stories around fires, hiking up hills that felt like mountains, laughing.

I remember a childhood that still brings a smile to my face.

All the while having no idea that these memories of ours would grow into more.

 

That this path we were on would entwine.

That you would be the one to teach my children how childhood should go.

That you’d let them “help” you build things, while building them up.

That the boy who was part of my “best friends” would become my life partner.

That we’d fight arguments that only couples understand.

That we’d walk through fire to come out stronger.

That you’d become someone who loved Jesus first, making all life decisions from that centering point.

 

That you’d become the man who’d help my boys become men.

 

Those thoughts are random. Maybe they only make sense to me. But, as I watched John with our oldest two the other day, while I sat with our twins, hiding out from the sun, I started thinking about what a blessing it is to marry your friend. There are growing pains that make it a challenge that others maybe don’t experience, having sorted their lives out and figured themselves out before finding each other. But, being able to see the boy my husband was, in the boys that our children are, somehow brings things full circle. It made me think, and it made me smile. Life is crazy, confusing and difficult sometimes, but there’s a plan that’s so much more than any of us could imagine. What a blessing!

The Best Laid Plans: Trusting in the Better One!

 

I feel like I spend more time focusing on why I haven’t been writing, then taking the time to reflect on what I have been doing during that time. This time the why is more important – on a personal level – then perhaps it has been in the past.

When I last wrote, we were facing more dead ends as a family than we thought we could handle sometimes, and it was time for a refresh…to step back from the things that we were focused on, to focus on what mattered most. Stick with me, it’ll make sense in a few.

You see. We felt like we were facing our own personal crisis as a family. We thought God us brought us back to PA for a specific purpose…then that purpose seemed to be slowly slipping away. Our kids were facing troubles at school. John’s job that brought us here was literally going away (quicker than originally planned), and we were frustrated. Instead of looking forward and leaning on God’s perfect plan, it was easier to look with longing back on where we came from, when things seemed easier. Instead of trusting and dwelling forward, I – personally – was dwelling on the mountain views and friendships we left, on when it seemed easier to follow God’s plan, to live missionally and to focus without “distractions.” I began longing for what was, instead of trusting in what was meant to be.

I needed a reset, and that reset took longer than I’d like to admit, and more bending and softening of my heart that was becoming harder than I’d like to think was possible.

I needed to dig into the promises of Scripture and of past lessons God had taught me. I needed to paste those scriptural truths around my house so I couldn’t avoid them or put them in the back of my mind. I needed to go back to the basics, to spend time with the creator who loves me more than I can imagine, and to beg him to align my heart, my will and my dreams with his. I had to listen to sermons and how they applied to my own life, instead of thinking of others I thought might benefit from the words being shared on Sunday mornings. I like to think this would have happened even if the dead ends didn’t, but, I think we’re more resistant to change than we like to think sometimes.

Anyway, this process was painful and took time, but maybe it never should have gotten to that point. I’ve realized it should never have ended in the first place. We should live in that place continually, because otherwise our own desires come to the surface far too easily. My longing for my own far off country (if you’re unfamiliar with this concept, check out what C.S. Lewis had to share) doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but, I need to frame it in God’s eyes, not allow it to distract me from what’s important.

Throughout it all, God’s purpose and plan has prevailed. Our friendships have deepened. The open door we prayed for for John’s job came and he jumped on it, without any down time or unemployment whatsoever. God has pointed out a new direction for our family (No. We aren’t leaving!) and we are trusting him with excitement as we watch it play out.

Most importantly – from my view – life seems simpler again. I’m not caught up in the “what could be’s,” and the “what I want’s.” Instead, I’m living day to day with a prayer that our lives and our path as a family aligns with God’s will and his plan, his perfect plan that includes what’s best for us, even if it’s not exactly the way we would have dreamed it on our own.

Has God used times of dead ends to reset your heart, your dreams and your purpose?

Closures and Detours

 

 

 

It’s funny. I had a completely different post scheduled to go out tomorrow. Maybe not completely different, but, with a different direction, a different outcome, even though the theme was the same. It had a beautiful shot of the mountains, and a message that was uplifting and gratitude centered; maybe I’ll share it sometime! In either case, it clearly wasn’t what it was supposed to be after the events that followed my writing it. That image up top? It’s actually completely fitting.

It’s hard to know where to start sometimes, to figure out who knows what, and what needs to be shared, so now? Now I’m just writing what comes to mind.

In my last post, I wrote a lot about where we’ve found ourselves this year. That the (appealing!) offer to move out west wasn’t where we felt led and that the waiting continues; that is still true. Only lately, I’ve started to wonder if maybe we’re waiting wrong…if we’ve still been waiting “conditionally,” even if that’s the opposite of what we’re trying to do. Isn’t life complicated sometimes?

Let me explain.

This year, we have had more “no’s” than “yes’s!” We’ve had health issues as a family and scares that we didn’t expect (see my last Facebook post. Many of you have and left amazing message, both private and public after I shared it! Thank you!). We’ve also been blessed through each of them, we’ve had both literal and figurative “mountain tops,” but, often, they’ve been mixed in with the hard things. With confusion, with fear, with pain and with other things we wouldn’t have exactly planned for ourselves.

Through it all, we have known and still know very clearly that God is a part of this process. That nothing happens that is out of his sight, out of his plan or out of his control. With that knowledge comes a great deal of comfort and acknowledgement of blessings! So, we’ve continued to give it to him. Or, so we thought.

Today, out of the blue, after picking up items purchased during a recent shopping spree, the transmission on our car blew. I’m talking stop you in the middle of the road, what do I do now, all my kids are in the car and I’m on a conference call, blew. My first reaction was frustration (as it would be for most people!).

As I sat there slightly panicked (I was turning in the middle of an intersection), a song that John and I had just been discussing on the way back from NC this weekend, started playing – “Control” by Tenth Avenue North. In case you’re not familiar, a few of the lyrics include:

Here I am
All my intentions
All my obsessions
I want to lay them all down
In Your hands
Only Your love is vital
Though I’m not entitled
Still You call me Your child

I’ve had plans
Shattered and broken
Things I have hoped in
Fall through my hands
You have plans
To redeem and restore me
You’re behind and before me
Oh, help me believe

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To take my hands off of my life
And the way it should go
God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To open my hands up
And give You control
I give You control

(I know I use song lyrics a lot; but, I have found that they often speak to me more than other things.)

Anyway. As the song played, two guys in a pick up happened to show up in the middle of nowhere intersection to push me off to the side. My parents, who happen to have a spare minivan that fits our family, showed up. We were able to call AAA and we’ll figure out the options later. It worked out perfectly, almost too perfectly.

Which got me thinking.

Have we been praying for closed doors in order to more clearly see the open ones? Yes. Have we been noticing the little things a little more lately, and staying grateful constantly? Absolutely. But…has there been a little more to it? Sure thing.

I think our prayers and desires have still been filled with our own hopes and our own desires for what we consider success. Things that might not align with the hearts we’re supposed to have, or, the plans that we’ve claimed to trust in that are bigger than our own. They’re still ours, even if we don’t want to all them that.

I’m not saying our own hopes and dreams are wrong, or that we aren’t supposed to find success. Maybe we are, who knows! But, when our prayers are twinged with those things, and filled with “buts,” are we really praying for hearts that are bigger than our own could ever be? I don’t think so. Are we really giving God room to work? Or still trusting in our own means of finding success? You be the judge, but, I think through all of it, I’m starting to see where I stand.

So what’s next? I have no clue. But, I am determined to truly give over control, trust and hopes until they better align with the plan that was put in place long before I was ever a thought to anyone in this world, because only then can true blessings become clear…the fact that we don’t have to have it together or have a plan can be freeing…it doesn’t need to be terrifying.

As I was rushing home in the borrowed minivan to beat my oldest’s bus to the bus stop, I came to this sign…on the road that had been open and fine a few hours before that. It came full circle and I laughed/cried/a-little-bit-of-every-emotioned. This is the road we prayed for, and while the road closed signs seem awfully frequent right now, there’s always been a detour. And sometimes, I think that’s where the blessings happen. What a beautiful picture (the hypothetical one…not the one I snapped on my phone before the car behind me started honking!).

What detours have you experienced lately? What blessings have you found through them?

 

Venturing into the Unknown: When the Answer is “Wait”

I haven’t shared a lot about what’s been going on for our family in the past few months…mostly because I wasn’t sure where to start, at least not with much clarity or direction.

The lack of direction has not necessarily improved, but, perhaps, the clarity has.

Back in January, John found out some major changes were coming at work. His team would be changing and, for the most part, moving overseas. His position would be dissolved. We didn’t have a timeline.

At first, it was okay! There were other options. We thought answers would come quickly…we thought we’d know more in a week or so (hah!). So, we committed it to prayer and waited for what we thought would fall into place quickly…only then it didn’t. We continued to pray for open and ::key:: closed, doors.

Friends, the “Waiting Place,” isn’t new to us. Just three years ago, around this time, God made it abundantly clear that we were to uproot our family and move to Asheville, NC. We grew and out lives changed dramatically. It then became clear again when it was time to come “home,” to the place he chose for us. (I’ve included links for those of you who may not have been a part of that journey, though many of you have!)

Well…back to now…possibilities that in the beginning of our new “unknown” seemed sure have become not just closed, but slammed doors.

But, one felt a little different.

A clear, open door presented itself, a dream job, if you will. A dream job across the country. A great possibility. A sure thing.

We committed it to prayer like we have all other things. We were nervous and heartbroken about potentially leaving family and friends here, yet, unspokenly, excited about the adventure, the newness we loved during our last relocation.

But (see the pattern…there are many ‘buts’ involved in this one!), it didn’t settle. That clear leading we felt during our last two moves just didn’t come. We prayed and asked others to join us. We fasted.

Through scripture, conversations and answers in the quiet, we did receive a clear answer, but, it sure wasn’t what we hoped for. It was a loud and resounding “no. trust. wait.”

Guys…this is scary. It got even more scary when the very day we received this answer, we also received another slammed door, our last potential “sure” option. This answer? The one we received? It meant (and still means) moving forward without a direction – at least not one we can see. It means trusting again in a plan that’s so much greater than ours.

Today in church, we felt even more clarity as we sang the words:

“We won’t move without you.
We won’t move without you.
You’re the light of all and all that we need.”

And our pastor shared thoughts like:

“If I really follow God, what will that mean for…family, career, etc?”

And:

“Do not fear. The moments of our greatest needs and fears and weaknesses, God shows himself great.”

It spoke to us.

We don’t know what’s ahead right now. When we end that thought right there, it’s a little terrifying.

But there’s more to this story. Somehow, inside, we feel a great sense of peace.

I talk a lot about how we are to trust a plan greater than ours. Right now, we’re being forced to live it out. In some miraculous way though, we feel comfort in this. A real “peace that passes understanding.”

The future? It’s in a state of complete unknown, which I guess it always is for everyone, right? We don’t know what the next hour will bring, let alone the next month or year. But, we are committed to praying it through and walking forward with confidence; the one who made the stars is telling us to wait. To stay. To trust.

So…here we are. And somehow…that feels right. There’s nothing better we could be doing.

Are you being asked to “wait?” Can you find comfort in that?

 

Grateful for My People

Have you ever sat back and just reviewed the things happening in your life and around you, and thought, “Wow. This is wild.”

I have had a lot of those moments lately. The most recent one (and not the first time it’s happened) was this morning.

Let me back up. I’m not a people person. To those who know me well, this is a surprise. But, as every personality test in the history of personality tests has indicated, along with what I know to be true, I’m an introvert. Once I get to know someone my walls come down and I feel comfortable enough to just be. But, until then, I feel awkward and never quite know what to say. I worry that the words I did say came across wrong or I find something else to dwell on. In this, I know I’m far from alone, though I’m pretty sure not enough people talk about it.

ANYWAY.

God has used this trait to show me his goodness, especially lately. Through our family’s moves and various experiences – from corporate careers to freelance lifestyles to wherever I’m at right now that’s a little bit of both, some really amazing people have come into our lives. The best part? Many of them have stuck.

I’m surrounded by people who give me the opportunity to experience things in life that I never would before. To laugh with. To tell stories with. To run to when I am not even sure how to sort out whatever situation I’ve found myself in. To work on big projects with that are so every exciting. To grieve with over life situations that don’t make sense on this side of heaven. To get counsel that I can trust. To live with. To experience with. To grow.

We aren’t meant to be alone.

As much as I’d tell you that I’d rather spend my time with my face in a book sitting on a porch swing or hiding in a remote coffee shop, I’m not sure how true that is any more. Do I need alone time to recharge? Absolutely. Would I rather hang out with a few good friends than run out to a big event the next town over or to a (cringe) “networking” event? Absolutely.

But, this morning, as I reflected, I got to thinking that the people that I’ve (not so randomly) crossed paths with have shown me that there’s more joy when we’re in it together. I feel filled to the brim with blessings right now, and most of those focus on the people I get to do life with. Those who I am stuck sending desperate “I MISS YOU when can we get together” texts to, who understand when life happens and I completely forget that we’re double booked, to those I embark on new business opportunities with and those who can drop in from somewhere within walking distance to catch up over tea. Even those who have become long-distance friends whose Facebook photos make me smile and reminisce.

I’m blessed beyond measure. I’m bettered by those who have been placed in my path and I’m grateful for each of you. Carry on 🙂

Unashamed Love: A View Shift

By the standards of this world, and to be honest, our own expectations, 2018 hasn’t been off to what would generally be a “great” start in the Pyne household.

I don’t need to go into details; this isn’t that kind of post. But, suffice it to say there have been more questions than answers, more “sickness” than “health,” and a few unexpected situations that weren’t quite a part of our plan for the new year. I know I’m not alone, in fact, I know every person reading this has faced their own similar seasons; it’s a part of life.

It’s easy to get dragged into them though, isn’t it? Easy to feel like you’re spiraling into a place that you’d rather not be, easy to focus on the “what could have been’s” than the “here and now’s.” It’s easy to miss the bigger picture, the picture that is always good, even when it feels otherwise.

I’ll back up for a second.

I’ve shared a lot about our journey because I think many people can relate. As such, many of you know that we’ve faced uncertainties in work, in where we’d be living (mostly based on that work) and in other areas before. In fact, just last year, not so far from this time, we were relocating our family from Asheville, NC up to PA.

I remember one Sunday, the Sunday before we’d be leaving, we sang the song “Unashamed Love” by Travis Cottrell. The words meant a lot to me, and that night, I sat in our bedroom, and packed away our things, playing it on repeat. Basking in the truths of the words, I felt at peace for the first time in a long time. We were following the plan that had been laid out for us, even though it included a little more heartbreak than we expected.

We moved, life moved on and we continued moving forward! We experienced new adventures, joys and great things.

Funny though, a few weeks ago, the same song played on the radio again, right at a time when life started to feel a little uncertain again (I don’t think things like this are a coincidence). I added it to my playlist, and this morning, it played again. I felt the same peace that I did last year around this time and started reflecting on it…I’ve included the video below for those unfamiliar with the song; I’d encourage you to check it out if you have a chance!

Anyway, all of that background information is to say this: things in this world will always be uncertain. We aren’t supposed to know it all; as a super-planner, this is something that’s hard for me to wrap my head around. I like my ducks in neat little rows that I have control over. I like to know the long and short term implications of decisions and to understand what’s happening tomorrow, next week, next year and ten years from now.

But that’s not what’s meant to be.

Instead, we are called to lay aside the worries of our own hearts, the fear that comes from the unknowns and the need to plan it all out. We are called to bask in the greatness of a father’s love that we can not even begin to comprehend, and to move forward in peace, even when everything around us is screaming out for less-than-peaceful notice. We’re called to love unashamedly, to trust in a plan that truthfully has nothing to do with our own and to find confidence in the fact that we aren’t meant to have control over the things of this world.

We have a hiding space. We have a refuge, a fortress, a strength that’s not ours. When our perspective shifts in that direction and we start actually believing it, great things happen – even if we don’t see them. What truths can you bask in today?