New York, New Home

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:19

There comes a time in each of our lives when we are faced with transition. The moving from one place to another resulting in change. I have been in this place so many times in my life…well, I could count but the number is far too high. I moved around several times when I was a kid and a teenager. Yes, they were stressful, mostly because of the unknown. As a young adult I moved several times in an effort to maintain rent control…basic roof over your head stuff.

moving-truck-and-boxes-1200x800Then I joined the US Air Force. Need I say more? I came to Houston in March of 2001. I remember having many ambivalent feelings about coming here. We were a military family and having to live in the civilian world. We would not have all the benefits of living close to or on a Military installation.  That was a major adjustment.

We found a church home to attend in August 2001. We were there the Sunday before 9/11 and Jerry Falwell was preaching that particular Sunday and it was eerily a timely message. Little did I know then how God would move in my life, turning everything I knew at the time upside down and inside out.

Several years afterwards I would find myself a single mother again, only this time of 4 children, having to go back to work. I was a stay at home mom for 12 years and this was a ‘transition’ I was not ready for. I was devastated that I had to leave my kids each day to drive across Houston and spend 9 hours a day away from them. I believe I cried for 6 months straight, during the commute, because I had leave them. I imagined every disaster under the sun happening to them. God really had to build me up and strengthen my faith!! He did.

It would take a book to tell you all that happened from that day to this and maybe I will write it someday. But I can tell you every single event and every single transition has gone through the fingers of God! The devastation, the losses, the blessings, the miracles, the mind-blowing answers to 20-year prayers and the absolute unexpected twists and turns of the direction of my life have brought me to a faith in God that I would have never imagined having back then. (does that make you curious to read the book? LOL)

I and a few ladies from my church have just gone through an 8 week study called “Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. We had one woman accept the Lord as her Savior and several of the women resolve major issues in their lives. I am praising God for the opportunity to get to know each one of them and see the Lord work in each of their lives…for this to was an answer to prayer.

Tomorrow I begin a new study with these ladies + a few more. It is called “A Woman’s Heart God Dwelling Place” by Beth Moore. Though I have done this one before, I am excited to go through this study again for several reasons. One, when watching the introduction video Beth mentions having updated the study. She explains how she went back through the whole thing. She was worried at first about doing so but soon came to realize it was all new to her again.

Second, when I first arrived here in Texas the very first bible study I was doing on my own was this very study. I can not tell you all the ways it blessed me then other than it really cemented in my mind what our relationship with Jesus is supposed to look like. She shows you, through the Tabernacle, how God plans every single, intimate detail of His fellowship with us. (That is when we finally commit to having a relationship with Him) The study really helped me to see the intricate devotion He has when it comes to providing for us, comforting us, leading us and ultimately loving us. He used this to prepare my heart and mind for what lay ahead in the coming years.

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All this brings me to the reason for this post…I am heading into another transition in my life. My husband and I have been empty-nesters for a few months now. And recently we got news that we would have to relocate. So after 16 years in Houston, Texas I will be moving to Niagara Falls, New York. I will be leaving my wonderful job of 12 years. Leaving friends and family to head North East. I have never been there before. It is all going to be new. There is some sadness in leaving and saying goodbye. (more on this in an upcoming post)

I know God is in this too. He confirmed it for me just yesterday. Again, as I was watching the Introduction video to the bible study it occurred to me that I am doing the very same bible study I did in 2001 coming into Houston. So when she said it was all new to her, it thrilled me because if I know one thing its that His mercies are new every morning, His word is living and always speaks to you where ever you are in your life and as promised He is doing a new thing!!!

Going into this study expecting the new and exciting things God has to show me through this study is so very overwhelming.  But the anticipation of what new adventures, what new places to explore and what new place to serve Him is the answer to the prayer, “God move me!” Of course when I prayed that I meant ‘move my heart’ after months of feeling kind of stuck spiritually….not my home!!

But isn’t that just like God to take me literally? 🙂

Grace to you,
Shell

No Matter Where You Sit Or Stand (It’s Not The Walls -CBC)

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:19-22

 

Life is said to be unpredictable.  That may be true on some days.  For the most part I believe there are some things you can count on to stay the same. People all over the world are doing the same thing mankind has been doing from the beginning of creation. They are living life, working to provide for their family and/or pursuing a dream, some are perhaps just trying to survive.  If you really think about it the changes we encounter in our day-to-day life can be considered ‘nothing new under the sun,’ as King Solomon suggested. The one thing I know for sure never changes is God.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  If we trust in Him wholly when life becomes unpredictable or is turned upside down by circumstances we have a firm foundation to stand on.  We can walk forward in confidence knowing that He who holds the whole world in His hands holds us up in a future that may seem uncertain.

Our family moved to a new house at the end of September and have been trying to settle in for several weeks.  It has significantly less wall space which makes it hard to choose what to hang where.  I had a hard time leaving the old house, mostly because of the memories contained there.  But as many of my family and friends will attest I have recorded them very well in photo books. 🙂 The holidays are coming up and I feel an urgency to get the new house all put together but temporarily I am stuck. No fear though, I have been here before because it is ninth time I have moved since moving to Texas in 2001.

Our church is moving to a new location also.  Another change. It will be the fourth move for CrossBridge. Sunday we held our last service in our current location and during the singing special by one of our dear ladies I became overwhelmed with the memories in that room.  The memories of what God has done through our little church.  Baby dedications, weddings and healing for many who have come through the doors.   I had the privilege of leading a young girl of 12 to the Lord in the little classroom.  My own family was restored there when I re-married my first husband in a wonderfully sweet ceremony.  We have prayed over soldiers being deployed out into the world.  We have begged God for healing and reconciliation of family members and have said goodbye to dear friends who went on to be with the Lord.  We have celebrated high school graduations, newborns and life accomplishments. We have poured into teenagers lives, some accepting Christ after a weekend of camping. All life changing events but each leaving an indelible mark in each of our lives as a church family.

Within those walls God’s Word has been preached, taught, sang and prayed out loud.  Our pastor often says of our church, “We are the cold cup of refreshing water to the weary and broken who have no where else to go.”  I love that, being known as a refreshment to souls.  Small in number but big in heart. Generous of spirit and encouragement.  People have come for a short time and moved on for whatever reason but for the time they were present they left their spiritual fingerprint on those of us who remain. Leaving the building, while bittersweet, means we are in forward motion.  We are stepping into a new place that we believe God has appointed. And we have been here before, stepping out in faith.  We had moved from our last location to the one we leave now.  We did not know then what time would bring, what God would require of us. Standing here looking back I could not have imagined the beauty He allowed us to behold through one another’s lives.

Changes are hard for some people.  Hard for me at times.  I have to look deep within and find the courage to let the change occur.  I have to be open to new possibilities and blessings.  For I have learned change is growing.  I have learned that while the building is where we gather it not the walls that make the church. It is the folks that come through the doors, that hug our necks, that pray with us for God to do the miraculous.  It is the people who are called by Jesus Christ to ‘assemble together’ and serve Him.  To show His love by loving one another. To show His grace by rolling up our sleeves and meeting others where they are.  To show His mercy by teaching them salvation comes from knowing the Savior intimately.  To show the world church is not about the walls, it’s about the people in it. So while the scenery changes, even the walls around us or the circumstances we find ourselves in uncomfortable the few things that remain certain is the knowledge that we are made in the image of God and we still have His purpose to fulfill. No matter where we sit or stand!

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise him, all creatures here below;

Praise him above, ye heav’nly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Psalm 148:1-2, 10-14 & Ephesians 1:3

Text: Thomas Ken, 1637-1711

Music: Louis Bourgeois, ca. 1510-1561. From Genfer Psalter, 16th century.

Moving again…

We are moving from a house to an apartment. I have not lived in an apartment since Ben was born. Almost 18 years ago.  I must be insane to move into an apartment with two little boys 9 & 11.  We have a pool and a pool table in the clubhouse. They like that.  Alexandra likes it too, she gets my queen size bed and I am taking the daybed I bought when she was born…
It is a smaller space so had to get rid of alot of stuff.  I am ok with that. Downsizing!  Letting go of things you have traveled around the world with for the last 20 years of your life is emotionally hard but in the end it feels good to let go. I have to regroup and find other things to do with the things I have.  "Lord, help me make a nice, beautiful home so that my children will see the beauty from ashes…I want to feel cozy there!  Home is what you make it…help me make it peaceful, warm and inviting."