Dear family and friends, March 13, 2012
Welcome to my end of the year/new year update. It has been three and a half months since I last sent out an update. I’m sorry for the delay, but am looking forward to sending out monthly updates again for the New Year.
So what have we missed? Maggie turned 2 on November 22nd. She has grown leaps and bounds over the last couple of months and is beginning to talk a lot more. Kate is also growing and acting more and more mature every day…And she just lost her FIRST tooth! It is so much fun to be able to witness and experience the new insights of my children as they happen. Melissa, the kids and I went to Memphis for Christmas and had a great time hanging out with my family and getting to see everybody from out of town. Once we got back to Canton, a week went by and it was Melissa’s “??nd” birthday. Things continue to roll along and life does not seem to slow down in spite of my own efforts.
Grace Valley has also been coming along quite a bit recently. During November we completed the first stage of building a nice two-room outhouse on the property for when we have large gatherings on the property. Our director Phil has started one more group and is already in the works of spreading a few more out in the area. Grace Valley recently partnered with Barnabas Ministries to place our Pastor’s groups under their national umbrella. The partnership will allow us to achieve greater visibility and networking while maintaining the mission of Grace Valley. If you are interested to learn more, please search for Barnabas Ministries on the web. Through these groups we have experienced and visibly seen how we are impacting the local community of pastors. I continue to be a part of our Youth Pastor’s group that meets every other week. As is often the case, I imagine, I feel more blessed by being a part of the group than what I feel I can bring to it. We just had one of our tri-annual (if that is a word) Grace Valley Board meetings. It was a blessing to be together, fellowship, and discuss Grace Valley with people who are so personally invested in this ministry.
Now, to confession. It has taken so long to write to you because I have really been feeling ineffective which in turn has led me to be very unmotivated. I have really been struggling with trusting God’s goodness and timing in my life. I know God has me where he wants me, but I do not feel his leading in any specific direction right now other than being patient. And that is a frustratingly regular theme in my life. Apparently I am a slow learner. So what do I have to be patient for? I am still waiting to sort out getting an apprentice license for counseling in the State of Georgia so I can join a local practice and start working towards full licensure. In the meantime I am trying to find a part-time job to help make ends meet until I can start working for this counseling practice. It has been a struggle to make ends meet and that has started to create stress in most areas of our life. Right now we really need prayer for God to help us stay positive and the ability to look to the many blessings we can be thankful for. And that would lead into praying for my ability to give so many of the unknowns of our current situation up to God so that I can stop worrying about the “what if’s” and “maybes”. Melissa has been able to get a couple of more students for SAT tutoring lately which has helped. We knew this would be a part of our journey coming out here to be a part of this ministry; now it is just figuring out how to live within it the best we can knowing full well that this is part of God’s plan for our life right now (which includes humbling ourselves to trust God’s plan). We ask y’all to pray that God would provide for our immediate needs, but more importantly that we would be able to handle the stress that living this way has created.
Here is our prayer list for this month:
- That God would continue to bless our pastors groups and the relationships that are being built through them
- That God would help me make tangible progress in my search for part-time counseling work
- That God would give us encouragement and perspective in our personal frustrations
- That I would seek God’s counsel before my own
- That through part-time work and/or support we would be able to afford health care for our family in the near future
- That God would help us to nurture our personal and family walk with him
- That God would bless Grace Valley as we look to plan for Spring events
- That God would begin to provide the ways and means to acquire and begin developing the property so we can start receiving pastors for restoration from crisis
This has been a pretty difficult update letter to write. It is not easy to relate the feelings and shortcomings I have personally experienced over the past few months. I say this because I truly want to strive to be as open and honest with those of you who support and pray for us. Not only am I trying to be a part of supporting and caring for the leaders of God’s people, but as I am doing this I am acutely aware of my own personal need for the same prayer, support, and encouragement networks that I am trying to provide. This task is so large and I am so quick to place the burden on myself rather than putting myself and my pursuits in the able hands of our Lord. These feelings and challenges, emotionally and spiritually, are very new to me and I ask you lift me up to God in prayer for my continued guidance by his hand. It is not often that I find myself aware of your presence out there in the world around me and the knowledge that you are lifting me up to the Lord in prayer, but as I am aware of it at this very second I can’t tell you how much I am thankful for your steadfast faithfulness in asking the Lord’s blessing in my life. I hope that all of you are encouraged this month and that God will speak to your hearts and help you to find peace, encouragement and blessing in this New Year. I would love to hear from you by phone or e-mail if you have any questions, comments or just want to catch up.
435 Colmer Rd., Canton, GA 30114