Saturday, January 29, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Recently a teacher I work with used the analogy of little kids in the back seat of a car asking the parents, "are we there yet?" as a picture of us, as believers, wanting to know what the Lord has in store for us.

(Shameless, somewhat relevant picture of our adorable Marin.)

She was talking to a group of high schoolers, but the message cut straight through me.

Those little kids want to know if they are close to where they want to going, how far until they've finally arrived... and when they get an answer, however vague, they trust their parents and keep riding along.

With every season of life, there seems to be these big, looming questions....
What college should I go to?
Who am I going to marry?
When are we going to buy a house?
When should we start a family?

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

I have been a very bratty backseat passenger the past few months. Not only am I asking the questions repeatedly, but I'm not trusting the Lord and his timing or his answers.

I have always struggled with patience and wanting to be in control. Not a great combo when the future isn't crystal clear. Probably not a great combo anytime really.

I can remember way back to my high school graduation and some advice my dad gave me. I had to give a speech at the ceremony and I wanted to talk to my class about the next step for us, the coolest thing ever to happen to us, what we'd all been waiting for: College. Of course, I hadn't ever been and neither had they, so I had to ask about what it was like to write my speech.

My dad (ever so wise) said that college could be the best time in my life - or it might not be. I might figure out exactly what I want to do and who I want to be in college - or I might not. His pep talk indeed lacked a little pep, but he proceeded to tell me that waiting on the Lord was the best thing to learn as life transitions to new places, new seasons, new challenges. He mentioned Jesus waiting to go into ministry. Paul waited after he was blinded on the road to Damascus.

So I gave a speech on waiting.  It was a defining moment for me.

The Lord was gracious to give me that lesson before I even fully understood it. From high school, to college, to jobs and now marriage-- I keep having to go back there and relearn the lesson.

Waiting. Waiting on the Lord.

It is so hard for me to not have all the answers. In this season, I want to know what God is going to do with Evan's job. I want to know when we will be in a house that is our own. I want to know when we'll have kids and if I'll be able to stay home. I want to know if missions are in our future. Oh, so many things!

Evan and I talk about making sure we aren't holding on too tightly to the things that make us feel comfortable and safe. We want to be willing to go and do whatever the Lord asks.

But, really, I feel like I have had to check myself and make sure I'm not too impatient and concerned with my schedule, that I jump ahead of the Lord and starting taking control.

If I'm honest, my heart is saying: I am willing to obey You Lord, but You need to speak and move on my timeframe.

Ummm, don't think that's going to work.

Psalm 46:10 keeps running through my mind. "Be still and know that I am God."
And I love that some versions say, "Cease striving and know that I am God."

Just rest. Trust. Wait.

He knows exactly when we'll get there.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

On Starting a Home Group

Ever since Matt Chandler preached  this sermon on September 5, 2010, Evan and I have felt strongly convicted that we needed to leave our home group and start another one. In this sermon, Matt mentions the difference between the "mature herd" and "moron herd." We have been so blessed to be a part of a very mature herd for the past year and a half. Evan had a hand in starting the lovingly named HayHo Homegroup and the people that the Lord brought together were nothing short of exactly what we needed as we were dating, engaged and married. We became such good friends with these people that the idea of splitting off and starting a new group was at first a very scary, uh-uh-no-way kind of idea.

As with most convictions that come from the Holy Spirit, neither one of us could get away from the feeling that we had to leave our HayHo friends or we would be disobedient. This was very cool as a newly married couple to feel the Lord's leading in both our hearts at the same time. I have prayed since that God would continue to speak to us in that way.

In Matt's sermon, he mentioned not going out from a mature group alone, so we started praying about asking a couple from our group to come with us. At the time, it seemed like a no-brainer to ask Anna and Luis Tovar to join us. We also talked to Darrell and Taylor about coming with us because they had felt the same urging from the Lord. 

Due to several new situations in the HayHo group (new family dynamics, pregnancies, etc), the make up of the group was different than what it looked like when we decided to leadership was needed for the HayHo group and the Lord had a very distinct way of showing us all that the Tovars were the couple to take it on.

Awesome for them. Bummer for me and my perfect little plan.

I remember the night the news came out. Anna and Luis were over at our house just hanging out as usual.... but I could tell there was a conversation they wanted to bring up. After they told us they felt like God was telling them to step up and lead, the Lord gave me a very odd sense of peace.

I wasn't panicky or tight fisted. I didn't freak out and try to come up with another option. I just felt like we were all being very grown up and listening carefully to the Lord leading us... unfortunately in different directions.

The two other couples joining us in this endeavor now-- the Lotts and the soon-to-be-married Darrell and Taylor-- are the perfect group of people for us to be doing ministry with. I know I take for granted how blessed we are to have such an abundance of quality, amazing friends around us.  My prayer is really that this group will allow other people to experience and be a part of such great Biblical community.  We don't want to hog it all!

This whole process of starting a new group has already been a journey of faith and taking risks for me... and we haven't even officially started! Although I can say it often, realizing that I still have so much to learn and so much depth to still discover in my relationship with the Lord is always very humbling.

I read Isaiah 55:8-9 this morning and it feels very fitting:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

This coming Thursday is Group Connect and I am excited to see how God continues to work in my life as He brings people to our group.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cajun Country

Oddly enough, God has put alot of Cajuns in my life since I left the safe confines of my parents home. When I ventured off to college, I only lasted one year before the Claire Borne (now Walker) bounced into my life and forever changed it.... seriously.

(One from the archives... Claire, Jess and I at the Lafayette Mardi Gras parade back in 2006 I think.)

She spoke of things I had never heard of before... boudian, nannies, crewes, Killian's, cracklins.... I could go on but suffice it to say that it was a stateside case of culture shock. First, I had to learn how to say Lafayette (not Lawfayette), then I had my first taste of real, homemade gumbo in Claire's college apartment and I was hooked.

I remember telling Claire's mom, Renee, the next year that I wanted to make Mardi Gras a holiday my family celebrates. Big parties, fancy costumes, free jewelry, crazy decorations, time off from school... in February?! What could be better?

After my Cajun indoctrination, the Bornes became my second family. I knew their house, their neighborhood like it was my own. I had Mr. Keith's number programmed in my phone. I made curtains for our college house for hours with Renee-- when Claire was no where to be found. Our group of friends in college, the infamous Six Chicks, probably spent more time in Lafayette than anybody else's hometown.

(The Vierlings experience their very first Mardi Gras ball with the Borne family! Quite the night!)

Fast forward about six years, I am dating my crush from high school (soon to be my husband) and my first conversation with his dad after we reconnected was about a teeny tiny town in Louisiana.

St. Martinville....

(Inside of the church on the square in St. Martinville.)

Claire's wedding was in this small town, made famous by the Evangeline Oak... but even more famous because it was the same itty, bitty town that my father-in-laws family was from.

How does that happen?

You can say, "small world," and other cliche phrases to try and explain the crazy coincidence, but I can only credit that to the Lord. My lovely bunkmate and her family had perfectly prepared me to fit in with my future in-laws.

This past weekend Jim, Donna, Evan and I went down to Lafayette to visit Evan's grandparents. We snacked on craklins from the gas station as soon as we hit Louisiana turf. I ate more rice and seafood in the past two days than I have in the past two months.

I've heard the history of the Marist family and how Mama Tea's family came to Louisiana and settled in St. Martinville. I've listened to her point out almost every house in that town and tell me who used to live there... I got to point out where Claire and Joe got married.
(We took the bridesmaid's pictures on that balcony.)

More importantly, I feel like I am part of another wonderful Cajun family.  Even though I will never eat the head of a crawfish like they do, I felt so loved and accepted right away.

God is so creative in the way he orchestrates our lives. I've always known that, but for some reason I just never thought about him connecting my sweet bunkmate to my husband's family.

(Evan standing in front of the Burke building on ULaLa's campus. His great grandpa was state senator!)

Claire, I can't thank you enough for teaching me the ropes early on and I am truly so glad that Lafayette will still be like my second home.