Change is Gonna Come

10.26.2015 is a date I want to remember for various reasons, some mundane and some significant. The day was bright, and a crisp 55 degrees while visiting my sister in Connecticut. We visited an apple orchard and enjoyed the perfect Fall day. This in of itself makes my heart full but that’s not all of the goodness that came this day. While scanning Face Book, I was notified that I was tagged in a throw back picture. This particular picture was from more than 10 years ago and was owned by someone who lived on a different continent. I had a life changing opportunity to work at a rural school in Zambia, Africa one summer while I was in college and before I even knew what Face Book was. This picture connected me to students I met so long ago who I have never seen again, yet our hearts are forever etched with memories. Day made!

Yet, there’s more. Most of you have followed our health stuff and moves from the last year and we have been praying for balance and some stability as we acknowledge Cory’s health and potential health issues that could occur in the future. It’s not the plan we dreamed about when we got married, but it has been an adventure for sure! We have seen God’s faithfulness time and time again. I have had the huge blessing of working at iGo Global, investing in students who in turn impact the nations with the gospel, this was my dream job out of college and I am thrilled that I have been able to see a decade of students not only go Make Him Famous but live out their lives for God’s glory wherever they are. For the past 2 years God has been stirring my heart and letting me know that I probably wouldn’t be at iGo forever, much to my disappointment. I have honestly been horrified at the thought of leaving this ministry I love so much. But, God has been gentle and gracious with me while also growing a desire to be in an environment where I would come in contact with the community at large more often.  2 weeks ago I had a job interview, my first interview in almost 10 years! October 26th, after telling God I really would like an answer before returning home from Connecticut and resigning myself to take a nap rather than think about it anymore, my phone rang. I was offered a job. I accepted the job later in the day and was immediately filled with excitement and nervousness at the changes that would come. I have had great flexibility to work from home and mother my daughter and my new job will not have the same flexibility all the time. iGo is what I’ve known, it’s where I’ve been challenged and encouraged and my co-workers are so much more than colleagues, we’re friends, we’re co-laborers, we’ve spent way too many nights on camp bunk beds and travelling to and fro. I wouldn’t change it for anything. God has used this ministry to shape me in ways I would have never sought out and I am so grateful.

So, I start my new job as a County Extension Agent over 4-H Youth and Development on November 16. After a bit of training, this will mean another move for my little family and I hope the last one for awhile. For those of you who probably would have never guessed, I grew up heavily involved in 4-H and have always loved the way whole families got to work together and learn while working on 4-H projects. My leadership degree is actually an Agriculture Leadership degree and I have been able to learn how to develop student leaders through my years at iGo. 4-H is so much more than only agricultural projects (even though we love those), 4-H is committed to teaching, training and inspiring families to make their communities better through service and I am thrilled to begin a new adventure.

This job came at just the right time. It’s a great fit for my giftings and passions. To God be the Glory. We would love your prayers as we transition again and as we engage the community. Above all whatever we do we want to work unto the Lord.

Let the packing begin! If you know of anyone in Austin county who would love to rent out a house or apartment to our family please let us know!

Nothing Good in Me

“I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.””‭‭Psalm‬ ‭16:2‬ ‭ESV‬

I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t want world peace. We might vastly disagree about what world peace looks like, or even how to achieve it, but nobody is actively campaigning for constant war. 

I’m sure both political sides will read this and say “what about so and so” but in your heart you know I’m right. Yet I can’t help but chuckle or even be dismayed when I see signs like the one by my house that say “pray for peace” or read about friends going to the World Peace Summit or whatever peace hopeful place it might be. 

Peace is a wonderful concept and a wonderful goal, but in reality it’s an unattainable one. World peace won’t come through prayer, it won’t come through stricter gun regulations, it won’t come through the destruction of Islam, and it won’t come through putting (insert Candidate A) in the White House. 

Peace comes through Christ. Period. And I wonder sometimes how we have moved so far from what the Psalmist says here. “I have no good apart from you.” It wasn’t just a Reformation concept, it’s a truth emblazoned across scripture. The good in me comes from the good in Him. 

There is nothing good in us. Decency doesn’t come from the fact that humans are at their very essence good. It comes in spite of the fact that at their core humans are wicked. No one taught my daughter to be rude and mean, we taught her the opposite. Still sometimes she slaps at me and screams at me because that’s who we are inside. It’s God’s grace which reveals the good of Himself in us.

I’ve been struggling. I’m probably on the borderline of full on depression. I have many things to be thankful for and I have constantly seen God provide, yet I still struggle. This is my starting point for God correcting that. To be constantly reminded there is nothing good in me. God didn’t call me because I’m strong. He called me because He uses the weak. And I am strong in Him because 

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭ESV
Coco

Refocus

Our little family and life feels so different than others our age/life stage and also exactly the same. Some days we dream about the future and hope it entails a home with a yard that is overflowing with college students that we pour ourselves into as we together walk towards Jesus. Other days we wonder how we can ever make “plans” for the future because we’ve had so many unexpected turns that it’s almost laughable. Almost.

Last week, Cory and I got to serve with Super Summer, a ministry camp that we love dearly and is so very special to us personally. We met at Super Summer and have continually been blessed by the relationships with other ministers we’ve made while serving. Last week is the most time I’ve had in almost 2 years to sit for a week straight without distraction during worship services. To be honest it was weird and I felt really vulnerable. But, God used that week to solidify something I’ve been wrestling with for awhile now: How do we balance Cory’s health with this ministry life we’ve been called to?

I don’t have the answer, but I do have some strong convictions about the way we should live. Our focus in life is not our health. There are times and seasons that it is more at the forefront, but pursuing health in itself is not satisfying. Do we need to eat well and exercise? Absolutely. But this is not our goal in life. We do not know what tomorrow holds but we know our purpose. Our lives are meant to be spent for the sake of the gospel. So, while it is tempting to arrange our days by smoothies, herbal remedies, naps, homemade everything and only engaging positive people. This is not the life Cory & I feel called to. We are most satisfied  in our souls when we are working together to sow seeds of the gospel. Honestly, I’ve been so convicted about being wrapped up in “life” that I’m sure I’ve missed so many opportunities to speak life into those who have crossed my path. So, this is my way of asking you to pray for us as we ask God for wisdom and direction for engaging people.

Just to clarify, we’re not abandoning Dr’s appointments or working on our discipline with eating & exercise, we’re just readjusting our focus.

“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God”.

-2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭15

2 Corinthians 4:15-18

A Tiny Update

I’ve attempted to write a new blog many times but words wouldn’t come. We’ve moved past a bit of our “crisis” mode and have settled into life in Waco. Cory has been substitute teaching and we are grateful God has provided a new part-time job right as the school year is coming to a close. He is feeling pretty good, we’re eating better, exercising and he’s having blood work and check ups every few weeks

Our busy summer work season is well underway and we are excited to be a part of training students through iGoGlobal as we send them out among the nations to sow seeds of the gospel. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and be a tiny part of what God is doing through iGo.

Thank you for your continued prayers. We know fighting Cory’s cancer will most likely be a long, slow battle but we pray that whatever comes we would be faithful with the time and resources we have.

Steps

Many have asked for an update, but we really do not have much forward motion.
We made our way to lake limestone safely a little over 2 weeks ago. We have enjoyed resting and getting to see family and friends. Cory had some tests run to see if he had parasites and they came back clear. We are thankful for that and discouraged because this puts us back at square one with figuring out what is causing his pain and fatigue. The oncologist does not believe the lymphoma is causing these symptoms. So he will not be having Chemo or radiation at this time.

We are so grateful for our church families. Immanuel Baptist in Odessa not only provided a moving truck, they also helped us fill it! We miss them fiercely. While we know moving was best for our family, we grieve the fact that it took us away from our Immanuel family. We’ve wept more than once over this. It was the first church we found together as a married couple, the first place we made “couple friends” and the first place that felt like home in Odessa. We know that God uses the church to declare his glory and Immanuel is a beautiful picture of this.
Our Centerpoint church family has continually poured out love, financial support and friendship. They are a true gift of grace and we are looking forward to reconnecting soon.
Many friends and family have checked on us and offered well wishes and we are blessed by them.
We are often told, “let me know if there’s anything I can do for y’all.” We appreciate everyone’s willingness to help and find this statement difficult at the same time. I’ll be honest I’m prideful and struggle to ask for help of any kind. Sometimes I can’t even think of things we need help with. I often think there are others in more dire circumstances that have very little help, it is very humbling to be in a position of need. So, in an effort to be transparent and grow here are a few answers to questions we’ve been asked:
1. What can we pray for specifically?
Besides healing, our greatest prayer need is for our hearts. Every closed door in regards to Cory’s health stirs up frustration and anxiety. We want to be found faithful and not resist what God is doing in all this. Pray that we would rest in HIM and be content to live each day moment by moment.
2. What do you need financially?
Right now, we have what we need. We are waiting for some hospital bills to come in over the next few weeks. And will have a better picture of that.
3. What else can we do for y’all?
One of the most encouraging things for us right now is having friends & family visit. We have no tv or internet access and cell coverage is spotty so our communication is limited to taking trips in to Waco and while there we’re trying to get as much business done as possible.
4. How are you guys?
We have good and bad days. Cory is tired of feeling unwell, especially getting exhausted after playing with Rylie for only 10min, but grateful to be able to be with his family more. I’ve had some rough days after being up in the night with Rylie and feeling overwhelmed with taking care of everything, thankfully those days are not often and have eased a bit as we’ve adjusted to living at the lake. Rylie loves getting to play outside in this beautiful place! She is becoming quite vocal and busy and her love for people continues to grow, she especially loves babies and college kids right now.
5. What’s the next step? We’re calling everyday to see if his primary care doctor has an opening because his first available appointment is a month from now. Ideally it would be great if we could move to Waco proper, but in order for that to happen we have to find an extremely cost efficient place to rent, so we will be working towards that. Also, the ministry I work for, iGo Global will be having their annual fundraising banquet in Dallas so we plan to attend if at all possible.

This is getting a bit long, so I’ll wrap it up. This week we’ve been reminding ourselves of Proverbs 16:1- “A man plans his way but The Lord determines his steps.” This has been so true for us and we trust that God will continue to be faithful as we walk this road.

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