Tilling up the soil, breaking the dirt.

John’s last day of work is today.  As I look around our apartment, and things lay in disarray, I recognize again how this job has allowed us so many of our sweet comforts in this home.  It has been God’s grace for us in this time.  Money to pay our rent, always plenty of food on our table, thrifted, yard-saled, and hand-me-down furniture.  Well-loved, and well-lived in.

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John is such a hard worker.  Give him any task and he won’t just do it, he will figure out the best way to do it.  It’s a little strange to me that we are already here, at the end of this road.  Is it already time for such a real step?  Quitting jobs?  Deep breaths and reminders that it takes dying to really live, and that these seeds that seem so big right now, seem big because we are only seeing in part.  They are so small, so worth sowing!  We know that even the smallest of seeds renders the largest and strongest of trees. (Luke 17:6)

We are making headway around here logistically, and I have to constantly remind myself that I have enough time.  At the start of each day, God reminds me, “Samantha – a gentle reminder that you have enough time.  Enjoy it!”   Immediately the gears stop churning churning churning away, my heart relaxes a little, and I can enjoy the “getting done” instead of just charging through.  I can really savor these precious moments of life here.  Choosing Presence over progress is a key I am touching the fringes of, but haven’t fully learned to live in yet.

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Last week I started snapping pictures of items in our home to sell.  Many craigslist posts later, we have seen God’s favor to be able to sell several things and use that money straight away for tuition.  Our home doesn’t look the same, and I wasn’t quite prepared for my sentimental response.  Bare places on walls and boxes accumulating in the guest room.  I have never had trouble packing, moving, changing.  But this time it’s a little different.  This is the first home I’ve built with someone else, my husband.  Each little trinket around here has a memory attached.  We thrifted and yard-saled for months after we got married to be able to build our home without breaking our budget, and those memories are so sweet.  Saturday mornings rolling out of bed together and riding around to see what we could discover.  Rallying for a must-have item that I understood and John didn’t : )

 This process, this journey before the journey, is like tilling up the soil, breaking the dirt.  We are making a mess of things for something better, breaking things up for the seeds we are sowing.

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I think about the disciples and how they were literally in the middle of their life as they knew it.  Their day job, their livelihood, their families.  And Jesus came around and said, “Come with me!  I will make you fishers of men.”  And they immediately dropped what they were in the middle of and followed him.  (Matthew 4)  How completely counter to our culture!  To be inconvenienced equates to losing out… on something.  Money? Time? Comfort? Control? What about what you’d gain?

Or the rich man who asked Jesus, “How can I inherit eternal life?”  He knew all the laws already.  “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  (Mark 10)  The man walked away disheartened.  He had a lifetime of wealth accumulated.  His hard work, his father’s hard work before him, an inheritance, an entire estate.  Can you imagine?  Sell it all?? And to the poor?

Keeping your eyes on what you’re giving up, even if what you’re giving up is good, can prevent you from gaining a treasure so true and so real and so ultimate that it never rusts, it never accumulates dust, it can never be destroyed.  I want that treasure.  I want treasure in Heaven, realer than real.  Better than my home here.  Better than my temporary comfort.

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Sunset over the Durham Bulls game last weekend.

The stuff Jesus asks us to do is the easiest and the hardest.  It’s the smallest seeds, and our whole life.  It’s right here and right now.  The Kingdom of God is at hand.  And we are all invited to drop what we’re in the middle of and follow Him.  It doesn’t have to look like packing up your home and getting on a plane.  It can look like having your time revolve around your God, not the other way around.  Stopping for people.  Yes, even here.  Even out and about.  Having open hands instead of road rage and a tight fist of getting to the next place you’re going.  Looking in eyes, being brave to look full-on at need here and saying “Christ is here in me to meet those needs with Himself.”  We get to be light bearers, and that is fun!!  And worth whatever we have to lay down.

Celebrating Jess' bday at the Durham Bulls game.

Celebrating sister’s bday at the Durham Bulls game last weekend.

We are at 2.5 WEEKS until we leave!!  Sell a car, pack our bags, pack up our home.  Goodbyes to give and time to enjoy.  Hallelujah, God has answered so many of our specific prayers!  We have a storage unit and all our things are booked!

We are still praying for more financial provision, wisdom in decision-making, and clarity of heart and mind.  We are praying for our families, and safety for us as we travel – safety over us and our bags!  We pray that we will be changed forever, unable to be the same.  We pray that the places we go, the people we meet, will smell the sweet fragrance of our Jesus on us, and will be changed.  So many thoughts.  So many prayers.

This weekend, as it turns out, Heidi and Rolland Baker (the founders of Iris Global – the ministry we are going through) are going to be here in Raleigh for the Compelled by Love Conference!  Randy Clark will also be joining.  How cool is that?  I know God has something in store for us this weekend!

-Sam