A December to remember

December 4th hit me hard...like a ton of bricks. Not the kind that hurt, but the kind that definitely get your attention. I realized at that point that we were one month out from Tim's departure to CH-BOLC (Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course). The Lord has granted us the privelege of being able to afford to have Tim quit his job early (the week before Black Friday, none the less!) so that he might have more time to spend with his family and say his farewells. God was so gracious to us through this, as it has proven to be such a beautiful gift. We took Dylan out of daycare for a month to spend time with his dad, and so day in and day out this month they are making memories.

So many things are up in the air right now and my mind sometimes feels like it is swirling. Our house is for sale (great time to be selling Real Estate, huh?) and our possessions are being sold and boxed up. Questions arise like: When should I quit my job? What will it be like to be a single mom? What will it be like to be single for 12 weeks? How will Tim fare? What will Dylan think, and more importantly what will he remember? When and where will we move to? How will we adjust? The thing is - I HAVE NO IDEA. But one thing I do know...I know God's heart. I know that He will show himself mighty to those who are faithful to Him. Scripture says that "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." Phil. 1:6 God is definitely the originator of what has transpired in our lives, so we are trusting him to keep us going until we reach that place of completion. Our motto in this home is DEFINITELY "One day at a time".

Tim's Commissioning Service is this Sunday afternoon and we are excitedly anticipating that. He will thenceforth be known as Lieutenant Raburn. That will take some getting used to! In all seriousness, I just have to say from the bottom of my heart that I am so inexpressibly proud of Tim in general, and doubly so in light of the sacrifice he is going to make. Lately I have been asked quite frequently if I am sad about leaving or if I'm "okay" with moving. My answer is and has been this: When you see someone that you love dearly find what it is they are called to do and run toward it, unafraid, with enthusiasm and passion, your heart has room for nothing but pride. I love Tim and support him whole-heartedly in this endeavor. Does this mean there won't be days of sorrow and nights of tears? No. Even though my heart is filled with pride for Tim, does that mean that my mind doesn't try to fill with fear? No. The best way I can think to describe my thoughts about this is to quote from the book I am (STILL) reading (I'm a reeeaallly slow reader) "Lies Women Believe" by Nancy DeMoss:
"Joy, peace, and stability come from believing that every circumstance that touches our lives has first been filtered through His fingers of love and is part of a great, eternal plan that He is working out in this world and our lives."

I believe that part of my preparation for this journey is what God has led me to through life experiences and studying His word over the past several years. I have many times found myself drawn to passages, verses, and books that speak to the suffering that we are called, even priveleged, to endure for God's glory and Christ's sake. This ideal is clear to me, that it is not 'will I suffer?' but 'when will I suffer?'. Again to quote from the aforementioned book:
"By convincing us that our suffering is undeserved or unnecessary, the Enemy succeeds in getting us to resent and resist the will and purpose of God. The message that was preached by the Lord Jesus Himself and by the apostles who followed Him was a call to take up the cross; it was a call to sign up for battle; it was a call to suffer."

Please do not take me to be saying that I am going to be laying out in the street, homeless and hungry, suffering for Jesus. I realize that what we are going to endure as a direct result of accepting this calling is a different sort of suffering. But it will be a struggle of sorts that will challenge our family. I think the view God has revealed to me on suffering has made me better able to accept my husbands calling and more willing to embrace my own. Arthur Mathews, missionary to China 1938-1949, wrote that:
"We tend to look at the circumstances of life in terms of what they may do to our cherished hopes and convenience, and we shape our decisions and reactions accordingly. When a problem threatens, we rush to God, not to seek his perspective, but to ask him to deflect the trouble. Our self-concern takes priority over whatever it is that God might be trying to do through the trouble....An escapist generation reads security, prosperity, and physical well-being as evidences of God's blessing. Thus when he puts suffering and affliction into our hands, we misread his signals and misinterpret his intentions."

I know my "insight" may seem rather cavalier to some, but as Nancy DeMoss says in the book, the truth is that God is far more interested in our holiness than in our happiness; for He knows that apart from being holy, we can never truly be happy.


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