Tuesday, September 13, 2016

MRI's... Unemployment... And our "New Normal."

"New normal" is an interesting concept.  Is it really a thing?  There was a day I never thought our "new" would ever feel "normal" after Jon's surgery.  But a few years in, and life goes on.  Or so I thought.

I'm sitting here in Starbucks, with my stomach in knots.  Not because of one thing in particular, but because of a lot of things in general.  There are a lot of question marks in our life.  I've learned that question marks frustrate me.  I want the life with the beautiful, gigantic, shiny bow.  Heck, I'll even settle for a pretty little bow.  A tiny one.  But for the love of all things, just give me a blasted bow.  But nope.  Just when I feel like the bow might be getting tied, one of the ends get pulled and it unravels.  Square one.  Start another "new normal."

1 year ago, Jon left church ministry to sign on to work for a friend of ours at his non-profit.  It was a year commitment, with hopes from both sides, for it to be a much longer partnership.  However, as is often the case with privately funded non-profits, there just wasn't funding to sustain his position beyond this year.  So 2 weeks ago, after an awesome season with a dear friend, Jon ended his year there.  Insert big fat question mark.  Ok God, what now?  3 years ago, I was confident that if Jon needed a job, he could get one in an instant.  He had been a full time worship leader for 16 years and was constantly contacted by churches with job offers.  It wasn't uncommon for him to receive several calls or emails in a month, asking him to prayerfully consider coming on to "so and so church" staff.  But that was what seems like a lifetime ago.   A life where his degree in music, his experience in music, his passion for music all worked together for his employment.  Now that's off the table.  Ground zero is a scary place.  There are a ton of rabbit trails.  Which should we pursue?  How do you start over at age 40?  Where's my blasted bow?

Tonight,  Jon goes in for his big MRI.  The MRI that reveals the state of his brain tumor.  Has it grown?  Is it the same?  Did a miracle happen and it's gone?  MRI's are often The Trigger for some emotional unraveling for me.  We all have Triggers.  You see That Person that triggers That Feeling.  You read That Email that triggers That Emotion.  You see That Post that triggers That Hurt.  Triggers are all around us.  And one of mine is when Jon gets called in for tests.  What if?  So. Many. Question. Marks.  

So I sit here and surrender My Plans once again.  I sit here and watch God care for even the birds outside.  I feel a twinge of comfort.  Then I click on my blog and read from 2013.  And 2014. And 2015.  God is not going to stop being faithful now.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  My "new normal?"  Not so much.  My "new normal" has yet to be consistent.

"So I fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."   THAT is my "new normal."

Now where's my blasted bow....  ;)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Twas the Day After Mother's Day...

#keepingitreal

Twas the day after Mother’s Day
And all through the house
Every room was a disaster and I had a poo stain on my blouse.

The kids were all crying and fighting like crazy
While yesterday’s amazing memories
Became faded and hazy.   

The day before had been loving and sweet
Breakfast in bed, homemade cards
It was a mini retreat.  

I had relaxed and slept in a whole extra hour,
And even shaved my legs 
In a long, steamy shower.  

I was told “Mom, I love you!  
You’re really the best”
About 1 million times until I laid my head to rest.

Then sometime between “good night” and “good morning” 
All bets were off - 
Without any type of warning.

I woke to whining, crying
And spills on the floor
And in my 30 second shower, there were 17 knocks on my door. 

Kid 1 and Kid 2
Bickered and fought throughout the day
While Kid 3 and Kid 4 chose not to obey

Our trip to Target
Was one for the books
Spilled slushees, smashed fingers, and lots of strangers giving “looks.”

But nothing compared 
To our dinner at CPK
“I can smell your butt from here!” is what my 3 year old chose to loudly say.

Did I mention my husband 
Is out of town until late?
He *might* be coming home to a wife in an “unhealthy state.” 

But the kids now are in bed
So no need to freak out
I just needed to keep it real with a good vent and a pout. 

I treasure the memories
Of yesterday’s glory


And hold on to the promise of 364 days until another “perfect day” story.  

;)

Friday, May 6, 2016

The One Thing EVERY Mom Wants on Mother's Day.. And it's Not What You Think...

"Give her the day off."
"Do something active together."
"Send her to the spa."
"Don't send her to the spa, it's too crowded on Mother's Day at the spa."

The messages are loud and clear.  No, I take that back. The messages are loud and seriously confusing.  Every article says something different.  Every blog has a different formula.  Just yesterday, I read a Facebook post that said, "Men, don't let your wife get off of the couch on Mother's Day."  And directly underneath it was another Facebook post that said, "I find it seriously insulting that people think Mother's Day is about doing nothing.  I want to go on a rigorous hike with my kids on Mother's Day."  It's no wonder men approach this day with fear and trembling.  They don't know how to "win."  They want to win.  They do.  But every idea seems as good as the next and at the same time, as horrible as the next.  Cooking your wife a home cooked meal could be a huge win.  Or she could be ticked off that now there's a mess in the kitchen.  Having the kids serve her breakfast in bed could really win her heart.  Or it could make her seriously frustrated that she didn't get to sleep in longer.

Men, do you want to know what every wife wants on Mother's Day?  I'm serious.  I know I just disputed the idea that every wife wants the same thing, because clearly that's not true.  But this?  This is what we all want.

To be known.

That's it.  It's that simple.  Know her.  Like, really know her.  Be a student of your wife.  Know that your wife really wants to run a family 5K on Mother's Day.  Or that she wants to sleep until 11.  Know that she actually hates that big, fancy brunch and she'd rather eat a breakfast burrito from a yummy hole-in-the-wall joint.   Not every mom wants the same thing.  So know YOUR wife and love her how SHE desires to be loved.

And if you still don't know or can't figure it out?

Ask.

Seriously.  Just ask.  Not in a, "Hey, so it's almost Mother's Day and I was wondering what you had planned?" kind of way.  But in a, "Hey babe, Mother's Day is almost here and I want that day to be a celebration of who you are.  I want you to feel loved and cared for.  How can the kids and I honor you best on that day?"  Ask it with love and with genuine interest.  I know it's only 2 days away.  The lie you may believe is that it's too late.  It's not.

Now moms, this is where our role comes in.  If your husband asks you what you desire to do on Mother's Day, be gracious.  Take it as a sign that he cares.  Closing the gap between expectations and reality is a daunting journey.  If your husband is willing to make the effort to close that gap, then receive it as an act of love.  Don't belittle him for not knowing.  Your relationship is a journey and whether he has you figured out already or he is intentionally continuing to seek you out, it's beautiful.   It's all beautiful.

And in just 6 short weeks, us moms get the opportunity to return the favor on Father's Day.  So be gracious.  And thankful.  Seek to know and be known.  And if it all falls flat?  Choose grace.  :)




Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tons of Grace...

I was racing to meet my In-laws, who were returning my 2 'Littles' to me after having them for a sleepover.  I had left Jon at home with the rare opportunity to have a few hours of quiet in the house that he desperately needed.  His seminary classes are intense this semester, so any moment of silence and space for study time is golden.  My in-laws and I had found a great "halfway point" between our houses, and on this day, I was running late to our meeting place - the Bed, Bath and Beyond parking lot.  I pulled in and searched for their jeep.  I couldn't find it.  Whew!  I beat them here!  As I pulled into a spot to wait, I began to read through some emails and scroll Facebook to pass the time.  After a little while, I decided to text my mother-in-law to let her know I was here, but to take her time. (I know wrangling 2 Littles is a feat of its own.)  That's when I saw it.  The last text that was sent between us.  "We will drive the Littles to your house at 1:00." Oh. Crap.  I didn't read that text well the first time.  You can't skim over texts, Deanna!  I'm at the wrong place!  I just drove 25 minutes for nothing.  JON IS HOME FOR INTENTIONAL STUDY TIME AND 2 LITTLES ARE ON THEIR WAY!  I quickly called Jon's cell.

Jon: Hey babe.
Me: Um, hey.  Are you home alone?
Jon: Yup.  Why?
Me: Well, I'm sitting here at the "meeting place" to get the Littles... except I just re-read the text and your parents actually said they'd drive the Littles all the way to our house instead. I am so sorry, but they're going to be there any minute.  I obviously didn't read the text closely.  I've just been a mess lately.  I forgot to run that one errand yesterday, and I haven't sent that letter I said I would, and..
Jon: (interrupting my rant) Babe, I have tons of grace for you.  Tons of grace.

That's where this story ends.  Oh, of course the day continued on and there were 2 busy Littles and afternoon baseball practice and dinner on the run.  But nothing mattered after those 3 words.  Tons of grace.  I have tons of grace for you.  Has anyone ever said that to you?  It stops you in your tracks.  Quite honestly, it's been 2 weeks since that moment, and I still haven't gotten it out of my head.

We live in a day when grace is scarce.  You messed up?  I'm done.  You disagree with me? Let's battle it out on social media.  You let me down?  You're cut off.  These words, this phrase... tons of grace... it is counter cultural.  Oh sure, we extend grace at times.  But let's be honest.  Most of the time we dabble in grace.  A little here. A touch there.   Not too much though, lest they miss the point that I'm HIGHLY offended.  Not too much though, lest they think they're off the hook.

And if we're honest, the hardest people to extend grace to, are those closest to us.  (Read: often times, family.)   You know who I have tons of grace for?  Neighbors.  Friends.  Other people's kids.  But if my kids leave their backpack in the middle of the family room one more blasted time!??!  Or my husband forgets that thing he pledged and promised to do?!?  It's on like donkey kong!  That's probably why Jon's words struck me so much.  The one that's closest to me? The one I probably fail the most? THAT person has TONS of grace for me?  It's ridiculously overwhelming.

Who do you have grace for?  Who don't you have grace for?  Where might you find an opportunity to extend tons of grace?  I promise you, the opportunities are there.  A spouse running late.  A friend who flaked. Again.  A neighbor who is too loud.  A child who did that specific thing you said not to ever do.  A driver who cut you off.  A grocery checker who is slow.  A waiter who messed up your order.  Tons of grace. Tons of grace.

2 weeks ago, I felt like God used Jon to invite me into a "tons of grace" type of living.
I'm up for the challenge. Are you?

Let there be GRACE on Earth and let it begin with [God in] me.  :)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hello. It's Me. ;)



Do you have a friend you know well, and you love, but you haven't talked to in a long time?  You know the friend.  The one you would love to reconnect with, but you would need at least 2 hours of heart-to-heart talking, just to start scratching the surface of the lost time. (3 of mine are pictured above)  So when you're in between Point A and Point B and you have 5 minutes before arriving at Point B and your phone rings, and it's THAT FRIEND, your insides die a little because you know answering the phone won't work right now.  5 minutes isn't enough because you haven't talked in for-ever.  So you let it go to voicemail because you can't possibly pick up the phone with the friend you need 2 hours with and be like, "Hey! Oh man, I'm good, how are you? Cool, I gotta run now." Because that would be weird and awkward and just not right.  So you miss that call and wait for a time when you have some space to talk...and  more and more time just goes by... And it's not because you don't love each other and want to talk.  It's just that to re-connect properly, you would need time and space, and Lord knows that's a hot commodity these days.

OK.  So that's me.  With you.  Yes, you. The one reading this right now.

The holidays hit the Ramsays (and the rest of the world, or course!) in full force.  Lot's of speaking engagements, lots of neat opportunities, lots of decking halls and fa-la-la-ing.  So. Fun.  Not to mention Jon started his adventure with his new, post brain tumor part time job working with a non-profit + part time seminary student at Talbot.  (which = full time awesome, amazing, crazy, FULL, exciting, pushed to the limit, life.)  (see blog: "We're Out of the Waiting Room" from Sept. 15 for those details. I would link to it, but I DON'T KNOW WHAT THOSE STEPS WOULD BE. Don't judge me. I'm a hack blogger.  A Hackgger. Whetevs.)

Then came January.  Exhale.  And then there was me going, "Man, I miss my blog.  I miss the people I get to do life with via the blog."  But, The Time.  The 2 months that had passed.  I couldn't just hop on and say "Oh hey!  I'm good, how are you? Cool."  I would need to sit and catch up.  The whole "2 hours of heart-to-heart" thing.  But who has space for that?

And then came the "other blogs." The ones I would see passed around social media.  The ones that promised 10 days to a perfect marriage, 7 steps to the perfect kids and 5 steps of faith to receiving God's healing.  All while I walked through divorces with dear friends who DID ALL THE STEPS, and counseled parents  WHO USED THE BLASTED FORMULA, and I spent time with my sick mother who WE HAVE HAD ALL THE FAITH FOR.  So many promises. So many formulas.  The idea of blogging got less and less appealing.  I'm not like them.  I don't have all the answers.  I can promise nothing outside of whatever Jesus Himself has promised.  I have a husband who we pray healing over daily, who has yet to be fully healed.  I have kids who love Jesus but don't pick up their Bible on their own.  I have a load of laundry in the washer that's going on it's 3rd time through because WHY CAN'T ANYONE REMIND ME TO PUT IT IN THE DRYER THE SAME DAY?  The struggle is so freaking real.

Then there were the articles on social media that actually said something really, really well.  Like, life-changingly well.  Like, life and hope and truth.  And my dirty laundry (literally) just seemed like it had no place next to real, legit fancy people.

So time went by.  And things would happen and I'd think, "Oh man, I'd love to share that on the blog. Oh wait, that would be weird.  I can't be like, "Pray for Jon - he had social anxiety for the first time ever and I think it's related to his hearing loss but we don't know for sure" because you'd be like, "Woah, slow down the train.  Who are you again?"  But whatever.  Here I am.  This is our 2 hour talk.  Our re-introduction.  Because God hasn't released me from this Living Out Loud thing.  So I'm here.

Well, I was here. But the spin cycle is done and for the love of all things good and holy, I CANNOT wash that load one more time.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2 Years Ago Today.... (my personal therapy...remembering through writing) Part 1

It was 2 years ago, today. Jon and I had just gotten home from leading worship at a conference at Hume Lake.  Well, Jon actually never got to lead worship with me.  He stayed in our room the entire weekend - with a horrible headache and throwing up.  I couldn't even turn the lights on.  He was miserable.  As we drove home though, he started to feel better.  It must have been a 48 hour flu.  By the time we got home and the whole next day, the headache was still there, but was much more mild.  No more vomiting.  

The following morning, Tuesday, Oct 1, Jon went to sit up in bed and he grabbed his head and buried it back into his pillow.  "Ow, my head still hurts!"  He laid there for a few minutes and then slowly sat back up.  He was fine.  He must have just sat up too quickly.  I rolled over and told him I would call our family doctor and get him an appointment.  He said he didn't need to go to the doctor.  I told him he should at least get checked out after vomiting all weekend.  He reluctantly agreed, and I was able to get him a 4pm appointment for later that day.  At 3:45, I received a text from Jon.  "Not gonna make my appointment.  In a meeting.  I feel fine. Please call and cancel."  Okie dokie.  I canceled his appointment and got ready for Jon's parents who were coming over for dinner to celebrate Morgan's 2nd birthday.  Having 4 kids was kicking my butt.  Our surprise #4 (Reese) was only 8 months old and life was busy - I felt like I still hadn't figured out how to do 'life' as a party of 6.  

Jon's parents arrived, Jon got home from work, we had dinner, celebrated Mo, and then Jon took Jackson outside to throw the football around.  My mother-in-law pulled me aside.  "I'm concerned about Jon.  He doesn't get bad headaches like he did last weekend.  Why don't you take him to the ER while we're here and can watch the kids.  I know he won't go if I (his mom) tell him to.  But if you can persuade him to go, I think he will listen to you.  You might as well just get him looked at."  I told her I didn't think I could convince him, but I'd try.  Jon's Pop then pulled me aside.  "Mary Ann is really concerned about Jon and how sick he was this past weekend.  And she's not going to rest until she knows he's ok.  Which means I won't get to rest either.  ;)  If you can get him to go to the ER, it would give her peace of mind."  The 3 of us broached the subject with Jon between football tosses with Jackson.  He thought it was the silliest idea.  "I'm going to the ER because of a head ache?  No way.  So lame.  Besides, I'm not spending $100 to go to the ER." (money was very tight)  Jon’s parents ended up leaving… and returning after 10 minutes. They had driven to the ATM and arrived back on our doorstep, handed Jon a $100 bill, and said, “Just go. We’ll watch the kids.”  On the way to the hospital, Jon and my conversation went like this:

Jon: What am I supposed to say when we get there?  My mom made me come because I got a headache?  
Me: Well, let’s tell them about the head ache and the vomiting. And you should also mention your hearing loss in your right ear. (For several months, Jon had noticed he had hearing loss in his right ear.  Because he wears in-ear monitors to lead worship several times a week, he thought he had blown out one of his eardrums.)
Jon: OK. I’ll tell them that.  I guess I could also tell them that for the past week, the right side of my face has felt kinda numb and tingly.  
Me: (eyeballs HUGE, freaking out inside, but staying totally cool and calm on the outside) Um, ya. I guess you could mention that too.  I didn't know about that.  (Seriously babe!? Why haven’t you mentioned that?!)  
Jon: I think I just need to eliminate gluten or dairy and my tingly face will go away.  People say that fixes everything.  

We arrived at the ER and as we walk in, Jon told the doctor how embarrassed he is for being there just for a headache…but his mom is making him come.  :)  He told the doctor of the headaches and vomiting… of the hearing loss and the numb face.  The doctor decided to do a CT scan.  Then before doing the scan, the doctor had Jon pull on his arm with each hand.  
“Are you left handed?” He asked Jon.  
“Nope.  Right handed.”  
“Hmm.. that’s interesting.  Because your left arm is stronger than your right arm.”
“There’s no way.  My right arm is definitely stronger.” Jon told him.
“OK let’s try again.”  (has Jon pull on his arms again)  “Nope, your right arm is definitely weaker.”  (then has Jon push against him with each leg)  “Your right leg is too.  Your right side is definitely weaker than your left.  I’m going to do an MRI.  No, I’m going to do an MRI with contrast.  Let’s get an IV in you and get this going.”

I snapped this pic of him in our ER room... before he was wheeled away for tests.



From there, it all happened so fast and so slow all at the same time.
They wheeled Jon back to the MRI room.  I walked behind him.  They took him into the room.  I sat in the tiny MRI waiting room.  And waited. And waited.  I posted on Facebook, asking for prayer.  I wasn't sure if I was being dramatic by asking for prayer or if I was being wise.  I'm sure everything would be fine.  I heard the technician ask Jon why he had come in tonight.  Hmm.. That’s interesting.  Maybe he didn’t see anything on the scan, so was curious what brought him in.   Jon was soon being wheeled back to our room in the ER and we sat there, waiting to be discharged.  After a little while, the ER doctor walked into our room, closed the door behind him, and sat down.  “I have good news and I have bad news.  The good news is you don’t have meningitis or a brain aneurysm.  I thought it could have been either of those  things.  The bad news is, I found a massive tumor in your brain.  You are not going home.  You are being admitted to Intensive Care Unit and you are going to be having brain surgery in the next 24 hours.  I am so sorry.”  Shock was our emotion.  Jon asked when he’d be out of the hospital.  He told them he was hosting the National Worship Leader Conference on Friday.  He wanted to know if he’d be out by then.  It was a big weekend for him, he explained.  They were gracious and gently told him he should probably cancel that.  

Can’t talk right now. Will try to call in the next 20 minutes. Please pray. Jon has a tumor on his brain. Getting admitted to ICU tonight. Probably having brain surgery in next 24 hours.”   This the text I sent to my family at 11:58pm on October 1, 2013.  

I slipped into the hallway and made those middle of the night phone calls you never want to make or receive.  Jon was wheeled up to the ICU where he was told basically to not move.  He wasn’t even allowed to walk to the bathroom.  The doctor pulled me aside. “You must get some sleep tonight.  I know that sounds crazy right now.  But tomorrow you are going to get A LOT of information.  Jon will not be able to process it all.  It will be up to YOU to listen and make decisions.  If you don’t sleep, all you will hear is “Wah..wah..wah..”  You need a clear mind.  Sleep.”  I couldn’t begin to even process what he was saying - How would I possibly process tomorrow’s information?  By now it was 2am.  I tucked Jon into his bed at ICU and drove home to gather some of his belongings.  I pulled into our driveway.  Crap.  The kids.  What will I tell the kids?  Jon’s parents were on our couch.  They said they would spend the night.  I walked up the stairs.  Jon blesses each of our kids every night before bed.  I walked into each child’s room while they slept and said the blessing.  “May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you.  May He lift up His countenance to you and bring you peace. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”  4 times over. I cried each time.  I cannot do this alone.  What if this is what my life looks like from now on?  Will Jon ever make it home?  I crawled into my bed.  I had to lay down.  And I had to be here for the kids when they woke in the morning.  They had to hear it from me.  What would I tell them?  Why wasn’t daddy home?  What was going to happen to daddy?  I had no answers.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

We're Out of the Waiting Room!!!

For 1 year, 11 months, and 15 days, Jon and I have been in a Waiting Room. Not physically, although we’ve definitely sat in our fair share of those.  We’ve been in the Waiting Room of life.  I have blogged about it. I have talked about it. I have been thankful for it.  I have complained about it. I have been patient and I have been impatient. I have had excited anticipation and I’ve been annoyed.  I have felt the full range of emotions about this room.  This room where we have been invited to wait and trust.  And seek and listen.  We have spent much of our time in the Waiting Room on our knees.  We have sat in silence, longing to hear even a whisper of what God would reveal to us.  And He did.  He continued to say, “Wait patiently.”  Sometimes I received that beautifully.  Other times I rejected it, kicking and screaming.  Do you know how frustrating it is to want to move on in life but instead, you hear, “Wait.”  Let alone, “Wait patiently”!??!  The nerve. ;)  But He continued to speak the same thing.  And when I’d think that he had forgotten about measly little us, sitting in the Waiting Room, He would show up.  He would reveal His presence and remind us of His sovereignty.  He would reassure.  He’s so gracious like that.  

And so we continued to wait.  Sometimes patiently.  Sometimes not-so-patiently.  But incredibly, we have not twiddled our thumbs in the Waiting Room.  No, God was kind enough to give us ‘work’ to do there.  He used us in the Waiting Room.  How gracious He is.  

And then not only did He use us, but he taught us.  He taught us about what any good dad or mom would: our posture.  Like a mom who is constantly reminding her child to sit up straight.  Or a dad who is reminding his child to make eye contact.  Our Father taught us the importance of our hands.  Think about the most precious thing you own.  Now imagine being able to hold it in your hands. Would you want to hold it loosely? No way!  You wouldn’t want to risk it being dropped or broken or stolen.  You would hold it tight and close to you. You would protect it with all that you are.   Well God, in his incredible upside down economy, invited us to do the opposite of what our instincts told us.  Our instincts said, “We’ve lost a lot. We better hold on to whatever we have left!  We better take what we have in our hands and really protect it and try to make the most out of it.”  Everything in our world says that is the smart way to live.  And yet God invited us pry our tight fisted grip wide open.  Not just a little, like a loose grip. But full-on hands opened wide, fingers flat, palms facing up.  “Leave your palms up.  Lay everything you have in your hands.  Everything you love.  Everything you hate.  Every secret hope and every extravagant dream.  Put it in your hands and leave your hands open.  Trust that I will take out of your hands what you don’t need and put into your hands what you do.” His voice was so clear.

And so that’s what we did.  We waited. And we waited.  Palms up. Hands open wide.  And there were times when the Waiting Room door was cracked open.  And we thought we heard our name being called.  Job opportunities, ministry invitations.. they came and we asked, “God, was that our name being called?  Is this what you’re putting in our hands?”  “Wait patiently,” was His response. Yet again and again.   

And then a few weeks ago, we heard it.  Loud and clear.  “Ramsay Family!  Ramsay, Jon Ramsay!”  We were invited out of the Waiting Room!  It was so surreal.  You want to know exactly how I heard this?  (it was different for Jon and I.. but this was my experience)  I was in church worshiping - singing a song I know and love.  And as I was singing, I had my hands directly in front of me - wide open, with palms facing up... Singing a song of surrender and following God.  Singing the same words and in the same posture I had been for almost 2 years.  And as I was lost in the music, with my heart totally surrendered, my hands all of a sudden felt heavy.  I know.  This is crazy talk, right?  I’m just telling you what happened.  My opened hands, palms facing up, felt a physical weight on them.  And right then I heard, “You have waited on me.  You have lived your life open handed.  I have now put something in your hands.  Go.  Your next season starts now.”  

A few days later, Jon was officially offered an incredible job.  We took time to pray over it.  God confirmed this was it.  And so after 16 years as a pastor, and 6 years on staff at Mariners Church, and 2 years after a brain tumor stripped him of the ability to do what he has always vocationally done, Jon resigned and accepted a position with the non-profit “I Like Giving.”  He also is going to seminary at Talbot to get his masters in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care.  Wow.  Crazy.  Amazing.  These are the words that come to mind.   It’s been 8 days since we left the Waiting Room.  8 days of fun and excitement and passion and gratitude.  8 days of reflecting on God’s faithfulness. His sovereignty.  His goodness.  His loving care.  Wow.  Crazy.  Amazing.

If you are in the Waiting Room, know that you are not alone.  God is there with you.  He will use you.  He will teach you.  He will bless you.  He won’t be early in calling you out of there but he also won’t be late.  And if you hear an odd sounding voice that doesn’t quite sound right to you, and you see the door cracked open a little bit, and a name is called that kind of sounds like yours but it’s pronounced wrong and it’s misspelled on your file?  It’s not for you!  Don’t settle.  Don’t jump at the first thing that you think will rescue you from the season of Waiting.  Be patient.  (And when you can’t be patient, know that God’s grace covers it. Trust me.  I know.)  :)  And when the time is right, your name will be called.  And boy will it be worth the wait.  His love for you is personal.  His knowledge of you is intimate.  His gifts for you are good.  And when He calls you out, you won’t just see the door cracked open a tiny bit.  The Waiting Room doors will swing wide open!   And you can walk out of there, confident that He who began a good work in you was faithful to complete it.

Amen and amen.