Monday, June 23, 2014

Changing Seasons

For some of you, I have emailed or called and have been keeping you updated on what’s going on in my life. The rest of you have been pretty much in the dark about all of it. I’m sorry!

I guess I should start at the beginning.

Last year, my parents (and several of us older children) felt the Lord leading in a different direction. Our family ministry had been growing, and we were getting invited to many more places to sing and preach (Daddy preaching, of course). Most of our singing opportunities were in Mississippi, and spreading out from that area. We began to feel God starting pushing us in the direction of full-time ministry.

Of course there were several things that had to be sorted out. First was our church, and God worked that out in an amazing way. He started moving the different families in our church in different directions as well, so the official last Sunday was actually a blessing to pretty much everyone.

Secondly, we were not only going into full-time ministry, but God wanted us to move to that central location, in Mississippi! Last month, our house sold, and the signing of the purchase agreement is set for July 3rd. Everything has gone super smoothly with all the papers, transportation, and everything. God had already allowed us to purchase a place in Mississippi, so all of us are going to squeeze into a tiny single-wide trailer until we get our house built.

God has been providing us with more and more ministry opportunities, and we have already been on the road more in the past year than we have ever been!

In the midst of all of this, God was starting to work His own plan in my life. To begin with, I naturally assumed I would be going with my family, doing what they do, etc. There is NOTHING I enjoy more than getting to sing and minister with my family.

I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but I started to feel like I was somehow going to be left behind to watch my family move forward. I’ll admit, I wasn’t exactly happy about it! I told a friend at the beginning of this year, “Something big is going to happen, I’m not sure what, but it would have to be either marriage or college!” I was half in jest, half serious. Little did I know…

For a short time, my sister was considering doing an on-line college, so my mom applied for PELL grants for the both of us. The only problem with me doing it was that there was no degree available that I felt led to do. I didn’t exactly want to do college just to do it!

Then at three different points in time, my daddy mentioned the community college that is not even ten minutes from our place in Mississippi. I started looking into it, and then at Mississippi State. NEVER would I have imagined I would be GOING to college, much less a secular college! But God started opening first one door, then the other. Then, before I knew it, there was nothing but green lights. The degree that God literally placed in my lap was Agricultural Informative Science with concentrations in Agricultural Leadership.  I would also be minoring in Music (Big surprise, huh?). I will be starting out at the community college, and then if God continues to keep the doors open, will transfer to Mississippi State to finish up my degree.
I was kind of excited, kind of nervous. I used to want to go to college years ago, for the wrong reasons, so I was so nervous about pushing ahead of God and not following His leading. So God has actually had to push me at times!

A couple weeks ago I was lying in my bed thinking about everything that God had worked out, then I began to think about the purpose of the degree I was getting. Sure, I always had loved plants and animals, and I loved working with them, and teaching others about them. The problem wasn’t with the degree, but I honestly couldn’t see how this degree could be used as a means of ministry or teaching others about God and encouraging them in their walk with Him. I mean, in the past I had taught a couple classes to homeschoolers about the garden, and tied in an object lesson from God’s Word, but I wasn’t quite sure about the BIG picture. I was awake until one o’clock thinking about it. God brought me to a point that night where I had to just place it in His hands and decide to keep walking forward as long as He opened doors, even if I couldn’t see His plans.

The very next day I was looking up some gardening info for someone, and I stumbled across a site, Intrigued, I read some posts, then some more, then some more. He had a book he had written, and I ordered it. When it came in Friday, I read the entire thing that evening. It was like nothing I had ever read before. (Interesting note here: For the past week, I had been looking up references in the Bible about gardens, vineyards, plowing, etc. anything related to gardening, so I was already familiar with several of the passages he was using.) It talked about gardening from a whole different perspective, God’s Word. True, I may not have agreed with every little detail, but it was enough to give me the push I needed.
I have also recently watched some videos that proclaim the glory of God’s creation through different animals. Since my focus is both plants and animals, God really used it to speak to my heart in a special way. God has a way that He will use whatever I learn for His glory and Kingdom work. I just have to be faithful in studying and searching His Word for it, and waiting for the opportunities He brings my way.

So, I’m going to college, Lord willing. I’m still waiting for God to bring something else up and change the plans :-D, but so far He hasn’t. I would be fine either way, but I am now starting to get excited about learning, and am looking forward to what God will teach me in this new chapter of my life.

I think the most difficult thing for me during this transition hasn’t been about the move, leaving my friends, or even about going to college, but about not being able to participate in the family ministry. In the past nine months God has brought me to a place where I dove into our ministry whole-heartedly, holding nothing back, and I LOVED it! There is nothing that brings me more joy than when I am standing with my best friends (my siblings) at my side, singing praise and glory to our precious Lord.

Sure, I’ll still be able to go and sing with them at times, but I will not have the flexibility or freedom to go everywhere with them. God had to bring me to a place where I surrendered being a part of the family ministry to Him. God had brought me to a point where I loved ministering with my family more than anything, and now He wanted me to give it back to Him. With many tears and much pain, I did. I still have a little pang when I think about it, but am now looking forward to the plans God has for me, be it college or something else. Never did I think I would be going in a different direction than my family, but I want to be faithful in following God’s will for my own life.

I would greatly appreciate your prayers for myself and for my family as we go through this time together, and follow the Lord’s leading to be all that He wants us to be. May we be pure reflections of His holiness as we go about in His strength!

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