Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Always too early to say goodbye

Last week, we were in Nashville for the last time before we move to Panama. It was a filled week of getting things checked off our list and meeting with people. We have been blessed to have the relationships that we have had as a couple. Wednesday night there was a party for us, and it was awesome to see so many people and observing everyone enjoying each other. One of my thoughts the next day was that it was a small taste of heaven. Loved ones all around, fellowshiping. Then I realized that I wasn't coming close to doing heaven justice. We will be in the presence of our Lord, praising him and I feel we will not have a care about the people around us. It was tough to say "see you later" to so many people that have been playing a key role in our lives. I was thinking about how our parents always talk about the stories of those from when we were first married. That Nashville group will always be in that role. We have been doing a lot of life together the past few years. From newly married, multiple kids, working and job changes, 242, small groups, Christmas Parties, first houses, trips together, and birthday parties. So many memories. I can't wait to see when and where we meet up together again.

Thursday, we got to spend the day up in Clarksville with my nieces, and Paige and Nate. It was a great day of watching all the girls play and getting to visit. Then one of the times, that I most dreaded came. We had to say "see you later" Now this was hard as I love my sister and her family, and I knew that it may be awhile before we live near each other again as Nate is in the Army. Ro thanks God for her cousins every time she prays. My prayer is that we are intentional and creative in keeping that love for her cousins up.

So the departure is quickly approaching. I can't wait, to get busy doing the work that I am supposed to do down in Panama. We are busy working on our support letters and closing up shop here in the US. The last week was definitely a dreaded hurdle. I wish we had more time with everyone not only in the next couple weeks but in general. Relationships is what makes this life worth living. I wish I was better at them. I know we have eternity, and we will see each other before then.

Please pray for new relationships for all of us. Not to replace, but to add to so that we may increase our ministry.

Here is a verse that is my prayer in this new position of teacher/ coach/ athletic director.

1 Peter 5:2 -4

Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's OK to cry

Sunday we all piled in our Envoy (filled with gas for those of you worried about previous excursions!) We picked up Drew and Ellie from the airport. They were coming from doing all the music for Young Life at the camp, Crooked Creek. They had just a little time to do a few things before driving to another Young Life camp, Windy Gap to be continuing with music.
We had an hour and a half with them before saying good-bye. As we drove off and gave our final waves. Ro and Essie began arguing over having the music on or off. (I am not going to tell you who I wanted to side with, although I will tell you that the WEE SING CD has 62 Bible songs!) I caught myself getting irritated with Ro with how she was responding and realizing that I was irritated bc I don't like saying good-bye. I was trying to explain to her what compromising was when she just said, "Mommy, I want to go home." I told her that our new home was in Panama and we weren't there yet. She responded telling me that she did not want to go to Panama, she wanted to go to our house. I explained to her that in the same way that she sold her toys at our garage sale for others to enjoy, that mommy and daddy did the same with our home. I explained that it was very hard to do and some days I wish I hadn't given my house away but that I knew that the Lord has a special blessing for us for being obedient even when its hard to obey. She continued to get angry and then I realized that it wasn't the house she was sad about, it was that we were saying goodbye to Uncle Drew and Aunt Ellie.
I asked her if she was sad because we said goodbye to them and she nodded. I told her that it was OK to be sad. It was OK to cry. At this point she burst into tears and had her fingers in her mouth trying to hold back her sobs. I gave her a Chic Fil A napkin and she wiped away her tears and continued to cry for a few minutes and eventually pulled herself together.
I told her, "Mommy knows exactly how you feel."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

10 Years

Some of you knew him, some of you have heard of him, all of you would have loved him.
Last night as I crawled into bed, I remembered where I was ten years ago. I texted two of my brothers and said, "I wish is was 1998." I can do math, that was 11 years ago. That was when my other brother Jay was here.
Ten years ago today we gave Jay back to his Creator. Many of you know the story well.
I will tell you that there has been a looming gloom in my soul but also, a greater joy knowing I will greet him and our Savior one day.
In the car on Saturday our three year old asked me to keep telling her about her Uncle Jay. (Its painful to write that, I don't think I have ever seen it written. He is very much her Uncle and probably would have been my children's biggest fan.) It has been fun to recount my steps with him to her. All day today I could hear his struggling voice speaking out of the sides of his mouth as if to tell a secret or a joke!
I think of him everyday. There will always be a hole in my heart, someone missing, someone who can never be replaced. This hole is usually bound up but when the wind blows hard enough I can feel literal pain and I feel riped open.
Ten years goes by fast, time heals, memories come and go, dreams are precious. Sometimes I think I can smell him or hear him. This year has been more memorable though, because now I have children who want and need to know their Uncle Jay. I am loving remembering him!

Psalm 147:3

"He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds."

I am thankful to have a Lord who heals and binds me. I hope you know the comfort of letting the Heavenly Father bind you up!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Running out of Gas in Belle Meade...with a Uhaul

Thought you all would like to have a visual of a typical Richardson day lately.
On Tuesday we left Marietta, Georgia with a Uhaul. Loaded down with more stuff...it keeps following us around. Nathan has unloaded and loaded the car 7 times in 8 days and now we have a Uhaul going to pick up the last load in Franklin to haul to Memphis. We both are so weary of taking trips back and forth that the Uhaul would get it all. 
We stop in Franklin to load up with only a few errands before continuing on to Memphis for the final stop. We decide to hit up Chick fil A, our only fast food stop due to gluten allergies. Nathan tells me to look up Chick Fil A on my phone and I hardly ever do it correctly the first time...that is a whole different story. 
We get off on the Bellvue exit following the directions to Chick Fil A. We cannot find it and end up in Belle Meade and right as we are crossing in front of the Belle Meade Mansion the Envoy begins to tucker out on us. There is no where to pull over and remember we have a Uhaul and the power steering goes out. 
Those of you who know me well know that when I get nervous I giggle. I have a hard time controlling the giggling and especially the more frustrated Nathan gets, the more I giggle and the more I giggle, the more frustrated Nathan becomes. We begin coastin down a hill with an up hill just in front of us. There is multiple comments from the back seat peanut gallerey, quickly hushed not by thier giggling mother! We manage to restart the car again hoping to make it just a bit further. I spot a Shell station in the distance. We tuckered out again. Nathan put it in park and got out of the car with about 20 cars behind us, he does not utter a word as he gets out of the car and begins a jog to the shell station. 
I just giggled straight ahead as cars angrily wiggled around us. Nathan made it back with a gas can and humbly stood out in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the South filling up our car, clearly out of place!
We made it back to the interstate and hour and half later, no Chick Fil A but with a full tank of gas, a funny story, at least to me (maybe Nathan will laugh about it soon,) and another chapter to the story that leaves us one day closer to Panama! We did find out that the Chick Fil A was in the mall that is now closed down! At least we are preparing for Panama and no Chick Fil A!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sold (part 2)

We posted a blog about two months ago announcing the joy of our house selling. What we have come to find out is that "offers" and "signing on the dotted line" are two different things. The dotted line has been signed and it was a huge effort put forth by many!

For those of you who do not know the details of how we got from the offer to the dotted line I will tell you that it has been one of the most agonizing situations we have been through as a couple. Nothing tries your marriage and your flesh like selling a house!

When we moved into the house ten months ago I never felt a peace about it being mine. Every trip down the street home and everytime I looked up at my trey ceiling and wiped down the granite countertops I would ask the Lord, "please don't take this house away from me; I love it." Everytime that I asked, I heard the reply, "I am going to take this house from you Clare." Well, the house is no longing in our name and not only did the Lord take it from me, He made (I say made like a 2 year old dragging her heels in defiance,) he made me GIVE it away.

Most of you reply when I tell of our home selling, "That is AWESOME!" I am continueing to remind myself of the miracle in selling it, not in the amount sold.

Other than the prayers of so many of you and the helping hands of some as well...thank you Thomas and Paige especially.....the only peace I have found is in my Jesus.

I had three hours in the car by myself last week and put in an old mix of music I found in our "moving." (I also found Whitney Houstons Dance Mix, I am saving that one for another solo trip, Nathan can't take it, it is right on up there with Celine Dion's Power of Love for him!) On this cd was a some old hymns that were honey to my soul. Some of you know them, but the one that I keep humming is "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." It has given me such joy and such deep peace knowing who my Friend is and I want to share it with you.

"What A Friend We Have In Jesus"

"What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privelege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All bc we do not carry everything to God in prayer."

"Have we trials and temptaions? Is there trouble any where?
We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer."

"Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our Refuge-Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He'll take and shield thee, thou wild find a solace there."

My solace is in the Lord. As much as I hate to admit it, I love my things. The things being my house, my things in my house, my places I like to shop, the places I like to eat. All these things are sold or in my friends houses (beautifully displayed I might add) some things stored away, all these places will change, but what will not change is the Friend I have in Jesus.

Also, on a very important side note, many of you have asked how you may support us and why you have not recieved a letter....well, we have been one step behind ourselves and will hopefully get them out in the next two weeks so you may have more specifics about what we are doing, how we are going to do it and anything else! We are making our way to Panama...ONE STEP AT A TIME!

Praise God for His Faithfulness!