Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On our way to Nineveh.

Ever since I was a child I knew that I was destined for incredible things. Of course, in my young mind, those things were greatly romanticized and exaggerated. I pictured myself writing best sellers, traveling the world staying just a few steps behind adventure, intrigue, and international wars, and then coming home to spin the stories for others to read. I saw myself dancing, singing, acting, writing, painting- you name it- and I was proficient at pretty much everything I set my heart on. Of course, as a child I did not put much thought into how I would become proficient at any of it, I just somehow thought I would be. Somehow I thought these grand things would make a difference and I thought that I would have to achieve these things to be a somebody. The thing is, anybody can be great. Anybody can do great things, and it doesn't require becoming famous or inventing new technology. World changers are regular people living regular lives. Our heritage is in our relationships, not our accomplishments. We can make the biggest impact by just living our lives, loving others, and doing our best to make this world a little nicer of a place to live in.
I may have once had grandiose ideas of what I was called to do and be in life, but what I ended up becoming was much greater than I could have imagined.
When I was a teenager my dreams of becoming a figure skater or an astronaut had faded into seeking after what God's call on my life was. Being surrounded by so many strong Christian people who loved me and learning all I could about what the Bible had to say about God's call, I felt that I was perhaps called of God to become a missionary. I was beginning to feel conflicted, however. I wanted to be a part of that Great Commission.
Matthew 28:18-20 "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen." (NIV)
This is reinforced in Mark as well. Mark 16:15 simply says, "And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." (NAS)
So, I knew I had to tell other people about God and his love for us. And the logical thing for me to do was enroll in a Bible college and fulfill that call. I pictured myself living the remote jungles of a country whose name I couldn't pronounce, running an orphanage and school, teaching those children about the love of God. But for some reason I still felt the draw toward writing and acting. And in my mind at that point in my life I figured I couldn't do both. It was either one or the other. I could either stay in the states and write novels or I could travel abroad and be a missionary.
Off to Bible school I went. And boy, was I miserable. I struggled to fit into this new world of all or nothing. It seemed that no matter what I did, there was always something I was doing wrong and nothing was ever good enough. Whether these were expectations that I was putting on myself or expectations others put on me, it did not matter. I was struggling to understand what it was I needed to be doing and why I even went to that school. Life was not easy at that point in my life and I was quickly learning who I was and what I wanted out of life- and yes, what God even wanted for me- even if other people disagreed or did not see it. I had to take my life in my own hands and do the unexpected. I admit that the choices I made that followed this revelation were rash and mostly built on extreme emotions, nor would I recommend that for anyone.
So, here I was, in the heart of my first year at Bible College, dragging my feet and wanting to run the other way. The thing with the Great Commission is, it was instructions for all the world- not part of it. A person does not have to go to the far reaches of Africa and preach to remote tribes to fulfil the Call of God on their life. We can look in our own backyards. I also learned that being set apart did not mean isolate myself. I could still go to movies with my friends or listen to the music I liked, even if it wasn't always Newsboys, but sometimes the Beatles. I could still do theatre and write stories and make a difference in the lives of my friends. I began to adopt the ideas of St Francis of Assisi, "Preach the gospel to every creature, and if necessary, use words" and Mother Theresa, "If you judge people, then you have no time to love them." Powerful words from powerful people. But, God was not done with me yet.
In another twist of fate, I dropped out of Bible college. Actually, I purposely failed out. There were reasons, and some of them were ugly and not very wise, but there you have it. I failed out on purpose. I threw myself into a job and community theatre. I spent as much of my time with Seth, as at that point in my life, he was one of the few people that actually understood why I did what I did. I think that while other people didn't understand, and even some were disappointed in me, they all knew that sometimes people need to make mistakes in order to learn from them and grow. And that is what I was doing.
And then the trade towers in NYC were attacked by terrorists. I was making deliveries when I heard it on the radio. I thought it was some sick joke the morning show on the Oldies station was playing until I got to the dentist office I was delivering to and saw the surreal images of the second plane hitting the second building. About a month later Seth and I were married and a month after that Seth was off to boot camp and our lives would forever be changed. We were 20 years old, still trying to figure out life, but not wanting to do it alone.
And then I became a mother. This was a far cry from my lofty dreams of my childhood. I was changing diapers and cuddling an infant. And the words of Pastor David at my high school graduation ceremony came flooding back. He said, "The thing I like about you, Crystal, is that you get it." You get it. I had forgotten he had said that. I got what the Bible had to say, I got what this life was about. I got it. "And at the risk of scaring you half to death, you will be able to teach it to your children." I can't remember the exact words of what else he had said, but yea, he did scare me when he talked of me becoming a mother. But, here I was, a mother. And I had forgotten what it was that I got. So, here was a new plan before me. To be the best mother I could be and teach my children about God and his love. I was to raise a child to be a good member of society and what it means to be a follower of God. And it would begin with me cuddling that small little baby girl.
But life hasn't always been easy. Seth and I had been through a mess of our own troubles. We made mistakes together and learned and grew from those mistakes. I sought after God for comfort and guidance, and had long forgotten that there was ever a call on my life. Seth struggled in his own way, and even found himself running from God.
We found ourselves at a crossroads, both hurting. I was ready to give up, and I felt that my years of praying had gone unanswered. Seth was ready to fight for us. It seemed as if our positions had been reversed, but I conceded and we worked hard and got help. I had found that I was much like Jonah and that I was now in my very own proverbial whale learning hard lessons about myself and revelations about God's love and compassion. What I had not yet realized was that Seth was in the middle of his own Jonah story. He had been called of God a long time ago for great things, but had been running ever since. How is it that we were in the same story, but had no idea?
His fish was the ship he was stationed on. It was full of challenges and temptations, and the perfect place to hide from God. While I threw myself back into musical theater, and even enrolled in college in pursuit of a degree in psychology, Seth found himself suddenly in a position of spiritual leadership. He had become the Lay Leader aboard the ship, running Sunday services and a Bible study for his shipmates. Seth. There was a change in his life. A huge one. My prayers were finally being answered. We were getting stronger as a couple. And our focus was starting to be back where it should be.
Then the time came again where we needed to put in the request for our next duty station. My heart longed to be back on the Cape. Seth was not as convinced, but after praying about it, we put that as our first choice. We were told it was unlikely that he would get a repeat station, especially after spending the last 7 years in New England. And yet, here we are. We got the Cape again, and were back among friends. We got plugged into our church. Seth got involved in an internship program at the church and admitted that he felt we were back here for a big reason, but that he wasn't sure what it was.
Over the last year we faced some tough things, but nothing can derail us of what purpose God has for us. Something happens when God's people start listening and making choices based on what God wants for us. Satan hates it, and will do everything in his power to stop it. He likes to sew doubt and discord, but no matter what circumstances- from hospital visits, swine flu, and financial struggles, we have put our faith and trust in God. And through it all, God has carried us and led us through. Satan tried to sabotage friendships before they even had a chance to begin, but he failed. He failed miserably. Those friendships have not only budded, they have blossomed into a whole freaking rain forest.
Then I ran into some troubles with my school in regards to graduation. I had to wait and wait before I could finish my program and graduate. I am still waiting, actually, but plan on focusing on God all the while. The timing couldn't have been better. That Something Big that we knew God brought us to the Cape for as finally showed itself. I am returning to Bible College. This time I will be attending Forestdale Bible Institute and earning my Bachelors in Ministry. The purpose is to someday use my education and knowledge in counseling for those who need it. The call on my life is to make a difference, and that is huge. I believe we are all called to make a difference. The trick is being able to understand that we are not all called to be inventors or to write the Great American Novel (I think Twain pretty much beat us all to the punch anyway), but we are all called to interact with other people. This is where the difference comes in. God wants me to make a difference. I can do that. My ministry can work hand in hand with whatever Seth's ministry calling is too. It is hard to see where this will lead us, but it looks like it might be along the lines of church planting. Who knows. We are attending Bible college together and finally answering separate calls of God on our lives, but in a unified manner. This time, no matter how scared I get, I am not running. I will not focus on what other people think I need to do, nor will I put unrealistic expectations on myself. No one belongs on a pedestal- its a hard long fall from up there. I know this all too well. So here I am, real and exposed, doing my best as a flawed human to follow a perfect God. Our ministry will be for regular people by regular people, living the extraordinary lives that God intended. Crazy how things come full circle.
Some people believe in destiny or fate. I personally believe that it is our job to forge our own fates or destiny. I believe that God has given us free will, but the trick is, what do we do with that? I believe God has a plan for every single person, but  because we are people with free will, we might not always choose to go in the direction that God has intended. The neat thing about it is, however, that for those of us who are faithful in seeking after God, he can set us right, or at least make good things come out of not so good situations. This is clear in Romans 8:28: "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (NLT) People are flawed and sometimes make poor choices and selfish decisions, but ultimately we can learn from them. Perhaps these things that make up our life stories and testimonies can be tools to connect to other people. Perhaps the mistakes we make and the troubles we find ourselves overcoming can ultimately bring others to God. So, perhaps this is our ultimate calling or purpose. Perhaps we are put on this earth to live our lives and be human, making mistakes and learning from them, so that other people can see how God can work and change lives; so that other people can have a relationship with God too.

Here we are, on our way to Nineveh.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Forestdale Fall Festival

To Blave...I mean, True Love

There is a place that is unlike any other I have ever visited or lived in. There is something special about it, and I think that no matter where I shall travel or move in this life, this one place will forever hold my heart. Curious why? It's the people. The people on this small crook that jets out into the sea, located in the Northeastern part of the United States. It might be unassuming to some, and an Oceanside escape to others, but for me it is another world entirely. The people here are wonderful. I have so many wonderful people in my life, and there are precious few that I have stumbled upon that are truly kindred spirits. I love that I have many wonderful people that mean the world to me spread out all over New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and quite honestly all over the world. But here, on Cape Cod, I am literally surrounded by kindred spirits. These people not only accept me for who I am, but they join in the geekery wholeheartedly. And today, I spent a perfect day revelling in Autumn goodness and comradery with these people. This, my friends, is known as Forestdale Fall Festival. And I love it. Here are some pictures my friend Lizzie took today of all the fun we had.

Making a Balloon Swan

Rowan instructing me in the art of Balloon Sculpting (it had been years since I have done this.)

Awesome Bounce House and Obstacle Course

Getting ready to race Hilary

She won. Only because my zipper got stuck...

Rowan and Hilary making Balloon animals.

Sammy watching Nathan hula.

Trophy anyone?

Pie Eating Contest

I'm Special... ;)

Monday, October 4, 2010

My string of treasures just keeps getting longer!

The longer I am on Cape Cod, the more I love it here. I have been blessed by God to be a part of a very wonderful church full of loving people who accept and love me for who I am. I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who adores me, even though sometimes I don't deserve it. I have been blessed with two very adorable, intelligent, and loving children. I love my parents and treasure them both for many many different reasons. I love each of my brothers and sisters independently and collectively. And I have the most amazing wonderful women in my "travelling party." So, when my insecurities of not being accepted or my fears of being alone rear their ugly heads, all I need to do is look around to realize that I am not alone and that I am loved for me. And all I need to do to be grateful is to look up and thank God for all his wonderful blessings.
One of the most recent of these blessings was the opportunity to attend the Beth Moore conference in Lowell. I think something like 27 women from our church went, and several women from another local church, not to mention a group from my church in NH. I was overwhelmed as we sat in the Tsongas Arena, rainy and cold outside, and wet and cold inside (we were sitting on the ice), that something like 2,800 women had gathered there from all over the country and Canada.
For those of you who were not there, try to imagine 2,800 women of faith gathered in one room. Try to imagine what 2,800 feminine voices would sound like in unison singing love songs to our God. That is a powerful and beautiful thing. Worship was amazing, spellbinding, and beautiful. What was more amazing was when Beth Moore stepped onto the platform to speak.
I love Beth Moore's Bible studies. She always has such insight. She speaks truths and she has a way of showing a girl how to dig deep within her soul to find truth, healing, and God's love. And I was, sitting in a cold wet arena, listening to her speak live. I had no idea what to expect, but was sure that it would likely bring me to tears.
I was a bit surprised that by the end of the first night I had not shed a tear other than at the beauty of so many women singing praises and worship to God. I loved what she spoke on, but I did not really feel a stirring in my spirit. Not yet.
But I was just so refreshed and happy to be there. My kids were excited about being home with just Daddy for once, which surprised me. Not because they dislike Daddy- they love him- but because they always cling to me. And I was surprised that Seth was excited about the weekend too. He was confident he could handle things like cooking and bathing and dressing the children. He sent me off with a kiss and a "Go learn something!" And here I was, off with my amazing friends, no stress or anxiety over Seth and the kids, and open to learning and discovering new things about God and myself.
I was disappointed at first that I didn't get my roommate request of Hannah, but in the end, I was ecstatic at the opportunity of bonding with two very amazing women, Larissa and Donna. My Roomies were awesome. We had some good laughs and I look forward to spending more time with both of these women.
It was nearly 1 am on Friday that we were finally dozing off, all exhausted from our busy lives and our current adventure to the BMC.
I fell asleep thinking on all of the wonderful things Beth had spoken about, finding our treasures, letting down our defenses, and how our treasures can bring us healing. Beautiful encouraging words.
Apparently I talk in my sleep. I know that some of my siblings talk in their sleep, it use to be a source of great amusement for me. And I had heard that Seth talks in his sleep after he had a particularly disturbing dream of the robot Gideon our school had built several years before. I have never actually witnessed him talking in his sleep, nor he me, although he tells me that I snore very loudly. I believe him too, as sometimes my snores will even wake me up. But, never had there been any record of me talking in my sleep until now.
At breakfast Donna told me that at sometime around 3 am I had called out, "I have my Bible!" I think it is odd because I did not bring my Bible as I had one downloaded to my phone and thought we might need as much space in Cordelia as we could get. (I named my van Anne in salute to my literary counterpart, but the van prefers to be called Cordelia.) At least my mind was on good things when I fell asleep. I could have shouted out something more, uh... well, not about my Bible.
I rode with Donna to the arena that morning because the friends I had driven there all had to be up at the buttcrack of dawn. Yes, this is actually a phrase that frequents my household, and apparently one that had come up on Saturday morning when my friend Lizzie freaked her roomies out at 5 am when everything was entirely dark except the glow from her cell phone reflecting off her chin and apparently creepy grin. They all had a good laugh and someone mentioned that it was the Buttcrack of dawn.
What a powerful morning at the arena. We had decided to sit in the bleachers this time and it was much warmer and dryer out than the previous night. I still had not seen anyone from New Life (my NH church), but that was OK. I knew they were there and having just as much of a wonderful time as we were.
The morning was kicked off by yet another powerful Worship service. I so need to buy this guy's CD so I can listen to it all the time. So powerful. There was even women dancing on the floor below us, and that made me grin. It reminded me of home. These songs were mostly clapping songs too. :) I like me a good clapping song.
Again, Beth stepped onto the platform to share with us the rest of her message about treasuring. She talked about Mary, and how she treasured things in her heart. At one point that morning she went on this long tangent about her father. She shared a lot of feeling and pain and even healing. And every word she said I could relate to. And when she was done talking about him she paused for a moment and said that she didn't know why she told us all that, but that God did and that she hoped it resonated with someone in the crowd. And it did. It resonated with me. Every feeling she had, I knew. Even that part at the end, where she held her father's hand and told him she loved him and forgave him. I know my dad is not dead, but I love him. I know that sometimes things can be stiff or awkward with him, but I love him. I love that he calls me. I love that he emails me. I love that he chose me, raised me, and called him his own. Kind of reminds me of Someone else, actually. I could have so easily dismissed this as a treasure altogether, but I won't. This is one of my favorite treasures that I have on my string of treasures. I have been chosen by my dad and by God. And I can let go of the hurt that came from my biological father. I know that he has passed on, and that I have never actually met him, but I can forgive him and let him go. I have a dad. In fact, I have two dads. And I love that. It's a treasure.
After we got out of Beth Moore, we discovered that there were some people out there that were intent on "fixing" things that really did not need to be fixed. It is sad, really. Here we were at this amazing conference, among amazing women, and hearing amazing things from God, and Satan was trying to use something to derail the whole weekend. I saw people hurt by it, and it makes me sad. I saw a friend cry. I never want to ever see her that hurt again. It was not long before we clung to each other and our treasures and we were back on top again. I will pray for those people that are intent on sewing discourd and hurt. I will pray for strength and peace to those that have to deal with such things directed at them constantly. I will cling to something that Beth Moore said herself: It is not about uniformity, it is about unity.
Unity is what makes us strong. That's another treasure. That's one of those things that can bring healing and further God's kingdom. And even though there are people out there that have nothing better to do than judge others and hurt good wonderful people, we can rise above that.
I was blessed beyond words this weekend. Not only did I get to spend time with some precious friends, I bonded with some new ones. My wagon train has grown in so many ways, my string of treasures has too.
Colossians 2:3 "In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (NLT)

And she treasured these things...

I have been on this earth for 29 years. I remember mostly everything. It's scary really. I remember events, moments, people, places, and all in great detail. (Except for what I had for breakfast yesterday...weird.) For the longest time this has mostly been a curse, as I not only remembered, I held on tightly to a lot of the bad stuff. I don't really know why I do that, and if I ever had a prayer request for myself, it would be to please pray for me to let that crap go. I treasured up so many things, both good and bad, in my heart. I held onto them. Some of them make me smile, and some of them ache so much. And then there was Cape Cod...
Seth and I were stationed here about a year or so after we were married. Rylee was just a few months old. I was scared to move so far away. In retrospect, it is not so far away. But what did I know? So many of my friends stationed here are from California or Alaska. I need to stop complaining... I did not know what to expect.
The first two years we lived here, I was miserable. I was depressed. It was just hard and there was a lot of drama on our street and I was excluded and ridiculed. Home life was not much better.
Seth had his own set of troubles that he didn't quite know how to handle, and I was floundering. Often I would find myself in church without Seth, sitting in the nursery with Rylee, and never seeming to find someone to connect with. I felt so alone. I was plugged into several Bible studies and volunteered in the nursery, but all I ever got was "I'll call you" but no follow through.
I found that as time continued on, I was less and less motivated to go to church. It was just easier not to. No one ever seemed to notice anyway. Enter Hannah.
I must confess here that Hannah and her family moved in next door as a result of my lying. Yea. I totally lied. When I met her husband, he seemed nice and unassuming. I knew they would not be the type of people that would judge me. I thought, here is a chance to have someone on the block that would accept me and maybe even like me for who I was. I needed some people playing on my team for once. So, I lied. Not my proudest moment.
I told him that everyone got along. I told him the neighbor kids were nice. I told him that it was a great street to live on. None of that was true. They moved in. I had friends. And simply because they were fresh meat, they became the targets of the neighborhood bullies, and learned quickly that I had lied. But, because they are awesome sauce, they forgave me, and Hannah and I are best friends. And it did not bode well with her that I was going to church less and less.
It started with tagging along to a Bible Study with her at her church, Forestdale Baptist. I was cautious, but I was happy to have a friend to go with. And I felt accepted instantly. Gradually, I began to go there on Sunday mornings as well, except on the Sundays that Seth would decide to go to church. On those days, we would attend our other church.
I was pregnant with my son at this point, which was such a blessing and miracle. We had lost our baby Andrew approximately a year before, so this pregnancy was a source of great joy and anxiousness for us. For about 8 months we referred to the baby as Aidan Luc. I wanted to do the ethnic thing for this baby like I had done for my daughter Rylee Michelle, but the more I called the baby Aidan, the more I would hear rhyming names: Aidan, Cayden, Hayden, Jaidan, etc. And not all of them were boys. So, after much reflection, Seth and I decided to name this baby Samuel Luke. Partly because Samuel and Luke were my husbands oldest friends, and partly because I felt such a strong relation to the story of Hannah. She had prayed and prayed and wept for a child, and finally God gave her Samuel. Samuel grew up to be a great man of God, and played a major part in Jewish history. What a great namesake. Month 8 and my baby became Samuel.
The day finally came for me to have my boy, and I was mostly attending Forestdale on Sundays instead of the other church. But, both pastors ended up visiting me. That was when I felt like I was cheating on one church with the other. I did not have enough sense to recognize that I was just blessed. After I came home with my new baby, we were overwhelmed with the amount of support we recieved. Meals, cards, and presents all poured in for our family. Even things for the new big sister Rylee. All from both churches: our old church and our new church. People that I had felt didn't know me well enough yet or didn't really care. So blessed.
It had been some months before I had finally convinced Seth to go to the new church with me. I think at that point he really liked the old one, partly because it was so big and he could skip sometimes and no one seemed to notice. (I am eternally grateful that he is not that person anymore.) I don't think he was super impressed with the new place. People noticed if you missed a Sunday. Everyone said Hi. People remembered our names. And then there were those huggers. I love huggers, but I think sometimes they frighten Seth. He is not a hugger. Well, at least he wasn't. (People who know him should give him a great big hug from me next time you see him. It would be fun. I promise!)
I had decided that I wanted to finally dedicate our children to God publicly. Our other church only did dedications on Mother's day, and did not seem to be willing to change that rule for us even though we spent Mother's day in NH with family. So I asked the pastor of our new church. And he was willing, but only if he met with both of us.
It was right after Easter, and we had him over for lunch. I think this took Seth by surprise, because he didn't know of any pastor that would take time to have lunch in a parishoner's home, especially those who are not that committed. And yet, here he was in our home and not the typical pastor.
We talked for a long time about what it meant to dedicate our children, among many other things. By the time the pastor left, Seth had decided that he actually kind of liked this guy.
We moved just a few weeks later. Seth had been stationed on a cutter in NH and my world was turned upside down. Things between us had not been good, and I was suddenly moving away from all my new friends who actually cared about me.
It was not long in the new apartment before things came to a head. I actually told Seth I was done. There was a lot of emotion and hurt involved, but instead of ending things, we went to Marraige counseling. It was tough, because Seth was gone on the cutter more often then he was home. Counseling was sporradic. But we stuck it out.
I went to my home church with my Mom, Dad, and siblings, even though I did not really want to. And Seth joined me when he was home. And things began to change. Things began to change in us individually, and as a couple. We were going through a Rennaissance. It did not make much sense in the beginning, but we were where we needed to be. So much happened in the two years we were back in NH.
Out of all the people that were stationed with Seth on the cutter, a few people made such an impact. Seth, who at the time was not in love with the idea of church, was suddenly befriended by the lay leader and Bible study guys. He developed a friendship with these men, even though they seemed like the most unlikely of people.
I was getting emails from Seth that were suddenly including scripture and beauty. They were becoming less and less practical and informative, and more and more spiritual and loving. A transformation was happening. I saved every single one of those emails. And I fully intend on putting them together in a book someday.
I was growing too. I was learning that it was not the world around me that was messed up, but that I participated. I was messed up too.
I was able to put some past pain behind me and move forward. Attending the church in which I had grown up was part of that, but even bigger than that. I was falling in love with my husband again. That was something I had given up on for a long time, and yet I would still pray for him. And, still, even bigger than that was that my husband was finally taking his place as the spiritual head of our household, a burden which I had been carrying for so very long. And one that I did not carry well, either.
I has a husband again, and he had a wife. My children was getting the happy, healthy, whole family that they deserved. Things were beautiful. All because of prayer and the willingness to change and become better people.
The funny thing about prayer is, God hears us. And he answers us. And if we are faithful and tenacious, good things begin to happen. That was what happened with us. I had been praying for years that my family would be healed, that Seth would find his way back to God, that everything would be ok.
Instead of looking forward to my husband's deployments and dreading his time at home, I had begun to dread the deployments and treasure his time at home. I had a great support system, too, while he was away. And that support system was always ready and willing to welcome Seth when he was home.
Seth became the new Lay Leader on board his ship. He had a co-leader too. Larry was awesome. Those two became such good friends, and an encouragement to one another. It was good, even if there were some people on that ship that wanted nothing more than to hurt Seth and destroy his carreer. He did nothing wrong, they just did not like him simply because he is Christian. And as disheartening as that was, it only challenged Seth to grow more in God. And in turn, me.
Then Seth got baptized. This was huge. He was finally making the public statement of obedience to God and an outward expression of Faith for the world to see. And then people on the ship were getting baptized. And sharing communion. And Satan hated that, and tried everything to destroy it. Funny thing about Satan is, even though he pulls out all the stops to sabotage anything good, he cannot beat God at God's own game.
Finally we got word that we were leaving the ship. It was good news. We had no idea where we were going, but prayed for someplace good. Someplace we would be needed. We made our wishlist. Cape Cod was our first choice. I wanted to go back. Seth was interested in getting involved in that intimate friendly church I had loved so much. But we were told that because he had already served on the Cape, chances were slim we'd go back.
And yet, nothing in my life has ever been expected or typical. We got Cape Cod. Those first several months were a bit rocky, as I believe with all my heart that because God gave us the desires of our heart, Satan wanted to ruin things from the start. Something unfortunate happened that ended in an emergency room trip and quite arguably the worst night of my life, but in the end became such a small insignificant and irrevelent part of our life. It could have ruined everything. It could have destroyed a pretty epic friendship before it had the chance to even begin. It could have derailed our spiritual walk with God. But, the thing is, it didn't. In fact, it only made us stronger, more tenacious, more passionate, and not only did that friendship happen it grew and blossomed into a vibrant beautiful thing, and we wouldn't have it any other way.