Monday, January 16, 2012

Look Back at 2011

So if you are new around here, I always take a look back into the previous year to document what God has done in our lives. You can see what happened in 2008, 2009, and 2010 if you want to catch up!

2011 was a year with many ups and downs. 2011 started off in a valley of discouragement, but God carried us through and held us along the way. And I can say now that the discouraging times were probably because of our own impatience and lack of trust.

At the beginning of the year, there were two main things on our mind- Direction for Travis' career and where we should send Tyler for elementary school. At the beginning of the year I began reading through the Old Testament. God kept showing me that His chosen people had to WAIT. That our timing is not always (more like never) His timing. I read about how after the wandering in the desert, it took the Israelites 7 years to conquer the promise land. And how it took 7 years between the time that He told David would be King and when he was actually crowned King. You see, in 2008 we felt God calling us to move to Harlingen to farm. We moved in 2009 when Travis got a job as an Office Manager for a Family Practice Residency Program in town because the farm wasn't able to bring us on. At the beginning of the year we started praying and fasting and praying some more for God to give us direction in what Travis was supposed to be doing. But God wasn't giving us any direction and we were growing impatient! God kept reminding me through His word to not get discouraged. He repeatedly brought up Joshua 1:9 that says, "Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you will go."

Sometime this fall when Travis and I were just going through some times of confusion, the Lord impressed upon me to go and pull out a devotion that I haven't read in years. I went to that days devotion (Sept. 12) in My Utmost for His Highest. Here is an excerpt: "There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion. It is not a matter of right or wrong, but of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you. When God appears to be completely shrouded, will you hang on with confidence in Him? He will ultimately give you clear understanding and will fully justify Himself in everything that He has allowed into your life. Stand firm in faith, believing that what Jesus said is true, although in the meantime you do not understand what God is doing. He has bigger issues at stake than the particular things you are asking of Him right now." We may be waiting awhile before God reveals His plans for us regarding Travis' career. We may be waiting for 7 years- who knows! But we have learned to be content with where we are and what we have. But God was also gracious and encouraged us over and over during the year letting us know He hasn't forgotten about us, He is just not ready to reveal His plans for us.

The second thing on our mind at the beginning of the year was schools for Tyler. We had MANY long discussions about different schooling options in the area. We decided the best fit for us would be a charter school in the area, IDEA public schools. We know one of the founders and we believed it offered us the best schooling at the best price (FREE!). We had our heart set on it, but the only way you can attend it is if you are one of the 100 students selected at the annual lottery in April or if you are a sibling of a student that is already registered. We prayed and prayed and prayed about it. Tyler had a soccer game the day of the lottery so I took Claire to the lottery to see if Tyler had been selected while Travis took the boys to the game. During the selecting of my names, I knew in my heart that Tyler was not going to get a spot that day. And he did not. All of the hundreds of remaining children are randomly put on a waiting list. We came home very disappointed and frustrated. But I was determined not to give up hope. People don't always accept their spots or lose their spots if they don't come to required meetings, etc. so I continued to pray about it. One day I was so frustrated and I remember coming in my room and crying out to God about it. All of a sudden I had a huge rush of peace come over me and God impressed upon me that He had taken care of it. I knew right then, Tyler was going to have a spot. But this also left me in a predicament, because Tyler was not registered at ANY school for the fall. And if you know me, you know I would have him registered and purchased all the school supplies months ahead of time. I'm a PLANNER! It is engrained in me! It is apart of my DNA! Plus our second choice for him was a public school that we were not zoned to attend, which meant we needed to apply for an open enrollment transfer which is first come, first serve. I really had to stop and think about what it meant to have faith in the promise that God had made me. Because if I truly believed that God was going to open up a spot for Tyler, that meant that I didn't need to register him at any other school. I will have to admit, that during this time of wrestling over what it meant to have faith that moves mountains, I went and turned in his information for the open enrollment transfer. But after I did, I decided that I would not pursue it any further because I knew in my heart that it was unbelief. They never called and I never called them.

But on June 2 I got a call from IDEA that Tyler had received a spot off of the waiting list! I was so thrilled. "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" Numbers 23:19 And I know what some of you are thinking, but you know one of the guys who started the school. Yes, we do, but he confirmed that he did nothing to get Tyler into the school. God received all the glory! Tyler is excelling at school and he absolutely loves it! He amazes us with his math abilities and it is so fun hearing him read. Most importantly, I'm so proud of the character he has displayed at school. I pray that he is a light shining amidst the darkness. And best of all, because Tyler is already a student, Cooper and Claire will automatically be enrolled when they reach kindergarten.

By the end of the year, we really had reached a period of contentment and resilience in our waiting. And we are still waiting, but I know the Lord will be faithful in giving us direction when the time is right. I've been thinking lately about our life and when the Lord has moved. It has been easy. Not the journey itself, but when the Lord is ready for something to happen He makes a way. That is the good news, we don't have to exhaust ourselves with making a way. We can wait on Him and let Him have the burden of figuring everything out and making it happen. He has the hard work, we just have to be willing to wait on Him. And he is definitely worth waiting for!

Look Ma, No Training Wheels!