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Malawi Ministry Theology

God of the small, big and HUGE

mmmmm, Ice Cream cake... (Thanks Tiffany!)

A few nights ago, I slept for a total of three hours. I worried about storage, foreign bank accounts and the family I would be leaving in San Diego to pursue God’s call to Malawi. I thought about the tears I hid from my nieces a week earlier while repeatedly explaining to them that they would not be able to walk to Africa to visit their aunt and uncle. Then I thought about how I always seem to sleep less and get a bit sick right before a big change. Before I knew it, the annoying but familiar alarm told me it was time to stop lying awake in bed and instead get up and get on with the day. It didn’t matter whether I lie on my back or stand upright, both tasks would be done in a sleepy daze.

A chronically busy-mind never ceases to be my worst enemy. Yet in the middle of little sleep and packing our lives into a 10×10 storage unit and the four bags that we are taking to Malawi I have found moments of overwhelming joy and peace. Sharing stories with former youth group students who have become great friends while making storage unit runs, having our small group lay hands on us and pray for our journey, sitting with my uncle at a Padres game in a luxury box that he and my aunt won and waking up crying on our last morning in the condo we have lived in for five and a half years has brought on an odd mix of emotions.

It has hit me. We are leaving; moving to another country that is very different from what we are used to. It is refreshing and scary. A change we are looking forward to, but one we are terrified of—an odd mix indeed. But this week, as our small group was sending us out in prayer, our good friend Bernie asked God to be in the middle of the things that seem small, big and HUGE. While we were being prayed for, the reality of God’s sovereignty and intricate involvement in our lives was something I could not ignore. Hailey and I are stressed in a way we have never experienced. I know in my head that God is in control, but the sinking feeling in my gut has only led to confusion in my heart. But God is Lord over confusion too. Scripture is relentless with telling us to not lean on things we understand, which is grand because I understand so little. Yet, for some reason I still allow my mind to wander when I should be sleeping. God is in control, in the small, big and HUGE. Thanks for that reminder Bernie.

Categories
Ministry

Unemployment: The Forced Sabbatical

Books I'm Reading
"Sabbatical" Books

I graduated from Fuller Seminary nine months ago.  Prior to finishing my degree I completed my requirements for ordination in the PCUSA denomination and submitted all of the documents to the hiring database. I had been working at La Jolla Presbyterian Church as a Pastoral Intern assisting in a bit of a bunch of things but my hands weren’t and hadn’t really been dirty in the inner-workings of the church for some time. I was ready, ready to jump on board at a church and be involved in the vision planning, the energizing of a community and  the equipping and mobilization of people to serve the world for Christ. I was ready for the meat of church leadership. And then…nothing happened. Nothing.

LJPC was gracious in extending my part-time job through the end of 2009, waving the requirement of being a seminary student. I browsed the job database frequently, emailed multiple churches and even interviewed with some.  And still…nothing. Before I knew it the end of 2009 was just around the corner and now 2010 is in its second month. I’ve talked with some more churches and am excited about a couple of prospects, but the truth is this time away from ministry as a paid job has been just what I have needed.

Yes, Hailey and I are having to figure out what it looks like to live on one salary. And yes, my pride has taken a bit of a hit as I cook, clean, and attempt to be the homemaker in our condo (I made pizza from scratch the other night…the kitchen was covered in dough!). But in an odd and refreshing way, I am more at peace with who I am and where God has called me now than I have been in a very very long time.

There is something to be said for having balance in one’s life. I thought I’d be bored, feel down or be overwhelmed with the fact that I’m not contributing financially to my family’s well being. Nope. I thought I’d be antsy and eager to compromise in my search for the right church. Didn’t happen. And I thought, by not working in ministry, I would find it hard to wake up every morning seeking to serve Christ in the world in which I find myself. Not a chance. The truth is, during the last month, I have been more excited about taking care of my wife than ever before and am fine with her being the sole wage earner in our relationship. I know now more so than even a month ago the type of church/call that I feel God is leading me to (and am shockingly okay with it taking as long as it needs to for it to happen). And, probably because I have much more time to spend reading and in prayer, I feel more equipped to love those who I find myself around on a daily basis as I have been loved by Christ.

My somewhat forced ‘time off’ has gotten me more inline with who God has called me to be. I am a loved husband and son. I am a student, writer and cyclist. I am a chef! And I am a beloved child of God, called to serve and live among the sick, unsettled and afraid. Unemployment does not define who I am, it is a gift that has brought me to where I am.

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Uncategorized

Christmas Letter

It’s a bit late, but here is our Christmas letter for 2009…

Christmas Letter

Dave and Hailey

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Uncategorized

Father’s Day Musings

Father's Day Musings

My wife, sister and I spent hours yesterday trying to figure out what we were going to do today for the fathers in our families.  We were trying way too hard to find something that would appease all different sides of the family. After a way too busy weekend we really wanted to do something, but had little energy to put something together.  We ended up just taking our dad’s (and my sister’s husband) on a hike through the Torrey Pines State Park.  We spent just under 3 hours walking around and enjoying the beautiful day (today as actually the longest day in the year).  My nieces (almost 2 and 4) were a blast, but the four year old got mighty heavy on my shoulders at around mile 2.5. We got back to the parking lot and went or separate ways, driving home to an epic sunset. It really was a great afternoon and showed me how ridiculous we can be trying to put together a party or ‘event’ when in reality all we should be doing is spending time with those that are important to us.  Sometimes, it is the none planned moments with those that we love that end up being the most memorable. My wife always jokes that I’m not very good at the whole “quality time thing,” and though I sometims brush it off, the truth is I need to intentionally seek it more often.

I love my dad and have feel extremely blessed to have a man like him as a role model, mentor and person to laugh at/with.  My dad and I are very different, but I have learned much from him and am honored to be his son. So thanks dad!