Monday, January 9, 2012

MBM: It Changed Our Lives Forever

I am studying and meditating on the word obedience this year, as I have felt led by God to do so. I just wrote a post about "radical obedience" and mentioned our friends Linny and Shannon in that post. I have observed how they obey God "even if it does not makes sense", how out of love they trust God in their obedience to Him.

I have been praying about what to write about today for Memorial Box Monday and have tried to look back and remember times when God asked obedience of us when it did not make sense to us or to others. In doing so, I cannot help but think about the time when Joel was in Seminary and his year of internship was coming up. It is a wonderful memory of how we were richly blessed in our obedience, and how it changed our lives forever.

Joel spent 8 yrs in the Air Force before leaving to attend Luther Seminary in St. Paul MN. We bought a very old house with an apt upstairs that we could rent out, and with our 4 children at the time, we settled in. After 2 years of study it was time for his year of internship to take place. For our family of 6, there were only 3 places we could go unless we stayed in the city. One was up in northern Minnesota which was not a good fit for our family. One was in my hometown which would have been so easy. The other was out in Malta Montana, where Joel would be part of a 4.5 parish, and serving churches on his own. Of course the easiest place for him to serve out his internship was right where we were. We would not have to sell or rent out our home, and the kids would not have to change schools. I could continue with my day care business and all would be well. So easy. just did not seem right to me. We prayed and talked about it, and I felt God leading us to Malta Montana. Joel thought the Montana internship sounded great, but he was worried about money. He was worried about selling our home and coming back with nowhere to live for his final year of seminary. His feet were in cement over what made sense to him. He struggled with taking the risk.

It just did not makes sense.

I remember sitting at the table with his cousin Luther one day and debating our situation. I had prayed hard on this and truly felt called to Montana....and I remember challenging Joel, " Do you want a true internship or not?" He said my question changed his mind as the Holy Spirit spoke to him through a few words in the form of a question.

This decision changed our lives forever

We sold the house very quickly, packed up our 4 kids and 2 cats and traveled across three states to Malta Montana. We moved into what we affectionately called "The Internage" and the pastor lived next door with his family in the parsonage! The whole year was filled with amazing learning experiences and great fun. Joel had never officiated at a funeral and had said it was one area he needed experience ~ unfortunately he was able to learn quickly, as 8 funerals occurred in the area in 3 weeks, 3 of which were murder victims. He preached in all 4.5 congregations over the year, as part of a wagon train traveling across the state and even at a rodeo. We took part in a cattle drive, country dances, and the like. We made good friends and developed important skills as a pastor and pastor's wife. The Senior pastor and his wife were our mentors and our friends, a relationship that continues to this day.  This one year shaped Joel's ministry and blessed us beyond our own understanding or imagination.

It did not make sense to sell our house,
pull our kids out of school,
close my day care business for year
and move across the country
It changed our lives forever.

We were obedient to God when it did not
make financial sense
It changed our lives.

We were obedient to God when it did not makes sense
to take our kids out of their school
It changed their lives

We were obedient when we had no clue
where we would live or what the future would hold
It changed our lives forever

Oh, and not having a place to live for our final year of seminary? Well, we prayed about it......and.......
a couple of months before we were to return to seminary we got a phone call from a fellow seminarian that we did not know, who was heading out for his internship and asked us if we would like to rent their home for that year.. He had heard about us needing a place to live from the secretary at the seminary.  We said YES, and then he said, "Oh, and when we sell it we will give you the profit for that one year!!!!

God is an amazing God!
We obeyed Him....trusted Him....
It blessed our lives in ways that still affect us.
He gave us more than we even asked for.
It changed our lives.

Radical obedience is doing what God asks you to do
even when it does not make sense.

Stop over and visit Linny at A Place Called Simplicity to read other stories of God's faithfulness or link up your own.


Elaine said...

What an encouraging post Renee! There are so many things that dont make sense.... I am so glad you were faithful and followed God's calling! I have no idea how many people you have touched and are still touching today!

I am thankful I am one of them!


Susan A said...

I loved how He kept you and Joel in the palm of His hand while you stepped out in obedience!

And I was surprised to see your MBM story about obedience even if when it does not seem to make sense.

Especially what I am going through right now, I shared a bit about it in my MBM today :) It's oh so very hard :( but keeping my eyes on Him.

Janet said...

Loved reading your post! I am the Janet who e-mailed you about prayer for the Philippines! I admire your obedience and am glad of the God appointment I had meeting you! Janet

Gayle said...

Wow, I loved reading this! It was almost like I was able to sit at your kitchen table and you told me about an amazing time of following the Lord in your life. You have such treasure in your years of walking with the Lord. Keep sharing your stories and I'll keep reading.
Gayle from Behind the Gate

Renee said...

Hi Elaine
Thanks, glad you found it encouraging..... remembering helps me out that is for sure when things do not make sense.

Renee said...

Yes, SusanA, He did keep us in the palm of His hand...taught us so much about obedience and blessed us so greatly in the process!

Renee said...

Glad we met too Janet....and happy to pray for any of your requests, knee team friend :)

Renee said...

Hi Gayle...thank you for your kind and powerful words of encouragement. Kitchen Table favorite kind :)
God bless.