Franklin Five

Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Worth it!

We have said a lot of good-byes this week. It is our last few days in Oakville and our time is spent in preparation for the move and meeting up with friends one last time. The good-byes are not easy and our hearts are full of emotion. One minute, I feel excited to get on the plane and head to Tennessee and the next, I feel sad to be leaving many precious friends.

As I reflect, I am so thankful we didn't hold back. We jumped right in. We met people, invited them over, shared ourselves. We joined a small group. We met our neighbors. We played in the snow. We drove all over the country exploring its scenery and beauty. We made friends, we loved, and we received love.

We gave and took and shared and opened up and loved. We needed our friends and they needed us. It was a give and take and in the end, everyone gains something when hearts are open to love.  Now, it hurts a little to leave but it was so worth it. Love is always worth it! Thank you, friends, for loving us well.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Saying Farewell to Canada

As I type this, there are two people in my home that Nissan has employed to pack all of our things in paper and boxes in hopes it will arrive safely to our new home in Tennessee.

The time has come for our move to take place, and I'm filled with a mix of emotions.  Yes, I'm so excited to return home, to be in a warmer climate, closer to family and surrounded by beautiful green hills (at least they'll be turning green in a month or so).  Yet, I am a bit sad to leave some wonderful friends we have made here, and my heart is thankful for so many things we have experienced during our time in Canada.

I'm thankful for the ways I got to share my faith.  I have never had so many opportunities to talk to people about Jesus and His love for them.  God brought ladies into my life that needed to hear His story.  I wasn't always elegant in my delivery or bold in my approach, but I shared simply how God worked in my life.  I prayed for a friend as she sat across from me in my kitchen asking does God really guide me.  I looked in another friend's eyes and told her God would bring her through the difficult situation she was in.  I stood beside another friend as she buried the tiny body of her infant daughter. I shared about the grace Christ offers to a Muslim friend after she told me she was just trying to be good enough to earn a place in Heaven.  I invited a friend to be a part of a women's Bible study at my church so she could practice her English and learn more about God.

I say all of this not to toot my own horn.  On my own, I am weak and cowardly and timid.  God brought these ladies into my life as they were each searching, broken, and in need.  They came to me for help or advice or just needed someone to listen, and so I found it easy to share my Hope when they were so desperate for Hope themselves.

The three years we have spent in Canada have been filled with ups and downs.  I've seen some beautiful places and I've had some really lonely days.  I've gotten really tired of looking across the dinner table to see an empty chair where my husband would sit. I can also see how God has provided some really good things in the middle of some really difficult times.

So, as we pack and leave, I want to have a heart of thankfulness for all of the blessings we've had here in Canada.  I am thankful for the friends, for our church, for the small group who loved us well, and for  the amazing scenery we have seen as we've traveled this land called Canada.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Green Grass

Winter seems to be pushing me out of the Canadian door, making it easy for me to say good bye to the Great White North.  It's been cold, windy, and harsh, and as the ground remains frozen and hard outside, my heart has struggled to find its warmth.  Tim has been working long days and hopping on planes to travel here and there for work.  With family far away and a feeling of being trapped inside, it's easy to get discouraged.

I've been looking at the calendar a lot, counting the days until our moving truck comes, hoping for greener grass in Tennessee.

As I've been struggling to keep a positive perspective, the Holy Spirit has been whispering His love and goodness to me.  Through the company of my friends from my small group, the encouraging words spoken by a good friend over the phone, an afternoon of sledding down a snow-covered hill with my family, and hearing the truth of God's word preached so powerfully at my church, God has been reminding me of some really good things in Canada.  Through a paragraph my son wrote at school telling of how he thinks his mom is great and through the love of my husband as he listens and cares, I am reminded of God's blessings that are all around me-right here, right now.

I think underneath all of the snow outside my window where I sit right now, there might just be some green grass.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

A Tender Tennessee Christmas

 Enjoying s'mores in our back yard around Tim's new fire pit


Wednesday, January 01, 2014

From this one place

Looking back over the last ten months, I am amazed at all that has happened.  We sold our house in Franklin, TN in only four days.  We decided to stay in Canada one more year.  We bought a house in Brentwood, TN without even stepping foot in it until after the offer was made.  We hosted Isabella and her group for five weeks.  Now we prepare for our move back to Tennessee.

We had the opportunity to spend a week in our new home in Tennessee over Christmas.  It was really nice to be back in the South where the air is warmer, the restaurants are a bit kid-friendlier, and our family welcomes us.  It was fun to dream and plan and prepare for our move back.  We hope to not have to move again for a long, long time, and we hope we can raise our children in this home.  I know better than to say "never" because I've seen how God works.  I'm trying to hold on lightly and trust deeply and take one day at a time.

Back in the Summer, we spent some stressful months looking at houses online and making a few trips to Nashville to walk through the ones that caught our attention.  The market was hot and houses were moving quickly, and we wondered if we were doing the right thing to try to buy a house from a far.  We also wondered if we should just wait until the Fall or Christmas to buy a house knowing we wouldn't be moving until March.  That made more sense, but I've also learned to lean not on my own understanding.  Now looking back, I can see how God provided just the right house at just the right time.

Into this story comes our dear friends, Perry and Katie.  Perry and Tim went to grad school together over ten years ago and have been close friends ever since then.  Perry and Katie allowed us to live with them for several months eight  years ago when we were moving back to Nashville (the second time).  This Summer, they sold their house in TN and needed a place to leave while their new house was undergoing some major renovations.  So, it was perfect the way we bought our house at just the time when they needed a place.  I'm so thankful our house didn't sit empty for months but was a blessing to our friends who had blessed us in the same way many years before.

I also can see how God's timing was good in the purchase of our home when I look back at the craziness of our Fall.  Hosting the Ugandans was an amazing journey and one I will always be thankful for.  It was also all-consuming, and we would not have been able to shop for a home or travel to Tennessee while they were with us..

So, now I can see.  From this place, it all makes sense, but ten months ago, I was filled with questions and anxiety and doubt.  I'm so thankful God could see what I couldn't.  I'm thankful again for His perfect provisions.  I'm thankful to be reminded that He is God and I am not.

Again, I'm reminded of some lyrics by Sara Groves in her song, From this One Place:

From this one place I can't see very far
In this one moment I'm square in the dark
These are the things I will trust in my heart
You can see something else, something else