Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Marty, Jack, and I living the dream...building our first home in McKinney 10 years ago. <3
"They have no idea how lucky they are to live here," I said to my husband Marty as we drove past carefee children running freely on the manicured sidewalks of Stonebridge Ranch. A master-planned community in charming McKinney, Texas it was a place I yearned to be established. With tall flowering trees, luscious green landscapes, serene parks, and families everywhere, it seemed like the perfect place to settle down. It was mid-April 2000, and we were a young couple with our first child, looking for a place to grow as family. I remember thinking, "If only..." as the dream of raising our children in such an ideal location faded out of sight. While the community was truly lovely, it was also completely out of reach on our meager combined salaries. Dreaming the impossible, I imagined a sign on our nonexistant front door that read, "The Arbuckle Family. Established 1992".
Today we drove down that same tree-lined street as we returned from the grocery store. It has been ten years, and now we live just blocks away. Our children play in those same parks and our family walks down the very streets that once seemed so unattainable. And as we drive through our surroundings in our daily activities, God often reminds me that "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26 NIV)
Life if full of highs and lows. Ups and downs. Trials and triumphs. Most certainly, change happens and things don't always go the way you plan or expect. Still, we should never underestimate the plans of God. His plans are always bigger and more complex than we can ever imagine. I see that clearly in my own life. Much has happened in the ten years since I first gazed upon the place I now call home.
Five professions of faith,
Five elementary schools,
One middle school,
One Life Group,
one mission trip,
numerous sifted friendships,
a few setbacks,
One BIG God.
Clearly, the past ten years have been anything but predictable, except for one consistent truth. Our walk with the LORD has been an unshakeable constant. As we have drawn nearer to Him, our Heavenly Father has graciously refined our life together, making our family strong with Him. I haven't always liked the road we have traveled. Some of the paths were difficult and even unpleasant, but all roads led to our heart's desire which was to be rooted. We aren't planted in the false security of a safe neighborhood. Our security is not confined to the walls of a house. We have something even more steadfast. For we are securely "rooted and established in love." (Ephesians 3:17 NIV) Not a perishable worldly love, but the lasting eternal love of Jesus Christ.
Of course, this type of shelter can be tough for many to grasp. Just yesterday, I was greeted by a loose acquaintance who could simply not believe we had moved yet again. "Is this the last move?" she asked pointedly, her tone dripping with judgement and indignation. Though at first, her words stung my sensitive heart, I remained quiet and only smiled. After all, she has a point. As rude as she was in stating the obvious, we have had many changes during our time in McKinney. I have no argument for our defense. None except we do our best to follow where God leads, and His plans take time and trust. Just ask the Israelites. Ask Joseph. Or better yet, ask Christ himself. The best laid plans do not come fully assembled. Rather, they are revealed one faithful step in God's time.
In the years to come, I am certain we will stumble. Occassionally, we might even fall. And,we have not seen the end of our disappointment and failures. Unfortunately, life can be like that. Still, today I am grateful for I am a witness to a dream realized because of God's power. It fills me with awe and motivates me to follow God's lead, for with Him life is never boring.
Tomorrow, He may call us to pull up our stakes and move our tent elsewhere. Walking in faith is an adventure. Trusting God for His provision can be messy, complicated, and downright inconvenient, but it is also exhilerating. Truly, I have no idea what the next year holds, let alone the next ten. And while I would love to be firmly planted in one place, free to grow roots, God has yet to reveal that place to our family. In fact, I can only be certain that God has only shown me what He holds for me today. So, here we dwell, uncertain in our resources, but firmly established in His love. The road ahead is unclear, but I shall continue to "run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free." (Psalm 119:32 NIV) The road ahead of me is His and I am learning to "let go and let God" be God. He knows my way better than me anyway, for he set the destination before us.
So, to answer that dear woman's question, I can only say this in reply...the future is unknown but my God is certain. If I ever begin to doubt that truth, I need only step out my front door. Here we are. Our family is living a dream that God planted in our hearts a decade ago. It is a dream only God could bring to fruition. Walking before us, the LORD knew the twists and turns along the way. Each move. Every roadblock. All of life's changes are part of His plan to bring us to this exact place at this very time in our lives for His perfect purpose.
By the standards of this world, Marty and I are still far from established. Faithfully, we shall continue to look up and put our trust in the One who "has established his throne in heaven, and whose kingdom rules over all." (Psalm 103:19 NIV) Our future is firmly established in Him who is worthy of praise. Maybe one day, He will give me a sign for my door.