Growing up, one of my all time favorite book/movie series was Anne of Green Gables. I remember my mom introducing me to this beloved series in the first grade when I was stuck at home with the chicken pox. Recently, while Mr. E and I were at a flea market we came across the entire movie series on DVD for only $4! Of course we snatched it up!
And Mr. E, being the wonderful husband that he is, watched the entire series with me a couple of weeks ago when I wasn’t feeling well. It had been a year or two since I had watched the series all the way through, but it was just as enjoyable as I remembered! I’m looking forward to watching it again, but Mr. E said he can only handle watching it every few years. Ha, ha.
One of the things I love most about this series are the characters. As a young girl, I was a lot like Anne Shirley…my poor parents! I was quite imaginative, dramatic, passionate, overly-talkative, sassy, strong-willed (stubborn) and fairly independent as a girl. Throughout the movie Mr. E kept mentioning how strange and somewhat annoying he thought Anne was. It’s a good thing Mr. E and I met later in life…I sometimes wonder if we would have been friends as kids. Ha, ha.
While I have grown-up a bit, there are still some things Anne and I hold in common. One thing being our dislike of changes happening outside our control; maybe you’re someone who can relate to this as well. There’s a scene in the sequel where Anne is talking to her romantic interest and old chum, Gilbert Blythe. In this scene Anne expresses her dislike of the changes that are taking place in her own life and the lives of those around her. As Anne and Gil reminisce their childhood she sorrowfully says, “I don’t want any of it to change. I wish I could just hold on to those days forever. I have a feeling things will never be the same again, will they?” Gilbert goes onto express to Anne how he promises to never change. Of course both Gilbert and Anne go onto change in many great ways.
The reason I share this snippet from Anne’s story is because I’ve been struggling with some of those same feelings. As I mentioned in my last post, Mr. E and I have been facing many changes. Not only are we expecting a little one, but there are a number of other areas God has has asked for us to surrender to Him as He shifts things around. For example, work and ministry. Two years ago this past July Mr. E and I were approached about the possibility of coming to work/serve as the Dean of Men and Women at a small one year residential Bible school up here in WA state. While there were a great many things that attracted us to the opportunity, one of the primary ones was the opportunity we’d have to establish a strong foundation for our young marriage and ministry together. After much prayer, thought and counsel we decided to move forward by faith and accept the offer. There were so many “unknowns” at the time, but God has been incredibly faithful to us!
While the last couple of years haven’t always been easy, they have been a great blessing! We’ve grown and learned so much about God, each other and what it looks like to serve the world around us together. When we originally accepted these positions we had no idea what the future held, but we figured we’d be here for two to three years. This upcoming school year will be our third, and with the thoughts of the arrival of Baby E we find ourselves at another “crossroads” with a whole new set of “unknowns” before us.
The school year is about to begin for us (Oct. 5th). However, would you believe that we don’t have a single female student registered for this coming year? Despite the faithful efforts of our staff to recruit more ladies, God has another plan and purpose for Adelphia this year. While we knew there was a high probability that this might happen, we received final confirmation a couple of days ago that we are no longer pursuing any prospective female students or leads for this coming year. As a team, the decision has been made to respond by following the direction God is leading us this year. At least for this year, we will be an all men’s school.
Thankfully, Mr. E will continue to serve as the Dean of Men. I’m excited for him and the opportunities he’ll have to share the love of Christ and grow with this band of brothers. As for me, I will continue to support our team and serve our student community…it will just look a little different. While I’m disappointed to not have the privilege of journeying with group of young ladies this coming year, I’m trying to trust in God’s Sovereignty and that He has a better plan for Adelphia and for me. It has been, and may continue to be a process for me because I dearly love growing with and shepherding the hearts of women. However, keeping in theme with what God’s been doing in my life recently, it’s one less area for me to be tempted to find my worth and value in.
God may choose to use me, but He doesn’t need me. Ministry is a gift God invites us into, but it’s not God. And nothing compares to Himself! Amen?
As far as where God plans to lead our little family at the end of the school year, we don’t know. We have some ideas we’re praying through, but nothing concrete. It’s a shared value for Mr. E and me that I’m able to stay at home with our little one(s). So as Mr. E puts it, “I’m retiring this year.” I’m open to working in the future and hope to one day participate in a more formal counseling ministry, but for now we trust this is where God’s leading our family. I still plan to support Mr. E in whatever he’s doing and hope to be involved in ministry to women in some form or fashion…even if it’s to our neighbors and other young mamas. If there were an opportunity for Mr.E to stay here with a salary that could support a young family we’re open to staying. However, that may or may not be the case. So we are trying to be faithful where we’re at and beginning to pray through our options, hopes and desires for the future.
So, not only are there daily changes taking place in my body, but change in general seems to be a theme in my life right now. Like Anne Shirley, there have been a number of days in the last few weeks when I’ve expressed to God how I don’t want any of it to change, and I wish I could just hold on to those days forever. And even today, I feel things will never be the same again. But unlike Gilbert Blythe, when God responds that He will never change I know that’s a promise I can hold onto forever!
Currently, I have the following quote by Corrie Ten Boom hanging above the stove in our kitchen:
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
This quote has served as a special reminder for me the past month. Change will happen, and there will be a lot of unknowns that pop up in our lives…but knowing God provides us with a peace and constant security nothing in this world can offer!
Won’t you trust Him with me today?