Friday, April 29, 2011

New post.... new start..... new hope!

It's been almost 1 yr since my last post on here. After 9 very long, very hard months, I'm back! Glory! For those of you who have faithfully followed my blog, I'm sorry if it seemed like I just dropped off the edge of a cliff (truthfully that may have been easier!) After 16 yrs in our last ministry, the Lord saw fit to move us from that place. Since we lived in a parsonage, we had no home of our own to stay in. A very good friend allowed our family, and our son's family (who was our ass't pastor) to move into their college dorm.



Very humbling.... God is so good though! Do what you can with what HE'S provided you and BE CONTENT! "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." If ol' Brother Paul who suffered tragedy, shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonments, etc... like we'll never know of, can say such a thing.... who am I to open my mouth against the Lord and complain about what He's provided. Life isn't always steak and ice cream, new cars, fancy houses. Sometimes it's a meager existence. Living paycheck to paycheck. Hand to mouth. Sometimes it's NO paycheck! Daily waiting on GOD alone to supply your needs. But oh, we need to be so careful to praise Him in the tough times as well as the "easy." I have to say on the Lord's behalf, we never got behind on even one payment. He took such wonderful care of us through God's people. He dumped blessings on us by the dump truck load!! He will be a debtor to no man. For years I've watched my faithful husband give to people & ministries hand over fist. He's given vehicles away, paid rent for people, let folks live with us (many times), bought groceries, bought gas, paid for bus and plane tickets, paid utility bills, not to mention the hundreds of dollars he gives to faith promise missions every week. I believe God takes note of such things. As a direct result of giving, God fed us daily while we waited by the brook! And you know what? Sometimes it was even steak! :-) Don't stop up the hand of God's blessing in your life. Be faithful in your giving! Even when you think you can't!

For the last 8 months we lived in 2 dorm rooms (1 for living, cooking, etc...the vanity area of 1 of the bathrooms was my "kitchen", and then 1 for sleeping) The photos up above are just a small glimpse of our every day living arrangements while we were there. We moved about 10% of our very basic belongings into the dorm rooms. The other 90% was in a nearby storage unit, that we paid monthly rent on.

When we moved, our daughter Sarah had just left on her missions trip to Brazil. We sat at the computer many a night, having heart to heart talks over Skype, wiping tears together. When she arrived back in the states, 2 months later, it was coming "home" to the dorm - with no room of her own. She slept on the couch and never once did I hear a negative comment from her. A while later, she moved in with her brother, who had a bit more room for her than us.

I can't begin to describe to you the devastation we felt the day we moved in there. It was 110 degrees in the shade that day. Not only were we unloading our things, but our son's family was around the corner and we shared the moving truck and trailer w/ him. The men unloaded his things, then we went to the storage unit to unload the rest in there - front to back and to the ceiling - it was piled. The men were sweating so badly, they took their shirts off to wring them out. I went to buy cold water for them so they could at least try to get refreshed a bit. Once we were back to the dorm - we stood there amidst packed boxes and furniture crammed here and there, hoping it would all find a place and fit somehow. My precious brother-in-law who helped us load the truck at point A, followed our moving truck on the 5 hr trip and helped unload at point B, was there in our dorm room moving the last box in. He was exhausted, we all were just drained. The look on his face as he stood to say Goodbye, was one of utter dismay. We were numb over all that had just happened, losing a ministry after that many years, is like a death in your family. The deep grief and sense of loss was overwhelming. This was even more so for our precious son & his wife who had just lost their sweet baby Simeon, at 6 months in the womb - just 3 months earlier. We wondered, "where do we go from here?" We could only sit in silence and stare at each other and the floor. Oh how we needed God's help, His strength, His grace, His peace. And He provided it all in such a marvelous way. That day I climbed up into His omnipotent lap, laid my head on His compassionate shoulder and wept and cried out to Him. I had no words of comfort for my precious husband who had just lost the ministry that he labored so hard in, for so many years. He gave the best years of his life there. How do you encourage the man of God when you yourself are so discouraged? So disillusioned.

The only remedy was to saturate ourselves in the Word. But when I sat down to read my Bible, I could only read a chapter or two before I ended up staring at the pages. I didn't even want to go to church. I didn't want to do anything. All I wanted to do was sleep. We were all so exhausted. Physically, mentally, spiritually. God knew that. I would try to pray and end up just sitting there quietly muttering, "Lord, please..... Lord please...." I'm so thankful for the precious Holy Spirit who goes to God and speaks things that we don't know how to utter. It took about a month or so for the numbness to start wearing off. Our preacher at the church where we joined, was so good about keeping us near him and keeping an eye on our spiritual temperature to make sure we were slowly healing. Every service, every message, God spoke so clearly to our hearts. His word ministered to us like the balm that it is.

I was battling a very severe case of Vertigo brought on by the intense stress of the situation. I would stagger through the grocery store. I would stagger to the laundry room and back. Stagger into the church. It was awful. I couldn't even go to the altar, because the floor sloped and made me feel like I was falling. Everywhere I went, I had to hang onto my husband's arm. The Dr tried meds, but they made me want to sleep all the time. And the very first side effect was DIZZINESS! So I flushed the meds. After about 2 months of that, the Lord provided the money and the Dr to help get me back on track. It was a very expensive set of 12 treatments (traction, deep muscle massage, acupuncture, and adjustments) but it helped me see and walk straight again! And God provided every penny needed for it!

Although I was battling Vertigo, I knew if we were ever going to "make it" there, I would have to get to work on making those rooms as much like "home" as I could. I knew even though it was temporary, it HAD to feel cozy for my family. Our son's family has 3 dorm rooms, since he has 2 little ones and 1 on the way in June. They are currently still there in the dorm, as our daughter in law is expecting and is considered a high risk pregnancy. A move at this time would not be good (nor affordable) for them. When we all left our last ministry it flung our son into full time deputation for the field of Ireland. He has felt the call of God on his life for missions for years now and this move precipitated his deputation. Please pray for Philip & Monica Tharp if the Lord brings them to your mind. They are precious young people with a desire to serve God in the needy country of Ireland.

Although living in 2 dorm rooms isn't an ideal situation, I am very thankful to have had a roof over our heads! I mastered the art of "convenience cooking" and am contemplating adding a section on my blog about it. Mostly though, I prefer to put it out of my memory (the cooking part!). It was a very trying time in our lives. But God is so good and He took such wonderful care of us that I had to start journaling His MANY blessings in our lives! He gave us a GREAT church to join with, for those 8 months, and get our heads screwed back on straight! God knows just what we need and for how long! We heard some tremendous preaching while we were there and the Lord really ministered to our hearts through our preacher and the Word. We were able to heal up while we were there.

As an added bonus, since our daughter Hannah was a student there, we got to be near her. We also got to know the young man she was courting in a much more personal way. We enjoyed many a meal together in our apt with the two of them, on our "courting couch!" Then when they got engaged, I was right there to help plan the wedding. Even though it was on a shoestring budget ($1,000) the Lord provided every penny needed to make it a beautiful and memorable day for them.

Trials will either make you better or they will make you bitter. If we would have harbored unforgiveness in our hearts, bitterness would have set in. Bitterness would had ended our ministry. God is so good and so faithful - He sees right where you are and knows just what you need. He won't forsake His children.


          Earthly friends may prove untrue, Doubts and fears assail; One still loves and cares for you; One who will not fail.
            Chorus Jesus never fails, Jesus never fails, Heav'n and earth may pass away, But Jesus never fails.
          Tho' the sky be dark and drear, Fierce and strong the gale, Just remember He is near, And He will not fail.
            Chorus
            Jesus never fails, Jesus never fails, Heav'n and earth may pass away, But Jesus never fails.
          In life's dark and bitter hour, Love will still prevail; Trust His everlasting pow'r, Jesus will not fail.
            Chorus
            Jesus never fails, Jesus never fails, Heav'n and earth may pass away,
            But Jesus never fails.
Now, 9 months later, we are in a new state, new church, new home, have a new church family.... We miss our kids and grandbabies immensely! This is the first time in our ministry years that our children have not been serving in our church. We moved 9 hrs away from them all. That part has been hard to get used to. God moved us to a church that had been hurt by their former pastor. Here we were, a hurt preacher's family! Can a hurting preacher and a hurting church be a good match? It sure seems like it! We have loved them from the very first meeting. These precious folks have taken us in and treated us like blood relatives! We are so excited at what God is doing here and so humbled to be a part of it! Please pray for us if the Lord brings us to your mind. We just want to live a life pleasing to the Lord.

Just look at what GOD has done for us - this is where we are now! I'm so excited! Love our new home! We used the front room (entrance room) for our dining room furniture - since hospitality is such a way of life for us. I had to have a place to entertain folks at our table. The small eat in kitchen would not hold my dining set.

    My new kitchen! Notice the freshly baked, glazed coffee cake on the stove and the bread baking in the oven?! ;-)




    If you read all the way through this story of trials and triumphs, then you are a trooper and deserve a gold medal! Bless your dear heart!








    16 comments:

    Steve Finnell said...

    you are invited to follow my blog

    Terri said...

    Starr,

    I am so excited for you!!

    Terri

    HELLO said...

    The Preachers Wife is AMAZING!!!!!!!

    Danara Fryman said...

    Beautiful! I am so happy for you guys. :) New fresh starts are sometimes the very best - not just for you, but for those around you (in this case your new church family!!!). Please know that we think of you often and have you and Pastor in our prayers. :)

    Danara

    PS. What is the song that is playing on your page?

    Jessica Cusano said...

    Wow!! Your new place looks just wonderful!!! I wanted you to know I came across this post at just the right time!! God surly knows how to set us straight... And just now he used you and your testimony here to show me a few things he wanted me to see right now!! Your family has such a sweet spirit, I just can't imagine anyone hurting you dear people!! I am so glad God led you to his perfect place for your family!! What an exciting and amazing story to read about how God has worked through you!! Thank you for always being so genuine!!

    My next question is, where is that dessert recipe you promised to post after your meal recently??!! ;)

    onion99 said...

    Looking forward to what you are serving next!

    Courtney said...

    God is so amazing to never leave us even in the hard times! I'm so glad you found a new church family :)

    Sarah Joy said...

    Yes, God is good! I knew He had something special for you.

    Gail said...

    I read it and it was such a blessing. It is so good to have you back! Prayers, Gail

    barrenbutblessed said...

    Star you have been missed. yes Through the fire God has a perfect plan, I pray now that the refining is over and the fresh polish is shining bright. can't wait to see those tablescapes again and dream of the day when I may have a house with a dining room of my own as well
    Laura

    Gathered Chick said...

    I am so blessed by your testimony. Thank you for sharing it and reminding us that our faithful God never fails. May God bless you abundantly in this new season of ministry.

    Julie's Jottings said...

    God Sure is good! Amen!!! Love ya Starry!

    Kimberly said...

    Starr,

    I am so happy for you guys! Love your new house! What a beautiful kitchen. Glad you have found such a beautiful home and church family.

    Kimberly (WATW)

    Leeanne said...

    I'm SO glad I read this post. What a testimony of your walk with the Lord. Thank you for sharing your hurt feelings and what you were really going through. It was a great encouragement to me. I'm so excited for where you are now and how the Lord has blessed you! I know that if you had lived in the "mully-grubs" all those eight long months that you would probably still be there and God wouldn't have blessed you as he has.
    We love you guys! Leeanne :)

    Elaine said...

    God brought our Pastor and Church together this way. That was about 10 years ago. God has richly blessed us.

    Anonymous said...

    Bless YOUR heart. I am so blessed from reading your post. I was just interested in your recipes initially, now I feel like we are friends. I wish I could have comforted you during your pain, but I know God did that for you. Pastors and their wives and families have a hard life. God bless you both for your faithfulness to Him. The ones you love the most can hurt you the most. I am sorry that you were hurt. Thank you for sharing with us.