Glory to God for all things!
Blessed Feast of the Transfiguration! While we were in Greece we picked up a small gift for those on our mailing list... You can join our mailing list and give us your best address HERE.
I love this Feast, because the juxtaposition so perfectly mirrors the ups and downs of the path of faith.
Peter, James, and John witness the Glory of God—they see Jesus radiating and speaking with heroes of their faith. They even hear the audible voice of God! On the path of faith we sometimes have Mount Tabor moments and, like Peter (who according to St. Mark didn’t know what to say), we think, “This is good, let’s set up camp and linger here.” But that’s not God’s plan.
The cloud dissipates, the Divine voice goes silent, the heroes of the faith vanish, and the glory fades away. The disciples are left confused and alone with Christ. This happens on the path of faith too. Early in my walk with God, when the “spiritual high” would fade I worried I’d done something wrong. It took me a long time to learn that this is normal—the in-breaking Kingdom of God is a foretaste of what is to come, but it’s not where we are to abide this side of heaven.
All three Gosples share that Jesus then heads down into the valley, where he encounters the rest of the disciples, who are embarrassed by their public failure to heal a demon-possessed epileptic child and are embroiled in a heated argument with the crowd. The boy’s father, out of options and low on hope, wonders in desperation if Jesus can do anything. Jesus, apparently also in desperation, wonders how much longer he must endure this faithless people. We have these moments on the path of faith too--when it feels like everything is falling apart, and we wonder how much longer we must endure.
Of course, Jesus heals the child, calms the crowd, and transforms what had been a spectacular failure into an opportunity for deeper formation. He tells the disciples what we all need to hear—an inner life of prayer precedes spiritual power.
For the disciples, and for us, the path of faith is often marked by moments of desperation and jubilation co-existing--it is the best of times and the worst of times. Therefore, I pray that whether you’re more aware of the glorious mountain tops or the gut-wrenching valleys before you, that you’ll find Jesus Christ ever-present and quick to act and be encouraged to turn toward Him in prayer and continue on the path of faith before you.
If we’re connected on FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM (and let’s be if we’re not!) then you know it’s been a remarkable year of transformation for us. We’ve had some glorious mountaintop moments for sure, and it’s been fun to share those publicly. We've also had some gut-wrenching valley moments, and it’s been important to share those privately with trusted counsel.
Overall, we look back on the time with gratitude. We got to host and visit missionary families as a family. We offered workshops on three continents that helped strengthen peoples' relationships—and doing so strengthened ours. We got to visit some holy sites and got to know some holy people. I think the highlight of the entire trip was around Pascha, when we got to sit on the front porch drinking coffee and dreaming together about what this next season of life might look like.
We really needed that. We’ve spent the last 9 years as graduate students and in the early years of family life. This move marked the end of that season. I’m done with my ThM and am an exam away from being a licensed marriage and family therapist. Kriss is ABD (All But Dissertation) with her PhD in Intercultural Studies and will start working on her proposal soon. It’s the first time in nine years that we’re not facing the start of another academic year wondering how we’re going to make it all work.
So, we sat on that porch and we prayed. We prayed about the next decade and how we wanted to continue to be in ministry to families as a family. We prayed about the unexpected opportunities before us and our desire to live a significant yet sustainable life. We prayed about who we wanted to become and how we wanted to show up in the lives of others. Ultimately, we offered ourselves anew to God to be available to share in His life and join in His mission as He sees best.
Moving Forward Together
In many ways moving back has felt more disruptive than moving to Greece was. If you’ve ever lived cross culturally you can appreciate that paradox. Though we are back in the same town, our life feels full of change (which is exhausting and uncertain). The benefit is a chance to get "stuck" in patterns of life and ministry that are sustainable for the long haul.
I’d be very grateful if you’d pray with us in this season of transition, especially as we discern how to move forward.
With gratitude in Christ,
P.S. Don't forget to give me your address HERE, so I can drop the small gift we got you in the mail.