Pictures, Obedience and things that make me cry…

So there is this picture...
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It makes me cry…
Let me tell you why.
In 2006, I thought I had some things figured out. God had other plans. He was about to show me some things. He was about to challenge me, my obedience and show me how big He is. It’s okay to ask me what my initial reaction was. Ray remembers it well…as I bawled after leaving the (if I said “a” it would lead you to believe there is more than one), Walmart in Ponca City, OK. I wept like a crazy person and there was no stopping the tears. They were genuine. This was not out of excitement about the place my husband was moving us (it took some time for me to come around), this was grief over what I was leaving. Matt Gerald jokingly told me “now you know why they called Jeremiah the “weeping prophet””. Those crazy Gerald’s moved to Alaska…to an island. That made our move look tame…not like the massive upheaval I had in my head. I still cried…
See these faces???
I didn’t even want to tell them. I still have the post-its they put in our boxes in a frame. This was a pic from when they came to visit…and we cried when we parted ways. We had a revolving door of visitors. I loved that 🙂
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I didn’t want to leave the city I loved, the church I loved, my family, friends, an awesome group of teenagers and the best job I ever had…
But God…
He had some things in store. I knew it then, I just didn’t know what I know now. Always keep that in mind when God leads in an unexpected direction. What I know now, is obedience to God’s leading means you look back at pictures…and weep. The tears do not represent what they did in January of 2007. They are a grateful, over-joyed and flat out heart sick for missing kids who in a year and half changed my entire life forever. Most of those in this picture are adults…and what amazing men and women they are. There were more to meet, more to love and more to change my life…but this was the first crazy bunch who trusted those weird guys from Texas with a big vision for a little town. We had no idea what God was gonna do. He continues to do it…and its awesome. Our last year at camp, someone who would become a friend said “there is an anointing on your group”. I bawled as I said we were about to leave. She said they are gonna be fine, turns me around and tells me to look at them…at what was the most beautiful sight of teenagers worshiping I had ever seen. She was right then…she still is. I cry just typing it…
This kid is now the youth pastor.
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I can say with certainty, had I not trusted God then, I wouldn’t be where I am today. We knew that one day God would lead us back to Austin. He did…that doesn’t look like we originally thought either. Turns out, we had to leave so our heart could grow, break, learn a few things…and apparently get a vision for planting a church in this great city. We only spent two and a half years at our church in San Angelo. That is a whole other post full of God’s faithfulness, joys of youth ministry and life changing friendships. We never saw God’s timing as it turned out to be. I promise you this, His ways are way better. You will see His faithfulness in ways you never imagined because you are in places you never imagined. I get occasional texts on a Sunday morning. Even the goofy ones make me cry. What I could have missed…and didn’t. I’m so glad I didn’t. God shows us much when we obey Him. He changes our tears, and it breaks our heart