I have been putting off writing a post that has been simmering in my mind for weeks. This morning when I read BigMama's very honest and vulnerable post about what's really going on in her life, it kind of lit a fire under me to spill the beans. It's not that I don't want to share, because I am a pretty open person. It's just that to process what's been going on in written words is going to hurt and I'll probably cry really hard. I just haven't had the energy for that. You see, February has been extremely full. We had five major events within nine days. The first three were my sister getting married, Jackson turning two, and then having his and Ella's party.
On Friday (Day 7), Jackson had his two-year check up and shots at his pediatrician's office. That night he started getting sick and I thought it was from his shots. I mean, twelve hours earlier his doctor had checked him from head to toe and he was completely fine. Yes, we took him to his party sick the next morning, but I still thought it was from the shots. And I honestly did not know what to do. Just not show up? Maybe a better woman would have done that. By the next evening he was very sick and we ended up taking him to an urgent care clinic. Major event number four. That is a post in itself - one I tried to write but was too emotionally exhausted to produce. I only wrote about three sentences before giving up. Jackson was checked for the flu and strep and was then x-rayed for pneumonia. I was utterly shocked to find out that he did in fact have pneumonia. Wow. It hit so fast and hard. He received a very painful antibiotic shot that sent him into a cry that I have never heard out of his mouth. It lasted fifteen minutes. That, combined with the fact that this clinic must have had zero experience in dealing with a toddler and his fragile parents, caused me to melt into sobs. (We had been made to restrain him repeatedly while he was traumatized with pokes and prods and strange machines. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it was very upsetting.) I left the clinic completely drained and Curtis left furious at the workers. It was a tough night for us, but at the same time I kept thinking about parents who have chronically, gravely ill children. Oh, Lord, please be near to them. If we were that upset over a run of the mill bout with pneumonia, what must all those parents at Children's Hospital be going through?
Here's where my stomach is starting to churn, because major event number five was also a doozie. The next morning my husband was to preach the Sunday services at our church, and we were to announce his resignation from his position as student pastor. Again, this in itself is another post - one I haven't yet known how to write.
From September 2006 to July 2007, my husband had the amazing opportunity to lead a Saturday night service at our church. Since he was 17 years old, all he has wanted to do was speak and preach. The Saturday service was the fulfillment of a dream for him. He was preaching every single week and loving it. Curt had never prepared and preached a sermon on a weekly basis and it was neat to see how the Lord gave him the grace to do it every week. I would sit in my chair and listen to him, thinking, "Who is this man? Is this my husband?" God's power in him was evident to me. Seeing him operate in his gift made me praise the Lord because I knew that it was supernatural. I feel that way when I hear my mom speak, too.
We ended up learning the hard way that churches have services on Sunday mornings for a reason. It is very hard to compete with everything that gets scheduled for Saturday nights. A lot of churches have very successful Saturday services, but I'm not sure it works as well for a smaller church where the atmosphere is more affected by a handful of people not showing up. We know that God is sovereign and He knew all along it would be temporary. We will understand His plan someday. When we brought the service to a close, it was a hard loss for Curtis. I'm sure I don't need to explain why.
We began fervently asking God to open up doors for Curtis to speak and preach. He got a handful of phone calls to speak at various events, which he absolutely loves to do. It was very encouraging and exciting, but every event coincided with something we had at our own church. We realized that when God finally answered our prayers, He would probably take us away from First Baptist Irving. You can imagine the tension that created in our hearts. We wanted to walk into our calling, but we wanted to do it with our church family! And our best friends!
I am purposely not going to go into detail at this time and I appreciate your patience as I wait for the best timing, but the Lord brought us an open door a few months ago and it is time for us to walk through it.
At the conclusion of each service on Sunday, Curtis had to announce that we are leaving. I have not seen him cry since our wedding ceremony on June 15, 2002. He is not a crier. But my husband bawled like a little baby standing in front of our church members during the traditional service. I think the sweetest thing he said was, "Besides us, you were the first people to teach our son about Jesus." I'm crying right now just typing that. During the second service, he held it together pretty well until he sat back down on the front row. Then he put his head in his hands and wept. It was a sad day for us.
Again, there is a huge tension in my heart between being excited that God has answered a prayer that Curt began praying ten years ago, and being so sad to leave our church family and friends here in Irving. When you do not have family members living near by, your friends absolutely become your family. To the degree that I am joyful to be taking the next step, I am devastated at the ripping away that is about to occur. I'm not sure I can expound on that anymore right now. You might be wondering if this means Jackson won't be attending weekly Thursday playdates with Ella, Ava, and Tobey, and you are right. We will be too far away.
That morning I really needed my mama because who can you ask to babysit your child with pneumonia while you stand next to your husband and resign from a ministry you've had together for 3.5 years? I kept thinking, "Lord, what is this timing?" Janelle was sweet enough to tend to Jackson while we made our announcement. Sunni would have been there to help, too, if she didn't have to sing a solo at her church that morning. My sweet, sweet friends.
When I went to retrieve Jackson, he was in the choir room with Janelle, Krystal, Jake, and Vonda. They were all showering The Mister with attention and keeping him happy, while watching everything on a TV screen above them. There was just something sweet about walking in there and finding four people who have been so special to us for the last few years. Krystal is our middle school pastor's wife and she is every bit as involved as her husband. Vonda has grown up in our church and is one of those people who brings a double portion of light and joy with her when she walks into a room. Jake has also grown up in our church and has ministered there in more ways than I can count, taking every opportunity to serve. Janelle has served our youth and college ministry behind the scenes as Curt's secretary and she doesn't get near enough credit for her hard work. She has grieved with us over our failures and praised the Lord for our successes in the Saturday service and in the college ministry. She has loved my son almost as much as if he were her own. Sunni (there in spirit) has helped me keep a sense of humor and has gotten me out of this house when the walls were creeping in. She has been a great listener and has let us all benefit from her creativity in mothering. She has also loved my son almost as much as if he were her own. I could literally write a book about all the people who have impacted our lives in DFW. There are too many to count. God knows the gratitude in my heart for each one.
This is so very long already, but I have to share one more thing. When we moved to Irving, I had my 25th birthday nine days later. My best friends from Houston, with whom we had spent countless hours serving teenagers, and with whom we shared our newlywed years, sent me a huge box filled with birthday presents and cards. I wept as I opened it, asking myself why I just left people who loved me that much. I want to testify right now that our God is faithful and He brought me an additional circle of friends who have enriched my life and who have been so much fun to do motherhood with. Each one of those friends, from Houston and from Irving, has a specific role in my life. Not one of them is replaceable. In three weeks, as we drive away from our home in Irving, I will cry to Curtis and ask why we are leaving people who love us so much. And to me that speaks of God's goodness. He provides for all of our needs. He gently leads those who have young. And He cares about the deep needs of our hearts - like having good friends.
If anyone is still reading this, thank you again for allowing me to share details in my own timing. I look forward to chronicling much more about this journey. Hopefully in much shorter segments.