Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Boxes, Empty Rooms, and Paper Plates

It's been one week since we started "Operation: Move" and it has been going very well! Thank you for your prayers. We still have several more boxes from our list that need to be checked-off and with 6 days left...I know everything will continue to fall into place. Friends came over last night to help me pack, tape, and bubble wrap all of my "breakables". The rooms are beginning to look empty and I can almost get an echo out of them (that was my favorite part about moving when I was little). :) Our garage sale on Saturday was amazing! We tore apart our house and put out everything that we no longer needed and by 5:00pm almost EVERYTHING was gone! We only ended up throwing away a few items. That was a huge blessing!

Along with moving, our days and evenings have been full of meeting with friends and family for final farewells. Our friends put together a small good bye party for us on Sunday. Everyone signed a book with memories or thoughts they had for Stephen and I! We both wanted to cry when we got to read through them. I feel SO blessed to have genuine, life-long friends. I know the big "Good Bye" is coming up soon...but I'd like to save all those tears until the veeeerrryy last min. I'll probably cry my eyes out for the first 500 miles of our journey!

Tomorrow is our last night with the young adult ministry where Stephen has been serving as one of the pastors for several years. He is going to preach his last message and we will have our final farewell with all of the amazing people whose lives we've been able to be apart of. This is going to be extremely tough! We both have come to love these people like they are part of our own family. An authentic, genuine, and real Christian community has been shared and cultivated in this ministry and we are going to miss this immensely! With sadness, we also have great joy for the future of this group...we know God's going to continue to bless it.

Well, I'm going to get back to routing our map across the country, boxing up our house, and trying to decided what clothes go in suitcases, boxes, or bags! :)

I read this passage this morning and it was very encouraging to me. Just a reminder that all of this "daily grind" kind of work is for a purpose! We have a mission and it's already begun:

"So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, "I am holy; you be holy." 1 Peter 1:13-16 Message


"Father, please help us to keep our hearts and minds focus on you. I'm tempted to become fearful and scared of all the unknowns that are up ahead. We desperately need you! Thank you for your grace and for being our "very present help" I love you!-Julie"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stephen's Ordination~The Journey Continues



Sunday, September 13th, was a very special moment for Stephen and I. As you can see above, Stephen was officially ordained as a pastor. Some of our pastors and deacons prayed over Stephen as they sent him out to become a Chaplain...a missionary to the Military. I snapped this picture really quick and was SO thankful that I decided to do so....I think it is priceless. I couldn't have been more proud of my husband for constantly following God's direction as the leader of our family. I have an incredible amount of respect for Stephen. He is a harder worker, diligent, has integrity, compassion, graciousness, patience, zeal, masculinity, and truly is the most balanced man I've ever met. :) If you haven't noticed I could go on and on about him! God continues to show me how blessed I am through Stephen. I am so honored to serve along side this man!
We have been watching God work on our behalf and are eager to see what's next! We will begin packing and moving all our "household goods" into a POD. Our official last day in San Diego, Ca will be October 5th. We will then begin our trek across America and will park in Maryland for a little while before Stephen goes to boot camp in Jan (Lord willing). There are many little boxes that need to be "checked" on our list of To Do's but I know that we only are promised one day at a time. I'm trying to remember this!
Today was my last day at work. It was hard as I randomly would tear up in my little cubical thinking about the great friends and women that I've been able to know over the past few years! I have so many fabulous memories there and will miss these ladies tremendously. If any of you are reading my blog... I LOVE YOU AND ALREADY MISS YOU!! :) You all will be in my prayers!
Much Love,
Julie "G"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Providence

Definition of Providence:
1. Care or preparation in advance; foresight.
2. The care, guardianship, and control exercised by a deity; divine direction
3. Providence God.

I couldn't think of any other fitting title to describe what I'm about to share! God has opened up so many doors recently and given us "divine direction." For those of you who have been following along with my blog, you know that my husband, Stephen, received his Masters of Divinity this year. Right before we left for vacation last month, we turned in our application to the North American Missions Board to see if they would endorse us as missionaries to the Military. We also received news about potential budget cuts so my husband volunteered to be "laid off" so no other positions would have to be terminated. He plans on (Lord willing) going to boot camp in January so he would just stop working for the church a few months early. However, This was not approved of before we left for vacation...we would have to wait a week to find out! While waiting we decided to call our realitor and put our house on the market just to see if there would be any potential buyers. Within the first week, we had many serious offers on our home! That alone is just not normal in our housing market today. We could not believe it! Shortly after receiving that news, we found out that Stephen's last day of "official" work would be September 15th. All of this was coming together while we were thousands of miles away from home on vacation! We were just sitting back--watching God put pieces together and work on our behalf...amazing. When we got home the following day, we signed an offer on our house and are now waiting for it to be approved.

This is all coming together much quicker than we anticipated and can totally see God's hand in it all. Yesterday, Stephen and I went before a board of 18 pastors, deacons, and professors at our church for an Ordination interview/meeting that lasted 3 1/2 hours! I was SO nervous going into this meeting and I think I asked everyone I knew to pray for us beforehand. :) After the butterflies settled down, I realized that it was a special expierence to sit next to my husband and for him to know that I'm on his team as his cheerleader. They went through Stephen's Doctrinal Statement and asked him so many questions that I had a headache by the time it was over! ;-)Stephen did a fantastic job and we both were honored to have these great men give us advice and exhortation. I went to the back of the room to "get some water" and snuck a few pictures my camera phone. Sorry they are blurry.....
Above: A few different shots of the Board
Above: My Hubby waiting for the Board to vote.
Which by the way, the Board voted "Yes!" to Stephen's Ordination as Pastor/Chaplain and the service (prayer) will be held this Sunday night. We were so excited to pass through this step on our journey.
If this was not enough, today Stephen received an email from the North American Mission Board that they have reviewed our application and want to fly us out to GA to be interviewed further! We were thrilled to get this news. At times this whole process makes me anxious, scared, excited, and joyous all at once. But God is just constantly reminding me all things are to be done His way, by His plan, with His knowledge, and in His timing. I am being humbled by His many provisions made for us daily. Sure, there are SO many more steps that need to be taken, decisions to be made, and bridges to that need to be crossed, but I'm confident that God is in control....and He will carry us through!
I appreciate your continued prayer support for us. We are so honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve in this capacity.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Vacation

I can not believe it has already been almost 1 month since I’ve had the opportunity to blog! Over the past few weeks, Stephen and I have been able to sit back and watch God do incredible works on our behalf. He takes care of even the most insignificant of our needs. I just wanted to brag about Him a little. :)

VaCaTiOn!
Destination: Washington D.C., Richmond V.A., & Myrtle Beach SC
Operation: R-E-L-A-X-A-T-I-O-N

I only will post a few pictures because there are 2,000 (I’m not kidding) to go through. In the Griffin family, they refer to people who take a million pictures of anything and everything as a, “Camera Nazi.” :) Stephen’s mom graciously takes all of our memory sticks at the end of every vacation and burns DVDs for everyone. This year she collected 9 cameras and that’s how we ended up with 2,000 photos! It’s awesome…I love it.

We had a wonderful time visiting with Stephen’s family! Spending a full 2 weeks there was such a special treat. Traditionally, we got play many games of family poker, tromped through a lusciously green forest where Stephen picked up poison ivy (Ouch!), toured the Pentagon with Stephen’s sister (amazing), were treated to one too many beautiful dinners at National Harbor, became “beach potatoes” for a whole week in SC, played in the warm ocean, read books, got burnt for the first time! :), enjoyed the Jacuzzi, played in the pools, spent many nights talking into the wee morning hours, spent time with our adorable nieces and nephews, got stung by a jelly fish (Stephen’s sting was worse than mine…poor guy!), and one of my favorite moments was the family sharing time with all of us in one room. I love getting to hear how I can pray for everyone individually and also hear what God’s been doing in their lives specifically. It was SO relaxing and we could not have had a better time!

The photo above is a view of our resort from the pier. It was Beautiful! I must say that it had been YEARS since I last actually got into the ocean up until this trip. There wasn't any seaweed, it was warm, and the waves weren't too big...just right! :)


This photo is (above) is of Stephen, his four sisters, and his mum and dad. The book that is being displayed is a 35th Anniversary photo album that was put together for Bruce and Linda's celebration.
Baking in the sun! Our resort in the background

Isn't this beautiful?! This was in Myrtle Beach, SC


Family Photo: Just Us! :)




Sorry you have to turn your head...but it's worth it!