Sitting here with Prince in the quiet house after everyone else has gone to bed has started me thinking about our upcoming move. To be honest, I’m both excited and sad. I’m excited to see family again. Living near my parents and sister will be a huge blessing to us. Getting to know you nephews and nieces by FaceTime just isn’t the same as being there for all the uncle hugs, cool adventures, and other important stuff. We are going to be staying with my parents while we are in North Carolina, one town away from my sister and her family. So I’m already anticipating some quality crazy uncle time. It will also be very possible (although a bit of a long haul) to visit Melodie’s parents and her brother’s family in New Mexico. Totally worth the 1,892 mile drive!
I’m sad because we are leaving Aberdeen, such a wonderful place that has impacted us so much. Our lives will forever be different and better because of our Scottish experience. For the youngest in our family, life in Aberdeen is all he can really remember. He has some impressions of our time in CA but nothing like the character forming experience here in the UK. He even did speech therapy here a few years ago which turned his American accent into a funny mix of Cali-Aberdonian. The older two boys have both transitioned from little kids to young men during our time here. One is a bit hairier than the other but they will that will change in no time!
It’s funny to think that God has plans for us despite the difficulty of our current situation. We prayed quite a bit, asking God to allow us to stay and continue to develop friendships within our community. We also prayed that if God was leading elsewhere that he would firmly shut doors to opportunities and give us clear direction that it was time to leave. The abruptness of how this all came about has been shocking but, I can honestly say, not traumatic. I do have an underlying peace about the whole thing. Anxiety still comes in waves bringing questions about immediate concerns like finances, schooling for the boys, work for me, Melodie’s health, my football team, selling our car, packing, etc. How will this sorted in the time we have left? It seems like a huge number of very large tasks and it all becomes a bit overwhelming at times.
To be honest, sometimes I forget to pray and just start to distract myself with “doing.” I’d like to say I’m acting on faith but my attitude and short temper reveal this to be just a lame excuse, a pile of rubbish. It’s more of a way to latch on to something I can control when everything else seems chaotic. I’ve come to learn that faith isn’t just “doing” something blindly, it’s is an imperfect mix of thoughtful inaction and purposeful reliance. The thoughtful inaction aspect of faith comes when we stop “doing” and pause to submit ourselves to God and his perfect plan for us.
The frustrating part is that this plan is never ever, in my experience, completely clear. Rather, he reveals it to us in a step by step manner providing just enough light in front of our feet to keep us from stumbling in the dark. It has to be this way because if we knew exactly the plan he has for us we would quickly, because of our human nature, take over and forget that, in his love, he has prepared these things for us. In the end, this would inhibit our ability to flourish in his presence and impede an essential element of our existence, relationship with our loving creator.
This is where the purposeful reliance aspect of faith enters into the picture. Once God has revealed the bit of the path that he desires me to see, it is my responsibility to walk faithfully in the direction he is guiding. Herein lies the balancing act between faith and action that can only be possible through an experience of relationship provided by the Holy Spirit. I believe the Spirit has worked and continues to work through several different avenues in my life: friends and family (both believers and agnostics), my church, my work (both academic and fundraising), and scripture. All of these help define and maintain the matrix through which I understand God’s plan for my life, a plan (as I have said previously) that is revealed just enough for me to resolutely follow despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
So, as we take steps to move back to the US, please pray for the Carroll family as we attempt to faithfully follow where God is leading. Pray that things like lack of finances, anxiety about future employment, concern for Melodie’s health, and the safekeeping of our boys’ spiritual and emotional well-being do not overwhelm us. But, most importantly, pray that we can continue to be a living example of how God works in the lives of those who faithfully follow him.
P.S. I’ve had people ask how they can help us financially during this time of transition. It seems the easiest way is through PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to know more or would consider supporting us monthly, please message me.