A Dirt Road

It’s been a while since I have written. There is a reason. Everything I have wanted to write about has been about a big change that is coming in our family, and I wanted to make sure that our family and church knew about it before putting it out there.

We will be moving back to Italy.

There are many questions that are being asked. And we want to answer them. To be honest, we don’t have some of the answers ourselves yet though. I hope to write another post soon that is more detail oriented and that will hopefully answer some questions.

But I think it is important to first share how we came to this decision. Well, really just me. You see, every time something big has happened in our lives, which usually involved change, God has gotten us to the same destination but on very different roads. My road would be like a long, curvy dirt road filled with pot holes. I think Paul’s is a little more like the interstate.

So here is my journey.

It started in November of last year when Paul and Wes, our pastor, went on a vision trip to Salerno, Italy, which is about 45 minutes south of Naples on the Amalfi Coast. When Paul came back he had a renewed burden for Italians. I listened to him tell me about standing on top of St. Elmo castle and hurting for the lostness he saw. I said nothing. I thought, “You can be broken from here. I am not going back. We are needed here. There is still so much work for us right here. No. I will not go.” And I put it out of my mind.

This year some things changed for us, most of which were related to finances. As we began to seek means of supplemental income we kept coming up empty. One day Paul approached me and said he thought we were supposed to go back to Italy and then he asked what I thought about it. I, not so gently, said no. I could not go back. I would not go back. I admitted that I had asked God not to send me back because if He did I knew I would go and I did NOT WANT TO GO.

There are so many reasons for my not wanting to go, and I will share them with you sometime maybe. But for now, suffice it to say that life for me in Naples was difficult.

When I admitted what I had asked of God, I felt the weight of it. The enormous heaviness of my sin. And I was so ashamed. So I began to pray that God would change my heart. That whatever was coming around the curve would be met with joy and excitement. I would do whatever He asked, but I didn’t want to do it out of obligation or because I was supposed to do it. I wanted to want to do it. And God answered my prayer. He slowly began to soften my hard and calloused heart.

A few months later REVO began a sermon series called Journey, in which we walked through the different stages on a believer’s journey with Jesus. There was one sermon titled “Grow .” It was from Luke 5:1-11 in which Jesus calls Peter, James, and John to follow him. What stood out to me was verse 11.

On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”<sup class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-ESV-25109a" value="[a]”>[a] 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

I’ve read this countless times. When I have read it before the word everything often stood out, and I would think about their families and jobs they left behind. But this time it occurred to me that they had just seen an incredible miracle. That catch was probably the biggest they had ever seen. It would have meant financial security, a 401K possibly, maybe moving up in society a little bit. And they left it. They left a miracle to follow the one who performed it. I was left speechless…breathless. And I begin to understand what God was asking of me.

Maybe three days later Paul told me about a job opportunity he saw in Bologna, Italy. I think I just gave him a look and kept going about my business. Then I went to read my bible on the deck while the kids rested. I began journaling, asking God the same question I have been asking for about a year, “What do You want from me? Not as a wife or mom, but me as a child of God?” What I heard was simple, direct and almost audible…”Obey.” My response was, “Great. I can do that. In what, Lord?” I waited for something huge from Him, the thing I have been waiting on for months. What I heard was, “In everything. In the small and the big. And if you will obey me in the small things I will show you the big things.”

In that moment, I knew. I knew what my God was asking of me. That afternoon I told Paul to look at the job he saw, and in doing so I was telling him I’m ok to go back. More than that…I want to go back.

My road is filled with giant pot holes, ones of my one making. My fears and insecurities get in the way. My incredible dislike for change and saying goodbye and packing everything into suitcases get in the way. And though my road is bumpy and has lots of curves, it is a road that always brings me closer to Jesus, which is a road I will take any day of the week, hopefully learning how to make it a little smoother and with a few less curves as I go. 

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