When you pass through the waters

To say the last several months have been difficult is almost an understatement. They have been a rollercoaster, complete with twists, turns, and steep drops. If you were to capture all the emotions and feelings that have gone on in our home since the Fall on canvas, you’d end up with a Picasso-like painting, a scramble of shapes and colours and contours.

I admit that it has been hard to remain positive and see the good in all of it…to understand how all of these things, some more than others, bring glory to God. But maybe it’s not the things themselves, but rather my response to them that should be glorifying to God. Instead of having a frustrated, sad, angry, and tired response when we take two steps forward and five steps back (which does not glorify God) what if I respond patiently, prayerfully, lovingly, with self-control and gentleness? I’m pretty sure that would glorify God.

Throughout these last few months, a text that keeps coming up is Isaiah 43:1-3. God is speaking to Israel, but this is one of those times when what He is saying holds true for all believers.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

    I have called you by name, you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

and through the rivers,

they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through the fire you shall

not be burned,

and the flame shall not consume you.

For I am the LORD your God,

the Holy One of Israel, you’re Savior.”

These verses reminded me that I should expect suffering and hardship and trials and difficulty and sadness in this life. Just because I follow Jesus doesn’t mean I am immune to these things…neither are you. We all experience these things because we live in a broken world. That’s part of the curse. In the verse above God doesn’t say “IF you walk” or “IF you pass through”, but “WHEN you walk” and “WHEN you pass through”. But our focus should not be on the “hardships” that He lists…and I don’t think that’s God’s focus in these verses. Before He gives a list of “hardships”, God says ,”Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.” And after every “hardship” is named, hope is given…”I will be with you”, “they shall not overwhelm you”, “you shall not be burned”, “the flame shall not consume you”.

WHY? Because He is the LORD our God, the Holy One, our Savior. And if He says He will be with me, then I can trust that He will be with me because He says He will. And as I walk through these difficult days, prayerfully keeping my eyes focusing on Him*, the difficult days will not overwhelm or consume me. Instead, with the power of the Holy Spirit living in me, I can respond with the fruit of the Spirit, glorifying God.

*This doesn’t happen every time something difficult comes along. Often times my eyes are on the suffering and difficulty. What can I say? I am a work in progress and am thankful I live under grace.
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The Summer of Deer

2015 – The summer of no car

2016 – The summer of Daniela and Chelsea (our first two summer interns and two women I hope I am always connected with)

2017 – The summer of ‘Merica and Disneyworld

2018 – The summer of Deer

I named our summer months ago, pretty much right after our friend, Emily Deer, booked her ticket to Salerno.

We met Deer….wait, it could be weird that I refer to her by her last name if you don’t know why. First, Deer is dear to us (that’s corny, but it’s true). Second, that’s how she was introduced to me. I didn’t even know her first name for months after meeting her. In fact, someone once referenced Emily, and I think my response was, “Emily who?”.

We met Deer at REVO church in Winston-Salem. She was part of our framily (and still is). She was a member of the Sunday lunch bunch, a group of our friends who came to Sunday lunch every day for I am pretty sure over 2 years. She played with our kids, laughed with us, introduced us to VHS Clue, ate with us, cried with us, and was there at the end holding hands with some of the other members of our Winston family as we prayed one last time all together before they sent us off on our current adventure.

Deer has been here 3 glorious weeks and has another 2 to go. She “gave up” her summer to come help the kids with English, American history (of which they know zip), and math.

While I know she came to help the kids, she has also been a help to me. For a myriad of reasons, her presence was much needed for me. Yes, she’s helped with the kids and washed more than her fair share of dishes, but her presence – having a dear (no pun intended) friend, who understands every look and nuance of who you are – has been life giving and refreshing.

Relationship is one the great gifts of God to us. We aren’t meant to live alone, isolated from others. We also weren’t created to live lives without God in them. The great tragedy of sin is that it separated mankind from its Creator, severing the relationship we were created to have with Him. Since the Fall we have looked to other things and people to complete us when only God can do it.

Friendships are great and God-given but they cannot replace the relationship that we were meant to have with God. As great as having Deer here is, she will leave soon. Even if she never left, she (nor anyone else) can fill the God-sized hole that exists in my soul. Only He can do that. The thing is, I can am so quick to forget that fact and I search for it elsewhere, always coming up empty.

But He is faithful even when I am not and He has a way of reminding me of that faithfulness and that He created me for relationship with Him first and foremost. And this time the reminder came in the form of a dear friend (pun intended).

 

The Bad Thing About Living in Community

So, I don’t really think that belonging to a community of believers is bad. However, the title got you to click the link so let’s keep going and I’ll explain my meaning behind the title. 

When true Christian community happens, there are bonds that form between people that last long after job transfers, moves, and life changes. They are bonds that grow deeper than friendship. They are the bonds of Christian love. 

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From about the middle of August until around the middle of November I go through a period of something that I am going to name “Not Greatness.” The Not Greatness doesn’t affect me everyday…I’ve been there, done that, and learned a lot along the way. However, every year since leaving Winston-Salem, I go through the Not Greatness. It usually sneaks up on me out of nowhere. There I’ll be, minding my own business, going about my day, and BAM! Suddenly I’m crying, longing for something I left behind.

What is it the I am longing for?  What is it that the Not Greatness has me bawling my eyes out over?

It is community. Specifically, the community I left behind in Winston Salem.

Why this time of year? I have some guesses but I don’t know exactly. The Fall made me fall in love with Winston Salem, and Winston Salem made me fall in love with the Fall. I had never seen leaves turn the colors they do until I moved there. The golds, reds, and oranges surrounded me as I walked my neighborhood. I learned to appreciate the full cycle of life and God’s creation in a different way. It is a time of the Dixie Classic Fair, walks on brisk days, fire pits and smores, festivals, trick or treating, and hot chocolate. 

But if it was just these things and events I don’t think I would have such a longing. I don’t think the Not Greatness would even rear it’s head. And I don’t think that two years ago I would have walked through deep depression. No, it’s not the things and events.  It’s the people that were with me when I was doing these things and going to these events that made them so special. The people  are what I long for and miss. They are the reason behind the Not Greatness. 

Please don’t hear me say I don’t love where I am or that I want to be somewhere else.  I love where I am. There is no where else I’d rather be. I’m trying to make new traditions and find new events and things to invite others into that will make them just as special as the things and events I left behind. I am loving the community that is developing around me. It’s beautiful and lovely and brings great joy. But there are times when I long, desperately so, for those friendships I left behind that go deeper than friendships. They are relationships rooted in Christian love and community. 

So why is it that I still miss this community so much? What is it that made it (and continues to do so) special? It’s the love that exists between us. It’s the love that most of us hear preached about at weddings, but really was intended for the Church. In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul writes to the church in Corinth that “[l]ove is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

When the Church remembers that is to be like Christ, who IS LOVE (which means he is all the things in the list Paul gives us) then what a better Church we would be. How amazing it would be to have a body of believers who didn’t insist on their own way or hold grudges or let sin slide under the rug. How incredible to have that body be patient and kind to one another, never letting arrogance or conceit or envy put them at odds with one another.

And this is how my community in Winston-Salem functioned. It did not accomplish this perfectly, but this description of love was its foundation. Everything was based on this. It was how we were able to forgive one another for offenses, celebrate each others successes, mourn losses, serve selflessly, give freely, and take correction. It was a community that pushed me, tried me, made me uncomfortable with my sin…and drew me closer to Christ.

So what’s the “bad thing” about true Christian community ? It is having to walk away from it. I guess the Not Greatness isn’t so bad either. It reminds me of people I love. It reminds me to pray for them, call them, text them.  The great thing about this community is that no matter where I am in the world, it will always be there. A phone call, a text message, a FaceTime call away. They are forever a part of our lives, no matter how many miles separate us. This is what true community should be, right? Our lives should be so interwoven that when one of the threads breaks away, it 1) hurts like crazy and 2) is not severed completely from the others.

As I think about where I am now, I look forward to the new relationships and community that are developing that will be closer than friendship because of in Whom it is rooted. I am excited for the 1 Corinthians kind of love to permeate who we are as a church and how we interact with one another.

So I give myself permission each Fall to feel the deepness of the Not Greatness, but I don’t give my permission to stay there. Instead, I mourn what was and I look forward to what will be.

Making disciples at home

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“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 19

I think this might be the mantra of every mission-sending organization on our planet. It’s a good mantra to have. I’ve spent the last 9 years trying to understand how to live out the Great Commission, but lately I have been reflecting on who I am ministering to and who am I living out the Gospel in front of the most?

The answer is my kids.

I forget all too often that during this period, Paul and I are their disciplers. Recently, while sharing a meal with our teammates, I was reminded of it. My job as their mother is to point them to Jesus.

The most important thing I will do is send Gingernut and Lil’ Paul out into the world as adults who follow Jesus with their whole hearts, who understand what it means to pick up their cross and follow him. This is a great responsibility, one that I don’t take lightly, but one that I sometimes forget to make the focus of my mothering. I too often allow the stresses of life, the tantrums and fits, the disobedience, the lack of energy and sometimes want I feel to overshadow it. God forgive me.

When my children leave “the nest” I want them to go into the world seeing it through the lens of the Gospel. I don’t want them to have an American worldview or an Italian worldview but a Gospel worldview.

This is my great task…to prepare, teach, show and encourage them in the ways of Christ. If they are the only two people I disciple over the next 14-plus years, then I will count the time well-spent. I could reach all of Salerno, but if I fail to show and teach my children what it means to be a follower of Jesus, what have I really accomplished?

God gave two children – two of His children – to raise not in a religious household, but in a household that lifts up and makes much of His name. This responsibility, this great task, has driven me to my knees in prayer – prayers that He works and moves despite my weaknesses and sin, prayers for discernment and wisdom as I teach my children, prayers for learning how to rest in Him when the days are long and my patience in short, prayers for the ability to do everything in love even when I don’t want to.

So, next summer, when we are back in the U.S. and you ask me how I spent my time, I’ll certainly tell you about the Italians I know and what I do at the church, but mostly I tell you about my children.

 

 

 

The Sunrise

As we flew over the Atlantic, before day had broken, for some reason I decided to lift the shade of the window I was sitting by.

What I saw left be breathless…speechless….

We were flying above a landscape of smooth clouds. In the distance where the sky and clouds met there was a a brilliant orange which led to a vibrant yellow which gave way to pale yellow that faded into ever darker shades of blue.

To say it was beautiful is to belittle it.

And I thought about the majesty of God. His greatness, His magnitude, His beauty. I thought of how all creation praises His name because it all points to Him. From the rolling clouds to the rising of the sun. I realize – again – how small I am and how big God is. And God, who is so great and vast, loves little, insignificant me. He has chosen me, saved me, loved me, and is in the process of sanctifying me.

All this from a sunrise from a unique perspective for me but one that God sees every day.

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. 

Father’s Day

Father’s Day. It’s a great day to celebrate the dads in our lives.

But this year I can’t help but think about my friends who are dads to children they will never hold.

We often think about the moms who have lost children. I see an article on facebook almost every day telling me how to talk to them, not talk to them, and what they are going through.

But what about the dads?

Where is their advocate? Do they feel lost in the background to the women they love and hurt for? Do they have anyone to turn to in order to express their anger, frustration, anxiety, grief, and loss?

I wonder…

I have too many male friends who never held their baby, only held their baby for a few moments, or only had a few short years to make memories.

And I wonder as Father’s Day approaches what they will think about…

watching his wife rock and sing lullabies to his child
dancing his baby girl to sleep at midnight
the baseballs that will never be thrown during a game of catch as the sun sets in the distance
letting his daughter dance on his feet at a friend’s wedding

Oh, it goes on and on just as it does for all the mothers. It makes my heart hurt…for both of them. It’s an incredibly helpless feeling when you can do nothing to take away the pain and hurt of a friend. But we can be mindful of what they are going through.

So this Father’s Day, I hope you will celebrate with joy and love your Father and the father of your children. I know I will be. But this year…well, this year I am also going to be more sensitive to those who instead of getting a World’s Best Dad mug might be mourning that he won’t be getting one.

Leaving Everything

Luke 5: 1-11

On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”>the lake of Gennesaret, <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”>and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”>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 <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”>he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”>“Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”And Simon answered, “Master, <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”>we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”>they enclosed a large number of fish, and <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”>their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>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, <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”>“Depart from me, for <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>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.”<span class="footnote" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="[a]”>[a] 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”>they left everything and followed him.


I’ve read this passage a dozen times over. I’ve heard many sermons on it. But when it was preached this last Sunday something caught my attention that I’d never paid much attention to before. It’s found in verse 11:

And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. emphasis added

Peter, James and John left everything. I’ve brushed past that every time I have read it. But when I read this week…it made me stop and reflect on what “everything” actually meant for them. 

In leaving their father, James and John left their inheritance, their livelihood. They left the responsibility that sons had towards their fathers. 

These three men had just caught probably the biggest catch of their lives. I imagine it would have fetched them a pretty penny when selling time came that day. That could have had endless possibilities for them and their families. Yet they left it. The catch of a lifetime, the money, and the comfort that money would bring. The question we should be asking is “Why?” Really, who would do such a thing for a man you hardly knew?

Wes, the preacher man on North Campus of Revo, pointed something out that I, again, had never noticed. Gotta love it when those preachers do that. 

If we pay attention to the text, we’ll notice that when Peter first addresses Jesus he calls Jesus “Master”. But after the miracle of fish jumpin’ into their nets Peter addresses him as “Lord”. Peter recognized that something miraculous and marvelous had happened in front of him and that it was divine. 

Jesus chose to reveal his divine nature to these men. And in response to that revelation, Peter confesses that he is a sinful man, unworthy to stand in the presence of the one who has revealed himself. 

But here’s where the gospel already begins to present itself. Jesus’ response to Peter’s confession is this: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Don’t be afraid that you, a sinful man, are standing before a holy God. Don’t be afraid that because I am holy and you are not that you will die. Don’t be afraid of the judgement that you deserve. It shall not be cast upon you. 

But it gets even better. Jesus revealed himself to these three, and he tells them that now, they are not going to keep that to themselves. No. They are going to go and give that message to others because the gospel is not for us to keep secret but rather something to shout from the rooftops. 

But still, we come back to them having left everything. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ will cost us something, if not everything. You’re kidding yourself if you think it won’t or you believe in a gospel that is watered down so that it can’t cost you anything of real significance. However, the true gospel, the message that Jesus bled and died for, will cost us everything. As it should. He gave everything for me, for you. Shouldn’t I be willing to give it all to him? 

He tells us to pick up our cross. He tells us when we lose our lives for him then we will find it. He teaches us that we cannot love the world and God. We cannot serve two masters. He asks me to give everything to him so that his name can be furthered, can be made known, can be glorified. 

I’ll admit that sometimes I don’t understand why the gospel has to cost me so much. Why does it call me to leave everything? And I understand that your “everything” and my “everything” could be different. I have a friends whose “everything” has been everything they were taught because they were raised in a different religion. I’ve known people whose “everything” meant down-sizing so they could give more of what they had away to people who needed it. But still I ask why does it cost so much? 

The answer I come up with is that if following Jesus didn’t cost me everything, he wouldn’t be worth following. He has saved me. Saved me from hell, from myself, from a life of unfullfillment and pain. He has brought up from the ashes and seated me with the princes. So yes, the gospel is worth every penny of my money, every person I have to say goodbye to, every article of clothing I give to someone, every moment I spend with someone who doesn’t know that love that he gives, and every sacrifice that is made. 

The gospel is worth leaving everything because the one the gospel proclaims left everything for me. 


Never Too Late

About two years ago we had a massive yard sale to raise money for a team to go to Cuba. We had  several big ticket items, one of which was a guitar. An older gentleman wondered onto the lawn and inquired about the guitar. Paul quoted him a price and somewhere in the process Cuba came up. Being a good yard sale bargain hunter, the man asked for a lower price. After a few minutes of going back and forth Paul finally agreed to the lower price.

Fast forward to this past Saturday. Our friends, Chase and Kelley Lambert, had a HUGE yard sale at our house to help get the last little bit they need for their adoptions. When I arrived back from a meeting and getting my hairs did (thanks Lauren) Kelley came up and told me about something that had happened while I was away.

A gentleman approached Kelley and told her that two years ago he came to a yard sale at this house and purchased a guitar. He had known that the money was going to a mission trip to Cuba but he had still haggled the price. He told her he for two years he has carried around the guilt of that. He handed her a ten dollar bill and asked that she give it to the people who own the house. A minute or two later he asked Kelley for the ten dollars back and gave her a twenty. Ten was to go to us and ten to Kelley and Chase for the adoptions.

Two years that man carried around guilt. Two whole years. To me, it is amazing that he acted on it so long after the event occurred when he could have dismissed it and moved on with life. I hope his conscience is resting easy now. I hope his guilt is gone. I hope in hearing about a mission trip to Cuba and a couple trying desperately to bring their children home from Africa he has seen a glimpse of the gospel being lived out.

This story is a great reminder to me that it is never too late to make good on something. It is never too late to mend a broken bridge. It is never too late to say “I’m sorry.” It is never too late to forgive or ask for forgiveness. It is never too late to get up and do that thing that you’ve always wanted to do. It is never to late to seek answers. It is never too late…for anything…ever.

April First

A few days ago my older sister, Julie, sent me a text message. This is what it said:

I had a former student email me today. She and her husband are currently in the Jackson area, but will be moving to Winston-Salem for him to finish his residency. They are interested in finding a church when they arrive. I told them about y’all’s church and she was interested. Would you give her a call tomorrow on her day off? Her name is Ella Funt and her number is ***-***-****. 

Cold-calling folks is not my cup of tea, but she never asks for too much, so I thought, “Sure. Why not?”
I also thought I was sure glad I don’t have to walk through life with the last name Funt (if anyone’s name is actually Funt, my apologizes for offending you).

Some of you reading this are already laughing. Others, however, are like me. Hang in there…you’ll catch on soon. Hopefully.

The next day I called the number she gave me, but I encountered a couple of problems. 1) It was a business number. 2) I couldn’t understand what the automated message was saying.

I texted Julie.

Me: That’s her work number

Julie: Were you by chance able to talk to her?

Me: (With eyes rolling and a bit of sarcasm) No, you said today was her day off. Do you have her personal number? If not I will call her tomorrow.

Julie: I thought may be she got called in or something. That was the only number she gave.

Me: I’ll try again.

So I try again. Again, I get a somewhat garbled message at the beginning and can’t figure out where I am calling. I begin trying to enter her last name into the automated directory. F-U-N-T. “That name does not exist” Maybe I typed it in wrong. F-U-N-T. “That name does not exist.” So I press “0” trying to get an attendant. Nothing.

I text Julie again.

Me: I can’t find her at this number. I can’t even understand what they are saying on the message. She’s not in the directory.

Julie: That’s weird that you can’t locate Ella Funt at the Jackson Zoo.

And here’s your sign MacKenzie. Here’s your SIGN! If you still haven’t gotten it, run the name together. EllaFunt. Also known as Elephant.

The worst part is that she pulled the same April Fool’s joke on our brother, sister and parents. My mom warned my younger sister. That sister warned my brother. NOBODY WARNED ME. NOBODY. Thanks family.

So, I figured that since the rest of my family is having a good ole laugh at my expense, the rest of the world might as well too.

Your welcome. Now go dry your tears of laughter.
MacKenzie