Saturday, April 27, 2013

Weeping Forward

The name of this post is from Day 3 of Kelly Minter's Ruth bible study, and I think it's a little relevant at this point of my life. (Check it out!)

This particular devotion talks about how Naomi, Orpah and Ruth wept as they were leaving Moab. They were heartbroken. But Naomi and Ruth wept forward. Mourned but continued on to the next part of their lives. Sometimes moving forward isn't easy, but obedience to God's plan is key. 

Although I'm not weeping, this is a period of good-bye in my life... and a period of hellos. 

This past Wednesday night I was feeling a little down. I told Derrick, "nothing's wrong, I'm just feeling a little melancholy..." He smiled that I used the word "melancholy" and then asked if I was just tired of saying goodbye. I hadn't thought of that. But maybe that was it. 

It's the end of the year at Campbell. A time of much free food and festivities. And, this year, a time of big goodbyes. Thirteen of my student ambassadors are graduating. Many of them I have grown close to, and they have all blessed me. I have loved getting to know them, sharing in their lives, and celebrating with them. Three are particularly special to me, and I've been spending time recently with them - saying good bye. 

But after every graduation, we welcome a new class. A fresh group of students who have no idea in what ways their time at Campbell will change them. And, after every leaving ambassador, I invite new students to become a part of the program. I get to know them, am amazed at their dedication and spirit, and get to share in a portion of their lives. 

Tomorrow is our last Sunday at Relationship. Wednesday night we went to our last Life Group. And I'm not good at saying goodbye. I don't want to risk crying. I don't want to make a big deal of it. But we've poured our lives into RC and been poured into for the past year and a half. These people have become our dearest friends and church family. And it's definitely going to be different. 

But Thursday night we had dinner with some new friends from Hope. Derrick is quickly making friends with his coworkers and getting plugged in, and I'm excited to do the same. On one hand, I'm sad to be saying "goodbye" to one church and one friend-group, but I'm excited to be saying "hello" to new friends, a new church family, a new adventure. I'm excited to see what's ahead on the path. 

So sometimes life might make you sad. Moving forward may break your heart. But it's okay. Weep forward. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Her husband is respected...

My husband is a super cool person. 

He's the best best friend. My partner in life. My rock. 

He is someone I respect and am proud of. 
And we've had quite a journey together...

When we met, he wanted to be a PR consultant. For those who don't know him extremely well, that might seem like a stretch, as he's a little more laid back than outgoing. 

I remember when he fell in love with video. It was the same semester he fell in love with me. We took a video production class together because, eh, it seemed like it wouldn't be too bad...And everything changed.

And we began this crazy-beautiful journey. I grasped his hand, and we started down the path. And it's been amazing so far. Sometimes bumpy. Sometimes dark - with God only allowing us to see the very next step. But I'm Derrick's shotgun rider - with my feet up on the dashboard (which he hates) and music playing in the background. 

Our first video production had us as the stars in this suspenseful, romantic, doesn't-actually-make-sense movie trailer. Next thing I know, Derrick was researching the heck out of video equipment.

Then he interned doing a video for Campbell's campus ministries, and his eye for video was evident. Before we knew it, he was getting all of the behind-the-scenes details and experience of this crazy industry, as he began working for the youtube sensations - Rhett & Link. In fact, I started this blog while he was gone on his first out-of-town video shoot and wrote about his positive attitude about the hard journey ahead - check it out. 

Three months into our engagement, R & L let us know that they'd be moving to California. That began the hardest period of Derrick's job-life so far. Months of applying for dozens upon dozens of job. No responses resulted in us getting married at a point when Derrick didn't yet have a job. That required a lot of faith, patience, and budgeting. I remember how hard it was for me to go to work while he was at home, and how devastating it was for him to apply to job after job without hearing back. People gave him a hard time a lot, but I am proud that he never gave up. 

A month and a half into our marriage, Derrick finally took a job at HHGregg. I was so proud of him. He rocked that job. We celebrated every little commission-based check he brought home. Some nights he would do well. Some nights he would come home dejected after selling nothing. I remember sitting at home alone at 10 p.m. at night, wondering if how he was doing. We were thankful he had something. It was hard being in that situation as newlyweds. But it was a huge blessing going through it together.

Then, one day, Derrick got turned around trying to find a wrong address I had given him. When he went to turn around, in a parking lot behind Ruby Tuesday, he saw a sign for Amazing Videos. On a whim, he looked them up - and figured that it wouldn't hurt...he emailed the owner - and a few weeks later, he started working there, soon moving up to Media Director. His time there has been a huge blessing - as he's gotten to know some pretty cool people and work on amazing projects. 

Last October, he stumbled across a job at a pretty well-known video studio in Raleigh. He applied and, out of the other hundred or so applications, he got the job. It was awesome. I was so proud of him. But neither of us felt right about it. We didn't feel at peace. So - out of complete faith - he turned it down. 

Today, Derrick starts a new job in video ministry
 (that we didn't even know we should be dreaming about). 
And I'm just as proud of him as I was the day he started working at HHGregg. 
But - wow - I am so happy for him, and I love marveling in God's amazing plan. Because he's worked so hard for it. We've been praying for it. He's been preparing for it, learning for it, ready for it. 

Derrick Green is the coolest person I know. And I'm so proud of him. I love being his partner.  
No matter what the future holds, it's my hand in his on the path God's paving. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hijacked Miracles: Part 2

Now it was a waiting game for Derrick and me. Lots of prayer, excitement, and anticipation. Having to keep it between the two of us until we heard something. While we waited, I was reminded of God-things leading up to this point. 

In January of last year, we moved from Hilltop to Relationship and, before we knew it, we were plugged in, serving, and surrounded by a new church family. I was baptized at Relationship. Friends and family began coming with us. And Derrick was soon involved with the video ministry, while I was leading our First Impressions team. 

In the fall of last year, Derrick had been offered a job at a large video studio in Raleigh. The job would have been a step above where he was, but we felt like he needed to stay in his current job. That God had other plans for us. We didn't feel at peace about Centerline, though we couldn't quite put our finger on why. And Derrick enjoyed and was blessed in his current job. So we waited.  

For the past few months, Derrick has been exploring long-term dreams of getting into video ministry, although we didn't exactly know what that would look like for us. Did that mean he should start his own business? Focus more on video at RC? We talked through all the options, did research, explored the possibilities, but weren't quite ready to take any next steps. 

So that's where we were when we got Allen's text message that morning.
 God has been preparing us. God has been working - but He had been keeping the end of the path dark. He had shown us one step at a time, preparing us in little ways...but still wanting to surprise us with the big-ness of His plan. 

So,at this point, it was obvious that this was a miracle. A story brimming with God-things. But the question was: Is this only Allen and Sara's God-thing or is it ours too? We certainly didn't want to hijack their miracle. 

We waited two weeks. We visited Hope with Allen and Sara. We prayed. I was excited, but skeptical. And also very aware that this new job would mean leaving our church family - which was definitely the hardest part of trying to wrap my mind around things. It's still the hardest part of trying to wrap my mind around things.

For two weeks, I had been praying "for us to hear something soon", "for God to guide and bless the decision-makers", "for them to let us know something soon". 
But on Monday, April 1, I wrote and prayed for "Hope to get in touch with Derrick tomorrow!" And that's what God did. Derrick got the email about an interview the very next day. (He, of course, said that I should have written tomorrow two weeks earlier). 

So Friday a week ago Derrick interviewed with Hope and loved his time there. And last Thursday he got the official job offer in the mail. We'll be starting this new adventure one week from tomorrow!

We're ready. Ready for a new journey. Ready to be used in new ways in a new place. Ready to celebrate the awesomeness of God. Ready to see what God has in store. 

I ask that you'll pray for Derrick in his new job and pray for both of us as we begin this new chapter in our lives. Our God is greater! His timing is perfect. 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us!
Ephesians 3:20

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hijacked Miracles: Part 1

It was a Thursday morning, and I was in the kitchen getting our lunches ready when I heard Derrick's voice from the bedroom...

"Allen just texted to see what'd I'd think about working at Hope Community."

"It'd be fun to work with Allen!" I quickly said. Allen is one of our best friends. He and his wonderful wife Sara live half a mile from us, and we get together with them almost weekly. Allen's been working for the past six months or so in Hope Community Church's video ministry. 

We soon found out that the possibility wouldn't be for Derrick to work with Allen, it would be Derrick taking Allen's place. 

Last fall, around the same time that Derrick turned down a job at Centerline Media because we felt God had other plans for us, Allen had been applying to church video jobs. He applied to one at Newspring in South Carolina and one at Hope Community. The Newspring job didn't work out at that time, and Allen happily took his position at Hope. 

Time passed and a few weeks ago, Allen randomly felt led to email his contact at Newspring - "...keep me in mind if you ever have a job opening...". He was happy at Hope, but still had dreams of working in ministry at an even bigger church. Quickly, he heard back. They were hiring, and they had a position they felt Allen would be perfect for. 

That same week Allen and Sara made the trip down to Spartanburg, SC to visit the church. Allen interviewed, got the position, and they were pumped. By the end of the week - without even putting their home on the market yet - their house sold. Everything was falling into place perfectly and God's hand was more than obvious in the whole thing. Allen and Sara are seeing God's plan unfold. A plan they never expected. And, when he went to let his boss at Hope know about this new opportunity, Allen handed in a single resume as his recommendation for someone to take his position...