Our family

Our family

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Progress and Brokenness

I know, I know, it's been six months since we last blogged. Ok, guilty as charged! Since June a lot has gone on, so I will try to hit on that briefly, but I mainly wanted to talk about what God has been doing in me personally.

It's hard to believe that it has been almost 18 months since I quit my job at Pinnacle Airlines to pursue missionary aviation with Jennifer and our kids. God has been extremely faithful throughout this whole process, though it has been pretty tough for most of it. When we started out, I had 18 months of mechanic school and Jenn had two Bible classes she had to take. Well, now I am down to my last 2 months of school and Jenn has one more class to finish, as she just finished her first class where she studies Ephesians and Colossians. Which, of course, she made all A's! My last day of class is March 26th, which at that time I will be a fully certified A&P aircraft mechanic.

THe kids continue to bring us more joy (and sometimes headaches) than ever. Hannah will turn 5 on February 10, Cate turned 3 back in November, and can you believe that our son Caleb is already almost 8 months!? It really is amazing how time flies. Hannah played her first soccer season in the fall and played great! Cate has also just begun her first dance lessons and is absolutely loving it. Meanwhile, we can't keep enough food in Caleb's belly! That boy could eat all day.

Jenn and I are excited about the next phase in our journey to overseas missions. Our timetable has changed slightly, however. We have to go through a Technical Evaluation with MAF, which is a two week event where they evaluate my flight and maintenance skills, and have extensive interviews. We were hoping to accomplish this in late spring or early summer, but MAF's schedule was not matching ours. So, we have elected to do the evaluation in October. Looking forward this may be a blessing because this will give me an opportunity to hone my maintenance skills, since I have no experience fixing airplanes. We know that God is sovereign through all of this, so we are confident that what we at first saw as a scheduling conflict will turn out to be the way God wanted it to be.

Now you might be curious as to why I included brokenness in this blog title. What follows is nothing more than a conglomeration of my thoughts and feelings on what the last 16 months has been like. Just wanted to give a disclaimer!

One thing I never imagined was how hard the process and journey would be. I had heard from other missionaries from MAF that the prep and training before leaving home was the hardest time for them. I'm not sure what the future holds for us, but I can definitely agree that this has been the toughest season of life for Jenn and I. Even tonight, as I was driving home God broke me in a way I haven't been broken for a long time. Lately I have really been feeling inadequate and useless when it comes to God's plan for my life. These feelings have stunted my growth spiritually at times and affected me in many other ways. With trying to balance school, work, a wife, kids, family, church, small group community, and my walk with the Lord I have had to tell myself to just suck it up and push on. Well, after months of pushing myself to the brink and trying to do it myself, I broke. I told God that I couldn't do this anymore. I told Him that I wanted things to be the way they used to be. I missed my old job. I missed the comfort of knowing I was doing something I was good at. The challenge I have been faced with since I began school is learning a trade, aircraft maintenance, that I'm not passionate about not do I feel that I am any good at it. I am not mechanically inclined, so it's hard to force myself to think in ways that don't come naturally. I have had to face the fact that I'm not good at everything! God has used this to show me how prideful I am. I like to be able to do something right the first time, and if it doesn't work out that way, I get really frustrated. Right or wrong, that's just me. I'm learning to become more patient, albeit very slowly! (Slow according to me, who wants patience now!) So, being surrounded my a bunch of guys in class that think, work, and operated very well mechanically is very hard for me because I'm just not like that. Of course I've learned a lot and hopefully will continue to, but every time I'm working on a project in class, all I can think about is how I'd much rather be flying! Again, just being honest here. However, I've learned that God is much less concerned about my personal comfort level than He is about molding me and shaping me according to His will that will ultimately bring Him glory, not me! Because let's be honest, we all want to be worshiped. I want everyone to see how good I am and compliment me on what a good pilot I am. This attitude reeks like a cesspool!! I hate it, I hate it, I hate it! But, my flesh is constantly rearing its ugly head. Tonight, God really showed me how prideful and self centered I am. There are tons of guys in my class who do not know the Lord, and here I am thinking about all the things I can do to help people notice me so I can feel good about myself. God allowed me to see myself for who i really am. A broken, selfish, prideful, and ruined sinner. It was hard to look at myself honestly because I knew I wouldn't like what I saw. After God showed me what my sin looked like and how much He hated it, He allowed me to reflect on Jesus. I could barely speak as I thought about how God allowed His son to take my sin, filth, and crap (for lack of a better word) on himself so I could be clean. The gospel never gets old! I need a daily reminder of the sacrifice that was paid for my sin. As painful as it was to have God reveal my sin to my face. But, for someone who has tried to hold it all together by himself for months, i could not have been more grateful! I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted. I know the future holds more challenges and trials, but I pray that God will give me the grace to face these trials with joy.

I hope that the Lord can use what i've said in this post to encourage you. Let there be no misunderstanding that I've got it together or have things figured out. Quite the opposite actually. But, I have the confidence that God will use my weaknesses and my depravity for His glory to the ends of the earth. Be encouraged that no matter what baggage you may carry, Jesus is standing there ready to ease your burden.

Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30