December 30, 2008 was approximately the day we moved from Berryville, AR to Bella Vista, AR! I was not happy, but I knew that it needed to happen. I loved my house in Berryville…my church…my friends…all of it! Of course, there were things in my world that I did not like: being pigeonholed in a small town, unable to break my mental chains and GROW UP, silly grievances that I allowed to shrink my world. I didn’t know that God was sending me into REAL brokenness so that He, and ONLY HE, could pour iron into my soul.
Now, ten years later, having had a stern conversation with the God of the Universe, I asked that He would not allow me to return to Berryville if I wasn’t strong enough. I did everything I could to provide Him a way to keep me in Benton County! I am SO incredibly thankful for all the people in NWA who have stood with me through what has been, frankly, hell. I give you full credit for putting up with me as I grew out of those spiritual “teenage” years! So much joy in spite of the barrage of circumstances…so much peace in the midst of war (I am not overstating here or tossing out religious cliches)…so much growth in the path of brokenness (my chest hurts even trying to describe the past ten years).
But GOD…He must think that I am strong enough because we are unapologetically HERE! If you are asking yourself “What did you learn?” or “How are you stronger?”, well here are just a few of the answers:
- I am who HE says I am! I will not back away from or apologize for ANY gift God chooses to plant in me. I will, instead and with great lovingkindness, stand on who GOD says I am and will do what HE says I can do.
- I am a GIRL!!! (Surprised, huh?) AND I am a pastor equal in value and giftedness to my husband who is SPECTACULAR!
- The two became one! Our marriage is truly a picture of two becoming one in the image of the original creation and, frankly, that freaks people out. 😉 We submit to each other and we act as one with no need to battle over authority or power. We live PAST the curse and I will not let any human every again limit or brand me as anything less than my husband’s ‘segulah’ or special treasure. You got “issues”? 🙂 (This is my loving, but get your junk straight voice) Learn Hebrew, study the original WEEERRDDD, or take the easy way out and talk to Ron about it. We need to get the thoughts of God on this, not the traditions and limitations of culture.
- Self-control!!! It is possible to CONTROL your pain, your reflexive responses to verbal carelessness or purposeful manipulation. Your mental state is as critical as your spiritual state! I have learned that the enemy will use terrible or torturous tools to kick me to the curb. I have also learned the most crushing weapons were and maybe still are capable of destroying me, BUT!!! Not matter how horrifying the fall, God is the strength of my life and my salvation! Of whom shall I fear?
- Kill fear!!! My current goal is to make a t-shirt with this phrase on the back. DON’T FEED ME FEAR! I want it on the back because that is the only side you will see of me if you mistakenly or purposefully try to poison my courage with your fear. Not in rejection or unkindness, but I will keep forging ahead no matter how dangerous you perceive it to be. I will go where the snakes can’t breath! (Shameless plug for a Colorado trip and 12,000+ feet above sea level fear-killing, snakes-can’t-breath-there ride in the 4Runner) If God sends me, I will go…and have gone…no matter what!
There are many more ounces of iron poured in my soul, but that’ll do for now.
For now, we are renovating Papa’s shop into a barndominium and will take all the help we can get. Our RV is parked in the hay barn alongside the shop, warm and comfy, protected from the elements while we build. I am getting ready to send off my might-as-well-be daughter, Emily the preacher (who just got engaged last night), to New Mexico…sniff, sniff…and I am SO looking forward to spending some quality time with my Berryville Buddies!
Scholar Ministries is still fully in Benton County because that’s where we are based, but something is getting ready to happen in Carroll County! We don’t know what it is, but those who know us best and believe in us sense it bubbling up! I know you can hear the ferocity in my writing so let’s finish by saying that Papa (George Pete Smith) prophesied over our ministry before we moved ten years ago. The God who cracks the sky, the Ancient of Days, the One Who Speaks Thunders…He will make it happen!