Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Healing & Wholeness

I keep writing posts and never publishing them. Life has moved so quickly these past few months leaving behind a trail of joy and sadness.

I kept holding out waiting in hope that my post would be a story about our new beautiful home, and we were as close as having a contract on a dream house when the bank called at the last hour changing a few requirements crushing any possiblitity. Its been a whirlwind of emotions. One door closing after another. Days after our loan fell through we sat in the kitchen with the couple who've so graciously hosted us for 5 months now (5 months!) and who have prayed along side us and we discussed the future. I asked with a weary heart and defeated hope "what would you tell me to do if I was your daughter." And the answer from them both was the same. "stay." "If you were my daughter id say stay. Be patient and don't rush. See the opportunity that you have in this situation and prepare your heart for the stretch." We could hardly believe that this couple could geniounly want us to share this season of life with them. But they pursued us for days that they truly did, and so I  permitted the Lord to move both my mind and my emotions for this unexpected twist.

Were staying here through the end of this year and I am embracing a simplistic and minimalist life style. It did make my heart sad to know all my lovely things would be in storage for another 5 months, My worn leather sofa, frosted antique mirror, my awesome matress and bedding, and my pottery barn dished for entertaining. You see I am a homemaker. Im not great at a lot of things, but loving people through food,fellowship and seasonal decor is my language of love. I didn't realize how much comfort and identity I found in that until I wasn't doing it any more.

These past few months have had many ups and downs. Joy as my daughter turned 1 August 11th, incredible relief and then loss as we didn't get the house. Lots of celebrations as friends have gotten engaged and others who are expecting. Grief for dear friends who have said goodbye to there parents and at times pity for myself, and how yet another precious season of my life doesn't look at all how I thought it would. I had strep throat for 10 days, not allowing me to see finley since I had hallucinations with my 103' temp. Our pace of life has been too much too often and my faith and hope have taken a few hard punches. If I may just be totally honest and vulnerable with you for a minute(free of you mumbling "but shes a pastors wife" )  I wouldn't mind sharing a revelation the Lord gave me a few days ago.

You see I find myself stuffing my life. I noticed I started getting fixated on things that I just "needed" to make me feel better. One time it was nice makeup, a pair of shoes, cleaning the bathroom in this obsessive way, pressure to attend things I typically wouldn't. As if life wasn't busy enough in my free time I tried to stuff. Then one time I was climbing the stairs and The Lord said to me " How long are you going to try and ignore me?"  "ignore you? im just busy.. I just..." I stopped in the hallway and thought of my reply "I just... "

  Now if you know me then you know I have no problem just calling something what it is. I like to think the Lord loves this about our relationship because he is free to do the same without the work and complication of something hurting my feelings or needing much explanation. I love truth. and the trust was "I just... I just don't want to talk to you right now. Lord, you could have done something incredible for us and you chose not too and that's just hard for me right now without being able to understand the full picture."   There I said it. I was angry, I was hurt, I was tired and I was still confused. So many questions. Why didn't you heal our friends father when you could have? Why couldn't we have that house? Why did you do that for that particular person and not for me? Now this doesn't change my love for him, nor my commitment, nor does it mean that I don't trust in the decision that he made. It means I didn't like it, and my flesh has got to go through the motions of being weak. I felt him walk away and give me the space requested. I continued my busyness for a few more days while he patiently permitted me to behave like the child that I am.

A few days had passed when unexpectedly the Lord whispers this to me "My love-don't be deceived. You think all these things will lead to wholeness, but I say, wholeness leads to healing."

 I didn't really understand it when he said it,but even then its gentleness disarmed my heart immediately. I started to cry the kind of cry that feels good and makes you feel like your emotions are waking up again. You see I did have small wounds that needed to be mended, but I also still have big  things in my life that I desperately want to Lord to "fix" for me, because if he would I believed that would make me feel whole and satisfied. But you see, that just simply isn't true. And I find that disappointing and incredible all at the same time.

We were created with a void inside us. A hole never intended to be filled except for by friendship with God.And you can stuff and stuff but nothing but that friendship will ever satisfy. It would be easier to just be able to fill that void with things.A career, money, the latest trends,a new relationship,marriage, a baby,a second baby, a house, recognition or sometimes just the business that comes with life. But it will always be a short lived moment of satisfaction and our hearts are quick to move on and be on the hunt for whats next. You know this is true. We all do it.

So instead of focusing on the healing or the "fixes" I so desperately want ive chosen to pursue the wholeness that can only be found in him. I repent and recarve out the time in my day to say "my satisfaction can only be found in you Jesus. And I am sick,broken and in need of your friendship in this world." And he talks to me, he realigns all that is misplaced and he mends me with his love and wisdom. I always feel the need to express to people how very normal I am. That just because im married to such an incredible leader and we are saturated in ministry doesn't mean that we don't feel the same things. Life is really hard at times, and we all have to be honest and fight to keep him our first love.

So that's whats new with us. I have a lot on my heart to share and like i said ive written a lot I just haven't shared. Im not sure why. I want to share the incredible beauty of having a daughter. Or that God is truelly God of fun and freedom. About him talking to me about seeing slaves everywhere he looks or perhaps the wildfires hes told me to keep an eye on so that I am not consumed as well. God wants to talk to us.He wants to talk to you.... you just need to stop fighting and rushing and listen. Let him move on you in a way that wakes up your soul and gives you life again. He says hes more than enough.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

One Day...

Something wonderful happened the other day. The college group had just found their places on the couch Wednesday night and Ferrill began to speak and share a few announcements and out of no where, without any introduction or small talk at all I hear the Lord say this beautiful thing to me. "Sharon, one day you're going to lay your head on my chest." ......

These words shattered my heart like a brick going through a window. I sat their amongst them all trying to blend in while tears streamed down my face. How wonderfully unexpected these words were to my heart. I let them roll around inside my mouth before I muttered them to myself "One day you get to lay your head on my chest."    no no my spirit said, that isn't what he said. You're right, "one day ill let you lay your head on my chest." No, you're saying it wrong. I thought about this for a while. what was I getting wrong? The statement was simple "im going too" not, I GET TOO,or ILL LET you. To say either of these would imply that the pleasure would be all mine. But he didn't say that. He'd said "one day you're going too." The pleasure would be his as well as mine.

Its been weeks since he said that and my heart is still tender to this truth. A promise of one day and a glimpse into the future that is to come. But for some reason this statement goes beyond its obvious beauty. It makes my heart flutter in a way that I've been trying to understand, when today I think I was able to tie a string to perhaps why this is so profound to me. This idea of laying my head on his chest, looks like the picture of a father daughter relationship to me. I've been blessed to have parents still married and who love me, but my dad is not an affectionate father (I don't say any of this for even a shred of sympathy. I have a wonderful relationship with my dad, but this is how I saw it) you see my dad never hugged, or kissed or said I love you. My family is as unaffectionate as they come and yet I married into a VERY affectionate and close nit family. Affection has been something so uncomfortable to me that while dating Ferrill, one time he hugged me for what felt like forever,and when he drove away I cried because it felt so foreign to me, and I cried because I knew it shouldn't. The first several years of our marriage felt like a different world, full of cards, and meaningful texts and holidays full of sweet traditions. If I am ever warm to you in any way it is because Jesus has been warm to me and so has my husband and his beautiful family. I like the person their hugs have made me into.

I cant imagine what it would be like to rest my head on my heavenly father. I found myself dreaming today of what that might be like. I have found in his so much freedom. Freedom to rest, freedom to hope and dream, freedom to love and perhaps most importantly (to me personally) freedom to fail. Love,rest,hope.... these things all come freely but not necessarily easy for me to operate in, but failure, failure is easy to do. I think of all the times and areas I have failed in. Some personal and some public. I think of times and moments I failed in purity, in both the heart and in the flesh. I think of tasks never completed, promises never kept, and beautiful testimonies never shared. I think of my sins and how I will always be a sinner. But in his embrace their is freedom to fail. It was expected and accepted. He throws his blanket of mercy over us as we cozy up and I learn to become comfortable knowing that I will fail a lot in this life. He is truly the father of love. He is the father who responds appropriately in every situation, takes his time to teach what's needed to mature, and he is a father who gives the best gifts to his children.  He is a father who sacrificed greatly out of love and kindness while I was behaving like a pig rolling around in mud. He calls his children to himself and his voice is full of peace and safety. One day, I will see him. My goal in this life is to make the transition from here to heaven as smooth as possible. What I mean by this is, sometimes i'll drive a long ways to get to my friends house and sometimes we talk on the phone the whole way until I get there and I hang up only when I get to the front step because we can actually talk in person now. I plan to make it like that. I believe that closeness is possible.

As this day comes to an end I feel... secure. As my body rests after another day of living in a world that tries to seduce me, I can lay my head down on my pillow and dream that its him, and how wonderful that day will be.

So where are we on the house thing you asked? well,a wild thing has happened only as of a few days ago. Our living arrangement now (here in our friends home) is full of ease and grace and fun if I dare say so. But the Lord is up to something that im not quit ready to share yet. But he is good, always faithful, and very impressive. Goodnight to you all dear friends. I hope to have a wonderful house story coming soon. xoxo

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Away We Go

So I have retyped this post now at least 3 times. How is it possible I have so much to share since its only been a month since my last emotional outburst. Ooooops... I mean blog. well I do have crazy stuff to tell those of you who are curious.  By the way I do appreciate that you take the time to read these things. I enjoy writing but I really enjoy documenting things. I cant tell you how many times I've gone back to re-read old journals or old posts and find it so encouraging to see where we were and where we are now and all that the Lord has been so faithful to do. 

okay here we go. So we started looking at rentals right away. The first 2 we pursued were total scams! They wanted us to transfer funds to their bank and THEN they'd mail us a key to view the property blah blah blah. And then we found this great house. When I say great I mean it was in our budget with the space we needed and in a decent neighborhood. It didn't move my heart but I suppose not everything in life has too. So we contacted that management company filled out our application and waited, and waited ,and waited and nothing. We never got a call back from the owner, he never returned my emails etc. So strange right! And it hadn't rented out to anyone, its just sitting empty. I didn't know if this house was "the " house for us so I just always said "Lord your will be done" because I'm not sure if this is resistance or you not wanting us to be there. At this point I'm feeling pretty discouraged and frustrated. So lets fast forward to Sunday a week ago.

 Ferrill wakes me up at 4am to tell me this dream he'd just had. Ferrill doesn't have dreams often but when he does weird things start happening. ( some of you may understand what I mean by this and some of you may not) he goes on to tell me in this dream a woman from church comes to him and says "I'm worried about you and Sharon taking on more than you can handle by renting a house." right after that another woman from church comes up to him and says " The Lord wants me to paint a landscape of your life and He says its the verse I used to pray over my oldest son when he was a baby." Ferrill then wakes up and is overwhelmed by the presence of the Lord in our room. Well the next day he calls this second woman from our church that was in the dream and tells it to her. She said "My son is 35, how would I ever remember 1 verse I prayed over him?!" She says she had a journal at home somewhere that she would write in while she was pregnant with him and she would see if there were any verses in it that could help. 3 hours later she calls and says "you're never going to believe this but their is one verse in that whole journal and its Isaiah 52:13." That verse says See, my servant shall act wisely. He will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted!

Whoa crazy right. So the next 3 days I would hear Ferrill all day long praying "Lord give me your servant wisdom. Be exalted in our lives and in this situation were in." On Wednesday he calls me and says, as he's been praying he feels like the Lord is showing him that he wants us to buy a house and not rent! oh geeez I thought. It had been only about a year since we sold our home in Kansas city and I couldn't believe he was even open to the idea. We had to do a short sale and it wasn't an easy process by any means. We both continued praying and once again id just say to the Lord "your will be done" I hadn't even thought of buying a house!  That same day he contacts a realtor to see if it would even be possible. She tells us their is a slim chance, but would love to help us. You could literally feel her cringe when we told her we needed to be out of our place by April 1st." I Mean, it could happen but the chances are so slim." So ferrill prayed some more. Then he called me again. "I feel like the Lord has shown me a family in our church that we should ask to stay with while were waiting out the process of buying. I'm going to call them to see if they can meet today and discuss it." I was thinking this was all pretty crazy at this point.  Within hours we had gone from looking at rentals to hoping to buy and move in with someone! And it was all coming from what the Lord was sharing with my husband (which I will say was quite sexy, but also slightly stressful) I was really going to have to believe and trust in both my husband and God if this was really going to happen.

So The wife of the couple comes to church before service Wednesday to talk with Ferrill in his office. He goes on to tell her about the dream and that he feels like the Lord had a home for us to own and not rent. She quickly asks Ferrill "Are you about to ask if you and Sharon can move into our house?"  He smiles and says "why yes... yes I was." And she starts laughing. Apparently that morning during prayer the Lord had already spoken to her and said "The Gallaways are going to be staying with you for a while." And although she hadn't expected the conversation to come up so quickly, nor why we would be needing to stay she was prepared with her reply, which was yes. Ferrill called me back and just like that a plan was in place. Of course we met over lunch with the couple to discuss details but clearly the Lord was up to something. My husband is practically radiating faith for us right now and our household has been consumed with peace ever since. So... we are moving in with them in about 2 weeks, by then we will hopefully know what loan we can get and will pursue looking for a place. I will say even the idea of owning a home again goes beyond what I could have hoped the Lord to do for us. whether its a fast transition or one that takes the next year or so I'm always amazed at the Lords desire to bless us.

How do I feel about all this? Well, The Lords been speaking to me about being a whole hearted servant. When he asked me the other day if I thought I was one, I easily said yes, duh. Then when I studied what it really meant (which is to without any reservation or delay, attend to the Lord) I remembered back on all the times the Lord had spoke to me to do what he desired. To marry...to move many times... to become pastors...to adopt a baby, and I couldn't think of a single time I did any of these things without reservation or delaying. Every stinking time my heart was reluctant to do what I knew he was asking me to do, but the results were always the same. He always made a way, he always provided, he always blessed us. So now having been made aware of this about myself I don't want to just be obedient to him, but I want to participate without any reservations! To simply obey is good, but their is an even better way, one that requires the heart to invest fully. And if that's buying a home or adopting another baby or moving overseas I want to be excited about his plan because it is so perfect and so good. That's how I feel.

I was at a friends house for dinner last night and I was tossing sweet Finley up in the air and it was so sweet how shed just relax and giggle as I caught her every time. We both thought isn't it so wild and beautiful how trusting babies are. If Jesus himself were tossing me up in the air id be saying, "don't drop me don't drop me!" but I'm sure all Finley felt was "I trust you I trust you I trust you!" and I want to be more like that. I can trust God, and I will trust Him. Id be a fool not too. So that's the scoop . Be praying for us as we transition into the great unknown. Pray for a supernatural loan and a home that radiates another testimony of his greatness. Your will be done Lord.

 Until next time. xoxo -Sharon

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Moving On

About a week ago Ferrill calls me from the office "I don't really know how to put this so im just gonna come out and say it. Our landlord would like us to move out by April 1st."

Now for most of you that don't know ferrill and I have been blessed to rent a very modest 950 square foot home since moving to Florida. Its inexpensive rent has been the thing that has allowed us to save for our adoption, to pay off any small miscellaneous debts we've had and allowed me the joy of staying home with Finley worry free. It was a surprise that took a day or 2 to process. The situation is 100% understandable and right. The landlord would have the great privilege of blessing his daughter and soon to be son in-law with the home that was his mothers. It will be the same blessing for them as it has been for us. No anger or hurt feelings have been felt.

A lot is changing around here. Its a new year that's already come with new roles and responsibilities at church. Weve been doing college ministry in our home every week and its growing requiring more space than we have. Things in court finalized in December and a stable address matching all the paperwork is no longer needed. It is the ideal time for change I suppose.

This is the part that surprises me though. I have very little faith in this situation. (I don't know why im even telling you this. Its embarrassing and not something im proud of) But true. My heart is a tug of war between having hope and desires for our next place and being very realistic about our situation. The feelings I keep choking down are that well have to pay hundreds more a month than we do now for half the space. The next place wont allow me to paint or do yard work that is to me what makes a place feel like a home.(because im a country girl and their are no condos in the country) That I will need to find consistent part time work. That to accommodate what we need and what we can afford will mean living even further away from the church than we do. I say all this realizing we all go through things like this, as we move, have more children, change jobs or lose jobs. This is life. Im disappointed in myself that after everything we've gone through... I still don't fully put every ounce of trust I have in the Lord. This is the real problem. Not the living situation but the condition of my heart. This about myself is what worries me most.

This is still something im processing and looking into. What happened? Im that girl that believes God cares about the little things and does them just for a good laugh. I know things that in life really don't matter, matter to him and he ravishes his love on us. So why would my God care about those things and not the bigger like finding a home? Did I not wake up to a healthy daughter this morning that was a total miracle from him? Did he not always have every situation covered before it occurred? Why is God so relentless with this faith stuff and learning to trust in him. (deeeeeeeep sigh) Im such a brat.

So last night I walked into Finley's room which is one area of our house that is just totally saturated with the presence of God. (makes since with all the prayer and tears spent in there these past few years) and immediately I sit in front of her bed and start crying. As woman we often just need to let those emotions flow before we can really see what's going on. I was happy it was here and not in target which is another place the presence of God is. Its always pure bliss to finally be that mom wearing workout cloths (although I didn't work out and im sure 99% of those other chicks didn't either) and order my latte while shopping for shoes or baby stuff. Anyway back to what I was saying... I cried in her room and just emptied myself. Perhaps being asked to leave did hurt a little, perhaps it made me sad to hear God saying it was time to move on. Time for a new undiscovered season. Time to dig another well in my heart and let him teach me something new and beautiful.

The response I got from him was this.

" It is you that makes what I wanted to be an advantage, something complicated. I tell you not to worry and instead of you being thankful for that portion as my child you call it foolish and unwise. You say you are upset that you "didn't save more while you had the chance" when what you really mean is im uncomfortable relying on you once again as my sole provider. But even now my grace is with you. I take no offense to your nonsense and am always amazed at how even though you have yet to see me face to face-you believe that I am God"

 At this point I lift my head to see if ive wakened Finley with all this crying. She sleeps peacefully. I look at her flawless face and adore everything about her. The Lord says

"Your daughter does not worry about where she will live or what she will eat, did I not tell you to do the same? And to be like them? She fully trusts in you without fear or concern and as much as your heart feels heavy to care for her, my heart feels that so much more. I had many things going on behind the scenes with her that you were totally and blissfully unaware of until one perfect day when my plan was made known to you. And so it will be with this. "

 I layed there and accepted this truth (that's not true.. I wallered in it like a filthy pig wanting every inch of me to be covered in its goodness)

I don't know why im saying all of this, although writing is a personal self help for me. Perhap I don't mind people seeing my low points because many people have this idea of what it must be like being a pastor. We "have it so good" and I know many of you think this because you've sent me house listings where the rent is $1200-$1500+ which is almost twice our budget,and its true we love what we do, but im no more saved than you are, and very few people get to see behind the curtains of a pastors life. Where you work super hard and sacrifice a lot, cry more than most people, carry heavy burdens and where God is relentless on this thing called faith,because to be in the position youre in means its already been tested and found true. So this will be know different im sure. At least when he does it youll see just how undeserving I am. The girl that has faith for $30,000 and an overnight adoption but isn't sure about where to live. Its humbling.

Ill let you know where we end up since we have only a few shorts weeks before we know. Aren't you curious to see what happens now? yea,me too.