Intersecting Life and Faith

Tag: family (Page 3 of 6)

I Confess

I confess…

I sinned this week.

I confess the past six months have not always been the easiest. Why am I always looking for easy anyway? Yep, this post may ramble, but you will keep reading, right?!!

It was September 2014 when Justin and Melissa decided to make good on their threat  dream to leave New York and move far west to Wyoming. Not two weeks later, I drove with Hannah cross country to move her to Arizona where she is happily living and working.  In January, Kelsey left dreary, snowy, cold NY for St. John Virgin Islands. She too, is having a blast. Who wouldn’t where it’s hot and humid in the winter? Lauren still lives at home, but is busy with school, youth group and friends, and I know she too is dreaming and planning of what her future might hold. None of this is new ‘news’, I’ve written about family here before. So, what’s this about confessing sin?

If you  know me well, I have a few mantras, one being, family is huge. Extended family, siblings, my own dear family, church family and life long friends. I love BIG. Is it possible to love too much? Is it possible to sin when I put people whether friends or family in the place that only God should be? Is Jesus, who loves me more than I could ever imagine at the center of my heart, mind and soul, or is it my loved ones?

Enter sin. I won’t go into the gory details. If you want details, ask the guy who has loved me no matter what when I put my kids where the Lord should be. I confess they have been my joy for a long time. And now that they are adults and we are beyond the terrible twos and the challenges of raising teenagers, I love them and my heart is full of joy over the beautiful people they have become, which I credit the Lord for.

Earlier this week I found myself focusing on what I no longer have and not what I do have. I confess I was sad for me, I was focusing on me, that day was a day filled with self and self-pity. I will spare you the rest, but will tell you what God did for me that evening. I was reading in the Psalms, Psalm 87 and the last verse declared me guilty of finding joy somewhere else.

Singers and dancers alike will say, ‘My whole source of joy is in you’.

Owww!! I was guilty of trying to find joy solely in my circumstances, my family, my surroundings, when all along my WHOLE source of joy should be found in God. Yes, our families, homes, jobs, friends, hobbies and pastimes can bring us joy, but if any of those things are my whole source of joy, well…I have sinned. I am the first one to say God gives everything to enjoy( 1 Timothy 6:17), but our focus should be on God who richly provides all things to enjoy.

We find ourselves with adjustments, seasons of life and transitions. Babies grow up and live their own lives, jobs come and go and we find retirement brings a whole new way of life. Sickness and death interrupt our tranquil lives, and the snow never stops in the Northeast.

Despite circumstances and the weather, the goal is to find our whole source of joy in God bringing true contentment. (Philippians 4:11)


Why Do They Do That?

I have been asked on several occasions where my kids get their

wanderlust=a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about

I stutter and stammer, trying to explain why Kelsey went to Italy as a nanny several years ago and is presently in St. John living and working.  Why Hannah has travelled throughout Europe and Southeast Asia and moved to Arizona to live and work, and why Justin ventured to North Dakota a couple of years ago to work in oil fields and now lives with his wife in Wyoming. My guess is Lauren will do the same, not work in oil fields….wander!!!

While reading a book on third culture kids I came across why I think these children of mine do what they do.

Rob and I gave them wings.

Literally, *“they all flew in airplanes before they could walk.”

With the exception of Lauren who took a 21 hour car ride before she could walk. Our kids have spent their lives flying or taking very long car rides to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  The roads we have travelled have been many. They have lived in Kansas, Indiana and Kingston, and Lafayette, NY. They will tell you our move from downstate to upstate was one of the hardest things they’ve done. That move shaped who they are today, which is a subject for another post.

We started them on the road and airplane when they were very young which, I believe, *“taught them to look beyond the obstacles of their dreams and look at the benefits.”We gave them the desire to rove or travel about because that is how we have lived. We have followed our Friend Who sticks closer than a brother, looking beyond what we would be leaving behind, which in most cases was dear, dear friends and church family and our extended family and friends. We looked ahead to what God was calling us to do, confident He would give us everything we needed as we packed up. We want to “see the world through the lens of hope and opportunity”*, which I’m guessing we have also passed onto our kids.

So now I have my answer the next time you ask me why my kids live where they do…blame it on the parents.

*Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging

Christmas ’14

I am truly astonished that I can call these kids mine. They have grown up to be great people if I do say so myself. Something I wasn’t sure I would say twelve years ago when we moved them away from everything they knew and loved. Justin would begin his junior year in high school, Hannah began high school and Kelsey began junior high. Lauren wasn’t in school yet. It’s safe to say they didn’t like us very much for a very long time.

This picture was taken on Thanksgiving Day, two years ago.(2012) The next day Justin pulled out of the drive way headed to North Dakota to work. He was back by March after working in the bitter cold of the windblown north.  As our turkey feast is over for 2014 and our Christmas celebrations begin I am wondering what our holidays will look like. At the Gates house we always do Christmas big,

Because we love Jesus big!!

We love to celebrate as a family.

This year is going to be different and I’m trying to adjust. But how can I be sad?

The greatest birthday party is upon us and I will not let a different Christmas Eve ruin that party.

Justin moved to Wyoming with his wife Melissa, where they are living and working. They love living at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains and Yellowstone National Park.  This is their wedding day, the day I became a mother to another daughter!!Justin has become a great man, I no longer call him a boy!! He is in his element here.  I am thrilled they have found a great church where Justin says the pastor is very passionate when he preaches!!! I wonder who trained his ears and heart? 🙂unnamed (15)

Hannah now lives in Phoenix, AZ where she works as an Enrollment Counselor for Grand Canyon University. We are thrilled Hannah is working for a Christian university which encourages students to find their purpose in Christ. Her latest blog post tells you where she has been and where she is going.

unnamed (32)Kelsey is living and working in Albany. She is on her way out of the country too, somewhere hot and exotic for the winter. What’s up with these kids you say? All but one is still in New York. If you know anything about Rob and I, you know we have pastored four churches and lived in three states. We taught our children to reach for the stars in their dreams of what God has for them…and that has taken them away from the nest. While I love them with a heart that is bursting at the seams, I also hold lightly to them as they seek to follow God with all their heart, soul and mind.

unnamed (22)Kelsey and Lauren apple picking this fall.

Lauren, well, she still lives at home because she is only 15. But I have a hunch she will be following in her siblings footsteps. Her first experience out away from the nest will take place next summer when she goes with our church mission’s trip to Ecuador.

Rob and I remain the same and yet different. How can a day in and day out relationship with the Creator of the Universe leave you the same? Rob loves to preach and teach and encourage his beloved flock to love God. He recently said how much he loves what he is doing and the people he is privileged to work with and serve.

I am thrilled to have finally finished a six-year project. My first book, Confessions of a Farmer’s Daughter, has been published. You can click on the book on the side bar and it will take you to Amazon where it is for sale.  I diligently continue to pursue my loves of family, writing, baking and coffee drinking with friends and family. If you are ever our neck of the woods we would love to see you..and those of you who live here..stop by anytime..the coffee or tea  is always waiting!!! A recent favorite is Chai tea!

Merry Christmas and may 2015 bring you joy and peace in our Savior.

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