Stones. They are everywhere. Stumbling stones, stepping stones, stones for throwing, stones for piling. In the bible, stones are used for remembering. This is a place for me to pile my own rough stones of remembering along the road I am traveling, one post at a time. They are more than mere words thrown out into the wake of my path. They are a concrete testament of God's faithfulness, provision and goodness along the way.

Monday, July 17, 2017

In the Best of Hands

When we return to Italy in the fall, it will be with one new notch on our growth chart of surrender; our firstborn.

As Shailey began to talk out her interests and potentially map out her next year and her subsequent undergraduate studies it quickly became evident that a gap year in Italy was going to create some impracticalities. As a non resident of Canada she would be forced to apply as an international student which is substantially more expensive. Secondly, since she was homeschooled she is going to have to take entrance exams when she applies. Thirdly, she needs to get her driver’s license sooner than later. Being able to work part time as well as have independence and mobility (on foot or by bike) in our community to serve in ministry would be huge advantages as well.

So we started to realize that she has a lot to do this year to prepare for the next. It was a super emotional time for her, and for us by proxy when we started coming to this conclusion. It meant the year we were looking forward to spending with her had just been chopped off leaving us with 6 weeks. I now know what “heart wrenching” actually feels like.

As Shailey started to feel more determined about what she wanted to study, we started to pray for God to work out all practicalities. It was emotionally overwhelming for us to even imagine  how God could bring all of this together quickly enough that we would feel absolute peace and confidence about so quickly and suddenly settling our daughter and returning to Italy without her.

We prayed to the God of minute details. I asked Him to please make it all come together in ways that only He could so that our daughter would not just “accept” His will for her this year, but embrace it with joy and excitement. God did not disappoint. The past week or so has been one story of Divine Provision after another.. To see Him in all the details, bringing the perfect people into her life in all areas, home, work, ministry, etc, my heart is so full and thankful for her!

A few of God’s fingerprints:

When I prayed about Shailey’s living arrangements God brought a couple to my mind. When we approached them about the possibility of Shailey living with them as a homestay nanny in exchange for room and board they were excited how this was answering not only our prayers but prayers of their own as well. When we met to discuss expectations of both parties, we were on the same page in every way, and when I saw Shailey’s room I couldn’t hold back tears as it was painted and decorated in her favorite colors of robin’s egg blue and chocolate brown.

The little guy that Shailey is going to get to care for 2-3 days a week is going to be such a comfort and joy to her as she has always been such a nurturing and loving big sister, and I am so excited for her to get to live surrounded by other role models and team leaders as she steps out and spreads her wings. She is super excited to live out real life discipleship together with our youth pastor and ministry team, and to pour into younger girls in our community.

We have been praying for the people who can give us confidence in finalizing Shailey’s undergraduate career plans, as she has expressed the desire to pursue a bachelor of arts in Social Work, specializing in youth and family counselling. Wouldn’t you know that this week at family camp we are surrounded by some of the top christian people in Saskatoon with years of expertise in this field.

As Shailey came to terms with not returning to Italy she began a grieving process. This is healthy and good. I wanted her to have the tools to transition well. The other night I was lying in bed praying for her. God brought the Canadian MK (missionary kid) Network to my mind and I remembered that they have a reboot camp for kids transitioning off the field. I felt the urgency to actually get up and send an email to our missions agency explaining the situation and requesting information (even though it was close to 1 am). The next day I received a hasty reply that our agency was strongly encouraging us to send her, and would help sponsor the cost, and that the deadline for registration was that same day.

He’s a good, good Father. It’s who He is. Our girl is in the best of hands, being loved by Him.