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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What if I had said "NO"?

In 16 days our family will be getting on a plane to Africa.  My head moves quickly from having no thoughts to write down to having too many thoughts to write down. Maybe that is an aging thing?  A woman thing?  A mama thing? Or maybe just the reality that we are moving to Africa in 16 days?

Five and a half years ago we moved to Alpharetta, Georgia.  To explain it in "Christian-ese"  I thought I had "given it all up for Him", but down deep I really did love my house, my yard, my neighborhood and my life in Canada.  If I was going to move ANYWHERE I thought it would be to Africa.  Didn't God know that I wanted to move to Africa?  Wasn't I really clear with Him on that in my prayers and daily conversations?  Had He forgotten the children living on the streets that HE introduced me to?  Had He forgotten those that I longed to care for, encourage and love?  Instead, He moved us to a wealthy, (largely white) suburb of Atlanta - this from Toronto, the largest multi-cultural city in the world.  I was not pleased.  We moved into a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood, and I was miserable.  I was angry.  Why America (no offense meant to all my American friends), but why not Africa? 

As I look back on the past  5-1/2 years I am in awe of the people whom we have met, the places we have gone and the miracles that we have seen.  If we hadn't moved here, and moved straight to Africa (my plan) we would have missed so much.  I am thankful for North Point Community Church and for Chloe's small group and small group leader (shout out to Alyse!) who have come alongside Chloe to encourage her to be the most amazing young woman she has become.  I am thankful for the theater department at Milton High School where Spencer has been able to thrive, grow, create and learn.  After watching the incredible Cirque Kuwa performance (over and over again) I thought to myself, "what if I had said NO to moving here - Spencer would have missed this opportunity."  You see, our plans, our desires and our obedience have direct implications for everyone around us - especially our immediate family.

If we had not moved I would never have met the amazing Birk family and seen God's glory pour through a family's worst nightmare.  And of course, without that nightmare, we would not have the El Roi Baby home today.  Without the loss of little Jared Birk, our five little babies (Joshua, Esther, Caleb, Levi and Anna) might not be alive today.  Oh, what I would have missed.

So I repent again and give thanks, again, for His plans are not our plans, but they are BETTER than our plans, every time.

I continue to find it interesting how others perceive our move to Swaziland.  We are not moving there to be missionaries just like we didn't move to Georgia to be missionaries.  We are just a family moving to serve in another country at this time.  But this time I feel like I won the lottery.  I get to go and spend time in a beautiful country, serve with people I love and respect and serve people who are in desperate need.  "Religion that God our Father considers pure and faultless is this; to look after the orphan and widow in distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  James 1:27

For the past 5-1/2 years I could look after orphans and widows from Georgia, but it was a daily struggle to keep myself from being polluted by the mall, Starbucks, Macy's one day sales and NCIS marathons on TV.  You know what I mean?

I look forward to long walks around the farm, driving Chloe to her really cool International school, sipping coffee with Ian looking out at our amazing view of the fields, Skyping with Spencer to hear about his life at FSU, having philosophical conversations with Kaleli, rocking babies to sleep with Helen and visiting orphans and widows in distress with Pastor Mike.  I have won the lottery, no doubt in my mind, and I am so VERY thankful that I didn't blow it by saying, "no, I don't want to move to Georgia." 

Is there something that you are doing because you want to, not because you believe God has asked you to?  Are you avoiding doing something that you know you are supposed to do?  A phone call perhaps?  A move?  A job change?  Don't put it aside for another day.  Don't blow it.  His plans are better than our plans, I promise.

Thankful in Georgia.



  1. Sounds Like another Great Move!!!!

  2. Blessings to you Janine - and your obedience to follow faithfully as God leads. I will be in prayer for you and your family as you transition to this new "assignment" from the King !

  3. I know that if you hadn't moved to Georgia, you wouldn't have come to visit Christ the King in Fallbrook, California, and I wouldn't have gone to Kenya with HfA. Thank you, Janine, for waiting, so that I could find my passion.


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