Carpe diem, “seize the day” is a good reminder to take the opportunities that God has given us every day and use them to the fullest. On New Year’s Eve, I encourage you to Seize the Year! Open your eyes to what God is doing in your life and you will be amazed at what he will do.
For this family, 2013 will be one that we will remember as a pinnacle year. In January the four of us participated in leading a group to Israel. Forty-five people from our hometown of Fairhope, Alabama joined hundreds of others in a group visiting sites in the Sea of Galilee area and in and around Jerusalem.
In April we clearly heard God’s call to go to a new place he has for us for a time. For a few years, I looked for the right opportunity for theological doctoral work. He was now opening those doors for us at Durham University in Durham, England. Though it would be hard to leave family and friends, we knew that it was time to go to England.
When we, at a new level, said, “Yes” to God’s call to go wherever, whenever, however, a deep sense of peace came over us. Though there were questions still to be answered, we were confident (and still are) that the answers would come, and it will be wonderful. For example, just a few days after we told our Bishop and Church that we would not be returning to the appointment, our daughter had a routine exam with the paediatrician. The doctor found something that didn’t seem quite right. Within a few weeks, we found ourselves taking our little girl to MRI’s and appointments with top-level paediatric neurosurgeons for consultations about spinal surgery. We were just a few months away from a gap in insurance and moving to Europe. We had plenty of reasons to be concerned. However, a peace prevailed through it all. The neurosurgeon found no areas for concern and sent us away with confidence that we had a perfectly healthy little girl. He praised the paediatrician for her great work, but when he looked he found no areas of concern. God had removed any obstacle.
We did a myriad of things throughout the summer: enrol in university, find a place to live, rent our house out, pack our household goods in suitcases, prepare to homeschool the kids, take care of the pets, etc., etc. Throughout it all, our family, friends, and supporters have been wonderful. The people of Fairhope United Methodist Church gave us a heartfelt farewell. We appreciate the way they have continued to encourage us since we have been here.
So the new year finds us a long way away from where we were this time last year–literally and figuratively. What will 2014 bring for us? I am on a three year PhD program, but year two will require me to do field work in America. So we are moving back to the USA. I will continue my PhD work in the States and in the Latin American partnerships I will be studying. The kids and Beth will return to their school. We will return to our home in Fairhope. Those are all exciting things. But they also require us to say goodbye to the places and people that we have quickly grown to love here in Northeast England. Two more years of PhD work will be hard sometimes. And yes, there are still questions that haven’t been answered about all those details.
But God is faithful. Rather than looking at all the problems that could come along the way, we have vowed to Carpe Annum–to seize the year God is giving us. We will accept that God is doing no things and to accept that we are constantly in a state of departing and arriving. Our prayer is that this year you, too, may know this peace anew. Thank you for participating in this journey with us. We look forward to continuing it with you for years to come.
Happy New Year from Durham, UK,