Thursday, December 12, 2019

2020 Scripture Calendar and a Story

This year is beginning to wind down, we're almost in 2020. That sounds so strange! I remember in 1995 (or something like that, I was around about 10 years old) writing a story in school about 'What we think life will be like in the year 2000.' The year 2000 was only 20 years ago! Twenty. Good grief!

Yet, here we are.  Almost 2020 and I have a cute little calendar to show you - if you haven't already heard about it.



Last year, I was almost ready to get started on putting the 2019 calendar together when, all of a sudden, we were planning to move house, move state, from Arizona to Tennessee.  I had to quit with the calendar and focus on moving.  I was stressed.  Real stressed.

Jesus carried me through, I was in and out of despair.  I struggled to sing.  Me, struggling to sing, that is a big deal! But, God.  Through that dark valley, I learned to trust. I'm still a work in progress, but I'm pressing closer to the goal, to win the prize. Hallelujah for his kindness.



Story time!

When we moved to Arizona from New Zealand, I was expecting to be instantly plugged into an awesome church. I expected that we'd find a church family right away, there would be room for us at the table. I expected to find a church just like the amazing one we left in New Zealand.

So, we moved to Arizona. We didn't have a car. We didn't have the ability to buy a car right away and we had been listening to some guy called Dave Ramsey. He's only a lot famous in this neck of the woods. Anyway, we decided to save up and buy a car. This is where it gets tricky... Roy had a truck through is work, but that was only for work use. Our apartment was so close to the supermarket that I could put Levi in the stroller and walk over there. We would do the grocery shopping, and on the way back from work, Roy would meet us at the supermarket, we'd put the groceries in the back of the truck and he'd drive home while our kiddo and I would walk back.

It was a good-enough plan, until the Arizona weather began to heat up. But, we were finally able to buy a good little car around April of 2015, and OH my goodness. Life changer!

Having a car, meant we were finally able to get to a church. I was so excited about meeting our new friends and finding our place.

But, back to when we first arrived on Thanksgiving 2014 (yes, we survived about 5 months without a car) I was so set on finding a friend or two that I became a member of an online meet-up website, it sounds dodgy. The group was for Mom's of the local area who had a child in the year 'X'. I went to only one of those meet-ups (had to be within walking distance) and found a friend instantly - still my friend today! Praise the Lord. I believe the story goes like this; we both went there to find a new friend, and we found each other, so we didn't go to the scheduled meet-ups again, but we hung out a lot after that. Perfect! She had suggested we try out her church, so eventually we did (see: not having a car), and that church became our 'home' for the time we were in Arizona.

Aww, sweet little story. Heart-eyes.

In my search for friends, I also had found a Facebook group of like-minded knitters and crocheters who lived in the same area. I only ever went to one scheduled meet-up, we had a car by this stage. It was madness! Fun madness! The ladies filled up a huge area in a local cafe/bakery, maybe 20 or so of us. I was the only crocheter, I felt a little awkward, it was fun.

Imagine a 'fresh' New Zealander in the US, who thinks no one will understand her accent so she puts on a little bit of an accent to not stand out, but stands out immensely and feels like a fraud for putting on an accent. Confession: I did that way too many times.

Back to the knitters group. One day, on the groups' Facebook page, a member suggested a small meet-up with anyone who wanted to hang out at a local playground with her and her kids, while crocheting. I was SO there.

So, I turned up, bun in the oven by this stage - which means it would have been in the winter (see NZ summer kind of weather) of 2015/16, with my big kid in tow, who was 4 years old at the time. It was just her and I, her two kids, my big kid. We talked. We crocheted. We became awesome friends.

Also at this stage, we had been in Arizona/the States for just over a year and we hadn't felt like we found any close friends, nor were we involved in anything in the church. It was a huge church and we just weren't finding people. It's true. So many people, but no one to talk to.

We were regularly going to a small group, but it wasn't really a good fit for us. The leaders were awesome, and the members were, too. But, we were the only ones having a baby (different life stages), our kid(s) were the only boys. If you know my oldest kiddo, he's not one for sitting still (ever) and wanting to play school when it's not school.

It took a long, long time to find close church friends. It was a lot harder than I expected. I felt like we were being humbled. In a good way, but it still hurt. It was so hard to find 'our' group, to find real friends, the kind who are interested in more than just the 'Sunday church and Small Group' windows. The kind who were willing to let you into their lives, and also who wanted to be in your lives.

Even when we were trying to get involved in church, it felt like we were still not getting deeper than small-talk. It was a really hard time for both Roy and I. We wondered what we were doing here, why was this so hard, all the questions - but we would always bring it back to all. the. things. that fell into place to get us there.

There are many stories for another day, but there were too many things that happened, God's sweet gifts, divine appointments, things that happened perfectly for the next thing to fall into place that we KNEW without a doubt that we were supposed to be here. Still, our hearts were hurting. We lost a bit of spring in our step. Finding out that the 'instant church family and friends' didn't exist was discouraging.

I began praying for vision for my husband, for dreams for the both of us, for the Lord to put things in our hearts to give us hope and excite us. And you know what? He did.

In New Zealand, Roy had been playing in the band at church since long before we met. He was worship leader, guitarist, leader, and had been for so long, that it was so weird for him to not be involved in anything like that. So, when the call for worship team auditions came up, he was so excited! The audition came and went. He never heard back about if he was in or not. That was hard. So hard. God was molding his heart in the process.

Eventually, Roy decided to email the guy who auditioned him. There was a mistake somewhere. But, all in God's plan, Roy ended up playing guitar and worship leading for an amazing ministry called CR, Celebrate Recovery. This. This filled his cup. Hallelujah. The Holy Spirit was alive and well in the church, and he found it in CR. The most welcoming place, the most authentic place on a Friday night. People, acknowledging their vices, helping, encouraging one another, in Jesus' name. Hallelujah.

Oh goodness, I've rambled on a long ways. I'll sign off here and continue next time.

In the mean time, if you'd love a 2020 calendar, you can find my shop here at roomtoflourish.bigcartel.com  to see a small collection of Holly Bruce custom work I've done click here.

To be continued...

Love you muchly!
Holly

2 comments:

  1. Oh my Holly! I'm sorry it was so hard for you! I love hearing those little stories though, the times you step out and end up making a friend. Can't wait for part 2!

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    Replies
    1. Yes! It was so hard. But, in hindsight, it prepared us for the next thing. Now, when things aren't going to plan, I start to think, 'what are we learning here that is preparing us for the next thing, and what might that next thing be, and how can I best be prepared for that...' Lol.

      I am excited to share more! :D

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