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This is one of my best friends’ babies. In her hands is a custom order from someone who’s friend lost her son to suicide last week. A son who was this age once. A son who was fiercely loved and valued and squeezed tight. A son who will always be their baby. My heart cannot fathom the overwhelming grief. Our only hope? To lift our eyes to the One who is our help in every season and situation. Jesus, come quickly.
It seems the Lord is teaching me a deeper (more experiential) meaning of what Paul talks about when he describes servants of God as “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10a). • You see, there is so much good happening. So much joy, provision, and depth of community. So many doors opening. So many opportunities to minister and be ministered to. So much love and humility and grace and kindness and care that it has made me—quite literally—cry into a plate of chicken and waffles from the mercy of it all. • These scattered beams can only be explained by the Lord, who is dropping joy bombs and grace explosions all around. • But it’s not all chicken and waffles. • (Link to blog post in profile ❤️)
“All in all, it was a never-to-be forgotten summer—one of those summers which comes seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going—one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends, and delightful doings, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.” -L.M. Montgomery
“[It is] as if [David] had said, Separated from God I am nothing, and all that I attempt to do ends in nothing; but when I come to Him, I find an abundant supply of strength. It is highly necessary for us to consider what we are without God; for no man will cast himself wholly upon God, but he who feels himself in a fainting condition, and who despairs of the sufficiency of his own powers. We will seek nothing from God but what we are conscious of wanting in ourselves. ...the reason why God is represented as a portion is, because He alone is abundantly sufficient for us, and because in Him the perfection of our happiness consists.” -John Calvin, on Psalm 73:26

Follow me as I follow Jesus

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A lot can happen in a year.

The last 12 months have been some of the most wonderful, painful, exposing, sanctifying, excruciating, and joyful months of my 28 years.

God has opened my heart, locked tight with fear, and poured in more love and goodness than can be contained in 10,000 lifetimes. He has begun the process of breaking down my Fort Knox-esque self-protective tendencies and given enormous gifts of grace so beyond my dreams and imagination that I didn’t even know to ask for them. I’ve watched Him answer six years of prayers in my small group babies as He has matured, purified, saved, sanctified, and led them deeper into His heart. He has faithfully and flawlessly demonstrated His sufficiency in the valleys and on the mountain tops and in every moment in between.

This year has been filled with sorrow, longings, dreams, and compassions that fail not. It’s been packed with patience from the Father, security from the Son, and constant hope from the Spirit.

The Lord has taught is teaching me to trust Him (and others) with my emotions, my unmasked soul, and my constant urge to resist grace and base my worth on performance. My heart, shriveled from 28 years of insecurities, has been expanded and nourished by a love unlike anything it has ever known from a human so marked by majesty that my soul explodes on a daily basis in worship and praise to the Giver of every good and perfect gift. And my mind constantly reverberates with this grace-drenched message: If His gifts are this good, how much greater is He?

God has proven to my fearful soul over and over that He is good and that He does all things well. He strategizes our lives well. He directs all things well. He writes all our stories well. He never makes a typo. He only ever writes with the highest quality grace-filled ink and He is plotting in all things for His supreme glory and our deepest joy.

Even when He says no.

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Oxford, England.

Today is the day I was supposed to move to England.

“…but God.”

Three months after we returned from England last January, Haley and I began praying about moving to Oxford, a city that instantly felt like home, magic, and possibilities. She would get her PhD, I would write and teach English, and together we would immerse ourselves in the culture we had fallen in love with and make disciples.

We discussed it with our parents, faithful counselors, and each other (all the time). We sought God for months and moved forward, talking with people on the ground in England, students and advisors at Oxford, and various missions organizations. We made lists and Pinterest boards, bought and designed a travel blog, strategized and wrote content for said blog, and researched anything and everything we would need to purchase before moving.

I looked up jobs and Visa applications, formatted my resume for England, and found an apartment. We imagined living, writing, and studying in the same city that was once home to C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, T. S. Eliot, John Wesley, and so many others.

And in every second, God taught me to dream again.
I just didn’t know it wasn’t for England.

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Everything in Oxford is magical (even the doors).

It was the end of October when the no came.

The door was shut.
The desire had changed.
The answer was clear.

Joy flooded in.

I wanted to go but I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to be in Oxford but I wanted to stay in Paducah. I wanted to move and do cross cultural missions but I didn’t want to miss what God was doing in our church or watching His plans for His people unfold.

After years of wanting, seeking, and begging God to send me overseas to give my life for His global glory, He (again) called me to stay. Paducah is where He called me and contentment and rest stabilized the calling. His peace proved His presence.

“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” -Psalm 16:11

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On this, the day I was supposed to move, I can tell you with more clarity and conviction than ever before that God will never deny you an egg to give you a scorpion. But He will deny you a scorpion to give you an egg (Luke 11:11-13).

My heart was saying, “Lord, take away this longing, or give me that for which I long.” The Lord was answering, “I must teach you to long for something better.” -Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity

The bottom line (isn’t anything new): God always has the best plans. Especially when He says no. He can be trusted. His ways are higher than ours and His beauty surpasses anything our minds can conceive.

Do you want to know the most recent lesson He’s teaching me? It’s that sometimes, when you brace yourself for a no, He actually says yes. Just in an entirely different way than you were expecting.

Sola Deo Gloria.

“This God––His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.” -Psalm 18:30

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3 comments on “The Day I was Supposed to Move

  1. Sherry VanHooser says:

    Thanks for giving us a glimpse of God’s sovereign work in your life. I love that He makes all things new – even our heart’s desires.

  2. Carmen says:

    Thank you Sophie for opening your heart!! Yes, God is good and when we are in His plan is the best and we have the biggest joy.. May God continue tu use you in the life of the people you are surrounded…God bless you!!

  3. prrussell61 says:

    Wonderful insight in the ways of our Abba Father. You and Haley are inspirations to many…..

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