It is with many emotions that I am announcing that my time with The Net and our family’s time in Jackson is drawing to a close. The past four years with The Net and nine years (!) in Jackson have been full of growth, joy, and hardship, but we have become convinced that this chapter in our lives must come to a close.
Since my health has been challenged over the past two years, Dave and I have given up on foreseeing our future and focused on discerning our next step. In spite of the complications from my (and our daughter’s) connective tissue disease, we know we have every reason to hope for the best. God may choose to heal our bodies; He may help us manage our disease effectively and minimize any symptoms. God’s power to heal, my best-case prognosis, and some periods of relief tell us this. However, this world’s brokenness, my worst-case prognosis, and my worst days warn us our lives could become far more challenging.
We’ve been asking ourselves how we could be healthiest if I became more severely disabled. The church in Jackson has been unendingly supportive of us, and we are also incredibly blessed to have a supportive & loving family as well. But, one of our challenges of the past two years has been that most of that close, supportive family lives far away. We have decided that moving closer to family would be the wisest choice, for many reasons.God has been confirming this plan with His providence. He has provided a person to take over my work at The Net, and He has provided multiple offers on our house in the midst of a pandemic.
The Net’s Plans
As I said, a wonderful candidate to succeed me at The Net has accepted the position. I will be available to The Net for a period — two months at least — to facilitate a smooth transition. While COVID-19 has many parts of our work uncertain, we are thankful to have the blessing of this person in place, and I will be happy to share more details soon.For those of you who have been supporting me financially, how you now choose to apply those resource is, of course, your choice. If you wish, those funds could be directed to my successor, or another counselor (I can provide details on their various ministries), or to The Net’s general fund. The Net’s work will be continuing, so long as God chooses. Or, perhaps there is a different need on your mind, and you will want to end payments to The Net and direct your resources there. Let me know how I can help with these logistics.Our Family’s PlansOf our extended family, a great number of them are in Eastern Tennessee and North Georgia, along with many dear friends, so we will be packing up over the next month and heading that way. We have some specifics nailed down, others (like our address) are still up in the air.We are hoping and praying that most of the final details are settled soon, before we move. We are confident that, even if this transition is difficult, it is a wise one. I am holding out hope for a break from difficulty — that new jobs, new home, new doctors, new community, and new baby would all come with relative ease. Whatever the case, the last two years have taught us that we can be sustained on even “the slenderest provision.”While we expect God’s provision and look forward to being near so many loved ones, we are also grieving the end of our time in Jackson, especially that it would end this way. There are so many dear friends (family) I want to hug before we go, and cannot. So, we will be making plans for visits, and many, many video calls. And I will be looking forward to heaven even more. Or, you know, y’all could move out our way so I don’t have to wait.I am dreaming about plans to try in the future (Net branches, prison ministries, therapeutic gardens, etc). They will have to wait for the right time, or perhaps for a different person. While my distant future is uncertain, we know that my focus will be narrower for a time as I care for our daughter during this pandemic and get ready for our second (coming in August!).ThanksEach of you, in various ways, has been an important part of supporting my work and our family. You have prayed for me, advocated for me, worked alongside me, cared for me, and put food on my table. I’ve recorded the incredible work that you have made possible in many places (including here).
While the confidentiality of counseling has meant that you have had to observe from afar, I have had the deep privilege of witnessing the impact of your compassion and generosity. I have witnessed heartbreak, healing, and God glorified. I have seen the incredible growth and ministry of our counselors. I have rejoiced with our counselors and mentors over abundant new life in our clients and wept over evil and tragedy. I have witnessed our family endure under strain. Jesus has kept me broken, and He has held my parts together.
In this time of uncertainty, injustice, and suffering, it is worthwhile to hold the tension between the good and the bad: I am sad and glad. I am hopeful and frightened. The start of this new chapter may be challenging, but I know all will be well in the end.
Grace & Peace,
Photo Credit: Moving House by Nathan O’Neal, retrievable here.