What’s next

Occasionally, in life’s journey of trusting and serving, you find yourself on an unavoidable and unexpected detour. It seems like someone pressed the pause button and now you’re faced with a myriad of questions. Did we take a wrong turn somewhere? Maybe this new route is going to put us back on the same road we were traveling, just around the bend? Has that road been closed temporarily or permanently? Are we at the end of one journey and the beginning of another? Most importantly, “Lord, where do You want us to go next?”

Perhaps, when faced with an unexpected detour, it’s a good idea to pull off to the side of the road to pray about the route before us… To politely steer out of the traffic of fellow travelers and noise of well-meaning by-standers pointing you in various directions which may or may not be in line with God’s plan. More than anything, the planner in me wants to quickly plot the best route out of this potholed obstacle course, and get back on track. Yet, I know that’s impossible because we can’t map our own future. No one can. That’s just a silly presumption of an inexperienced traveler who has never been around the block. This fact is learned through twists, turns and bumps in the road and it’s far more obvious to anyone in the middle of one of life’s weird detours. I also happen to believe this detour is an important leg of our intended course, mapped out by our loving Father and life navigator. Still, there are so many unknowns and so many ideas bouncing around in my head about what may be next and where to go from here.

Here’s what we do know… Some things in our life ARE forever changed. My husband will need to be monitored and tested routinely for the rest of his life on this planet. He is responding really well to the chemo treatments, with only a few of the possible side effects. The chemo appears to be taking out “the bad boys” as one member of his medical team told us. When we returned from Italy Mike’s cancer cell “marker” number (whatever that is) was at 77, then it went down to 28, and today we found out that it is down to 17! The “normal range is 0-34! That doesn’t mean the cancer is gone, but there are much fewer “bad boys” (i.e. cancer cells) rummaging around in there! He has regained some of the weight he had lost, has a healthy appetite, and looks great once again.

God is answering our prayers and we know that He’s planning a complete healing! As Mike tells everyone, “He’ll either heal me here or heal me there. Either way, I’ll be healed!” (Of course, a complete healing here on earth is our prayer!)

So, while we’re in the midst of what appears to be a detour to only-God-knows-where, we have a lot of decisions to make. Since God hasn’t let us in on all his plans, we’re doing our best to stick close to Him and stay flexible. Wherever this detour may lead, in the here and now, we need to make a living, so after a lot of prayer, I’ve decided to start a business that I can pick up and take with us (wherever God leads). I’m starting a Portable Painting Party Business where I can bring everything needed to walk a gathering of friends, through an acrylic painting step-by-step. I’m working on getting a website up and running (hopefully this week). I’m also considering other painting or ministry related jobs, including painting murals, decorative interior wall treatments, tile mosaics, regular interior painting and color consulting.

We all tend to dread detours even though we know they are put there for our well being, sometimes because the road has been closed either permanently or temporarily, sometimes due to dangerous obstacles in the path, and other times because the road is being straightened, repaired or refurbished. Whatever the reason, detours are always there to benefit the travelers! They are a part of the big plan, even though they may not be part of our plan. (Uh, Yes, I am preaching to myself, now.)

We so appreciate your prayers as we seek the Lord with this big question, “What’s next?”

We are also praying for an opportunity to return to Italy this fall for at least a short-term trip (God willing).

Please continue to pray for Mike’s healing… For God’s loud and clear leading in the writing of children’s ministry curriculum… For opportunities to share the reason for the hope we have… For our family, friends, co-laborers, and body of Christ in Italy!