I am one of those people. When someone else’s phone rings, I am usually pretty quick to ask who is calling. I like to know what’s going on. I like to know the where, when, why, what, who, and how of most situations. It’s called control, and yes, letting go of it is one of my personal thorns. So, waiting on a single phone call that would determine a lot about our life, and not knowing when that call would occur or what might be said, was a big thing for me to take patiently. Even with knowing the waiting would occur didn’t make it easier.
I knew when I married Aaron that I was, in a way, marrying the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference as well since they would not only employ my husband, but they, by listening to and hopefully discerning and trusting God’s will, would determine a huge chunk of the where, what, when, and who of our life. So, one would think that I was well prepared and content with almost 5 years (May 13th!) with which to get used to the idea and acceptance of the itinerant system and all that the itinerancy would bring, such as the waiting, wondering, and general lack of control. Well, my head knows that in reality I can’t really control anything and those things I want to control are the exact things I need to turn over to someone a bit more capable, namely, God. However, along with the minor control issue, I am also likely to think and react more with my heart than my head, though in this too I am growing in grace, day by day. As my loving husband likes to point out, he usually doesn’t rely on my initial reaction to major news, as it tends to be full-tilt emotion. He likes to give me the needed amount of time and space with which to let my brain regain the ability to speak after being roughly gagged and stuffed in the trunk by my all too eager and somewhat reactive emotions who sometimes take over the controls of my life. And, yes, we all have trunks in our heads into which we often shut our brains away when thinking is inconvenient and in the way of what we WANT, but may not NEED.
The brief trip into my psyche was all for the purpose of letting you know how eager and on edge I was for the phone call we would receive sometime between February and the end of April. A control-freak’s worst nightmare; a vague timeframe! Thankfully, amid the frequent questioning from well-meaning friends as to the location of our appointment, I had Micah to keep me entertained and busy. I hope that Micah takes after his laid back, go with the flow, father, rather than me when it comes to most things in life. Well, the phone would ring, and Aaron and I would both briefly panic if it was an Oklahoma area code and number we did not recognize. Most were false alerts until the evening of March 22, just as Aaron was preparing to walk out the door for his Monday night class.
It was almost the night before Christmas suddenly in the Tiger household! Although, Aaron was stirring as he dashed through the house, looking for books and his wireless mouse. The laundry was folded in the baskets with care, in the hope that the piles would not again soon be there. Micah was not nestled, was not ready for bed, and it was visions of milk that danced through his head. I was already in my pjs, and Aaron grabbed for his Cubs cap, each wishing we could settle for a long, lovely nap. When down on the table there arose such a clatter, Aaron grabbed for his cell phone to see what was the matter. Away from the room he flew like a flash, because Micah was fussing and to class he needed to dash. The number was new and as to the caller I did not know, I sat as patiently as I could not letting my anxiousness show. When, what to my questioning eyes should appear, but a great big smile and nod signaling that our appointment was near. (I shall continue without verse, the rhyme was all for my love, who has wanted me to write again, and has prodded and shoved!)
The call had come in and I was elated to finally hear some news of what our future was to bring. On the phone was Linda Harker, the Muskogee District Superintendent, and a welcome halt to the evening. I’m sure Aaron can better describe the actual phone call so click on his post for his side. When he got off the phone after what felt like forever he filled me in on the details, the most important of which was the cabinet was asking us to move to Muldrow, Oklahoma and serve the communities of Muldrow and Roland where Aaron would be the pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church.
My first thought was, “Well, I have heard of Muldrow, so that’s a plus!” As a lifelong city girl, small town life is not something I am too familiar with. My two years living in Seminole, OK while I attended Seminole State is my only experience of real small town living, and I was really more involved on campus than off being on the softball team. I do look forward to this change and I hope I can add to the charm I am sure we will find.
Unfortunately, Aaron and I did not have a lot of time to discuss the proposed appointment as he needed to leave for class. Let’s just say Aaron may have left for class leaving Heart on Sleeve Heather behind, and returned that night to a much more thoughtful wife! After much prayer, lots of discussion, and a few reminders that God is in control, we confidently and happily accepted the call to Trinity UMC and the soon-to-be friends we will meet and grow to love in Muldrow and Roland. Just as all journeys have their bumps along the way, I know such a major change in life will not be easy nor what I expect it to be. But I do know we serve an incredible, loving, all-powerful God who makes us a promise in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares, the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This is the promise I cling to as I continuously surrender my need for control in exchange for a life that will bring joy, growth, challenges, and is sure to exceed my greatest expectations.
So, Trinity, here come the Tigers; no lions or bears in tow, just a Micah and a Beau, and hearts ready to serve!