Monday, April 30, 2018

Moving is Not for Whiners

When I woke up for the first time in my new town, I said to myself,
"Where am I?"

Now mind you, this is not really a new thought for me, as I often wake up in conference hotels and wonder which state I'm in (other than the state of confusion). But now, I was really wondering about this strange bedroom with the lovely little armchair next to the closet. I didn't recognize a thing in the room, and that's when I remembered...

...I've moved.

Sold in 36 hours
My new hometown doesn't feel at all like home, but I will give it time. It took months of prayer for the Lord to lead me to even consider moving, which eventually led to a position as editor for the Joyful Life Sunday school curriculum at Abeka Books in Pensacola, Florida. Decision day was January 31, 2018.

And then a whirlwind.

And then a huge moving truck.

And then I boarded a flight because in the process of planning this move, I had forgotten all about my car. (Who forgets about their car?) Thank the Lord for my Pastor David Clear and his wife, my sister friend Valerie, as they bailed me out by driving my car from Minnesnowtah to Florida, where we all enjoyed dinner together on my first night in town. Friends sometimes have to double as "keepers." I have some of the very best friends on the planet.

The time between January 31st and moving day on March 27th was a blur that I can only recall in part, as the focus on moving was intense and felt like being on a bullet train! Oh me of little faith, I was quite certain that my older home would not sell in a market surrounded by newer homes. My next door neighbor Andrea was also my real estate agent, and she had complete confidence that my home would sell and sell FAST. She put her head together with my sister friend Vikki, who specializes in staging homes, and before I knew it, my home looked like a model and I was getting nervous.

"I'd better speed up the packing," I thought to myself after returning from a conference and seeing the results of Vikki's home staging. I didn't recognize my own home! And I loved it, so now I was thinking that maybe Andrea was right: this home would sell. Oh oh.

I never had a second thought about my decision to move to Pensacola, but I have had moments of high-level stress, like the moment I heard that the house had sold...a mere 36 hours after going on the market! Stress causes the thinking to stray into the panic zone. Thankfully, we can take our thoughts to the Lord and He knows how to settle us down. "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..." (2 Corinthians 10:5) I needed my imagination to stop running wild and start walking through the process of selling a home and moving across the country. So, I took my fearful thoughts "captive" and turned them over to the Lord. He replaced my panic with peace.

Moving is not for wimps or whiners. It is HARD WORK, and it doesn't end quickly. I wish it could be like dry cleaning: in by 10 and out by 4, but it's more like birthing a child without pain meds! I don't know what course my life would have taken if my Norman had lived longer, but I do know that he and I both greatly loved Florida, so my best guess is that he would have approved of this move and would have been packing boxes way faster than his pokey wife. 

June 2017
Pensacola is growing on me. I love the Campus Church, the ministry of Pensacola Christian College, and the people. And it is no secret how much I love "sea shells by the sea shore," so living this close to the Emerald Coast is no hardship. This move will be good for me, but I do not have a mistaken notion that this will ease or speed up the grieving process. I know better.

I was blinking rapidly to hold back tears as I walked into the church auditorium recently. Here I was, surrounded by over 6,000 people and yet I felt so very alone. I even had a family that invited me to sit with them and have lunch with them after church and yet, I felt so very alone. Only God will be able to heal this broken heart. "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3) I don't lack the presence of people. I lack the presence of my Norman, and he is irreplaceable. That knowledge doesn't trouble me. I will forever be grateful for the years we had together. Sometimes the memories bring tears, but at other times, I see his big smile on the movie screen of my mind and it comforts me. Everyone that knew my Norman loved that trademark smile.
My life feels like this at times

Keep the Heart will continue with a focus on books and Bible studies, as previously planned. I will also continue to teach at ladies' conferences around the country, although I have trimmed the schedule to allow me to do my best in both roles. I would greatly appreciate your prayers as I learn the ropes as the new editor of Joyful Life while continuing as Founder of Keep the Heart. I am now in double-full-time Christian ministry. 

I guess that means I'm a double-delivery-girl.

"Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?" (Proverbs 20:24)



28 comments:

  1. Love you! And so happy to be along for the journey :)

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    1. Kendra, I don't know what I'd do without your EFFICIENT assistance, but I do know that you have birthdays, so expect to be appreciated. :)

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  2. I am praying for you and so excited for the ways the Lord is using you. So many will be helped by your ministry. Thank you for not quitting while grieving. God bless you!

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    1. Molly, I am so grateful for your prayers. Thank you!

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  3. ❤ I pray everyday for you, my friend. What a beautiful place the Lord moved you to. I hope to see that area for myself someday. I can imagine how peaceful walking by that Ocean is. Im sure Norman has the biggest smile ever right now. Thank you for your blog.
    Love and prayers,
    Chassidy

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    1. Chas, it IS a peaceful place. If you decide to come for a visit, let me know, please. Thank you for praying!

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  4. Praying for you as you begin this new journey in Florida. God's grace and comfort are sweet and amazing to watch unfold. I know your heart is still desperately sad and grieving and my prayer is that slowly the depth of pain and loss will ease it's way into an awareness that there will always be sadness laced with gratitude for the time together and joy at the memories made. I love reading your blog and appreciate your authenticity and transparency.

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    1. Thank you for praying, Renee, and thank you for reading the blog.

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  5. you truly are amazing! You capture the hearts of women with Jesus' love! Thankyou for all you do for Christ. You are missed by many people in Mn also. Your precious Norman was an amazing man who loved Jesus with everything he had and loved his wife as Christ loved the church. I pray for you often my friend. I am so excited that God is now using my husband and I to be His hands and feet to save marriages, WHO KNEW!! Love ya!

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    1. Thank you for your note, and God bless you and your husband in your marriage ministry.

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  6. Your words are always such an encouragement!! I'll be praying for you as you start this new journey.
    Welcome Home to Florida! I'm glad you're closer to Bible Baptist Church in Bradenton. I'm sure our paths will cross again. Until then... ((HUGS)) Love you, Miss Francie!

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    1. Thank you for praying, Laura! Yes, it's a much shorter flight to Bradenton, and I do hope to visit again someday soon!

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  7. Hey there, gardening buddy, I've been praying for you. You are an inspiration to me and am so blessed to know you! Now you can work on your tan just like Bro. Norm did! I was thinking about you both yesterday as I was making a pango pie with some fresh mangos we picked up this weekend. God bless you and keep you in this chapter in your life. Miss you! Sharon Stumfoll

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    1. Gardening Buddy Sharon! Now that you can see the ground again, it's probably almost planting time. Wish I could have some of your fresh green beans, but once I've purchased a home, I will begin gardening again. Love and hugs to you, sister friend.

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  8. This is so rich Francie. Thank you for sharing! Through my experience as a Realtor I've witnessed how moving can bring out the worst in people (inspections, repair requests, financing issues, low appraisals, coordinating movers, etc.). Glad to see you made it through to the other side, and that you're plugged in to A Beka & the Campus Church. They are very fortunate to have you :-)

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    1. Jon, I'm sure that you've seen more than your share of meltdowns in this process. I almost dissolved last week when I heard about a delay in the process of my (hopeful) home purchase here! Yes, moving can bring out the uglies, but the Lord reminded me that this is part of His "wait training" program. The selling AND buying process require truckloads of temperance! Thanks for writing.

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  9. I think of you and pray for you often. ❤️ Love you!

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  10. Thank you for being so transparent and open about this struggle. Your steadfastness and heart felt feelings help those who feel the same way as well as those who see other women in your walk of life. I look forward to reading more of your story.

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    1. Natalie, thank you for your note. I don't know any other way to be but transparent and open, and I am grateful if it helps anyone else with their own struggles on the journey. Thank you for writing!

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  11. Praying for you Mrs. Francie, as you embark on this new journey! I love KTH, all the books you’ve published and especially hearing you speak and teach! May the Lord continue to bless you and your ministries! :)

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    1. Terri, thank you for your feedback, and especially for your prayers!

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  12. Mrs. Francie, I just love your heart!! You are so precious! I tried to include a note with my recent Keep The Heart order of a couple more of your fabulous books, but the online form wouldn’t allow me to submit it. The woes of technology for me... �� I think of you SO often! I was SO happy to hear that you are finally getting some more of that beloved and MUCH needed “Vitamin Sea” in your life!! We share that need and desire, but since my Michigan doesn’t allow too much of that, Immuna need you to soak that up for the both of us!! �� ❤️ I’m so glad the Lord is taking precious care of you, His beloved daughter!! I always love seeing an update pop up from my favorite conference speaker!! ❤️ You will continually be in my prayers, as I look forward to whenever I may be able to see you again in person!! Meanwhile, a sweet friend of mine just sent me YouTube links to watch your recent conference from Hammond, IN!! YAY!! I guess I DO like technology, a little!! �� Praying for the Lord’s richest blessings over your life as you navigate your new normal, until the sweet day that you are reunited with your beloved Norman H. in Heaven! ❤️❤️❤️

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    1. Jessica, thank you for continuing to keep me and this ministry in your prayers! So grateful!

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  13. Bless you Mrs. Francie as you start this new chapter of your life. I miss hearing you speak at the Sword of the Lord ladies conference. You were definitely my favorite. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a spouse. I have had my Michael for 41 glorious years and love him more every day. Prayers for you.

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    1. You are so wise to savor the sweetness of your marriage. Thank you also for praying!

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  14. Francie, we are praying for you from Jerusalem. If you ever need good coffee you know where to come...��

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    1. Brian and Lynette, if I ever need a slower-paced tour of Israel, would you provide that along with the good coffee? I'd love to return some day. Thank you for praying! I am likewise praying for you in your new ministry. Hope that language lessons are coming along...immersion sure helps! Love you both. FMT

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Moving is Not for Whiners

When I woke up for the first time in my new town, I said to myself, "Where am I?" Now mind you, this is not really a new...