a. Nothing says "Texas" like passing cows on the side of the road - across the street from an apartment complex - as you head to church. Cetelia took this picture outside her window.
b. I could be wrong, but I'm thinking the "CH" branded on the cow stands for "Cetelia's Heifer." These are the type of cows Cetelia prefers to consume ... grass fed.
c. I've gone to bed at 3 AM the past two nights, so I'm some kinda tired. We've spent the last week on the road for 3-4 hours/day traveling from here to there to view houses, etc., so I don't get a chance to work until evening. At the same time, I can't keep going to bed that late and getting up early.
d. The streaming music service we've loved for a couple of years, MOG, was bought by Beats Music and shutdown on May 31st. We've been using Beats Music for free as MOG subscribers, and loathe it for many reasons. I'm giving Rhapsody a try as I type this post.
d. We went to our friends' church this morning, and the guy who opened the service in prayer said, "O God" 113 times - no lie. I used the counter app on my phone to keep track. All I can say to that is, "O God!"
e.The title of the pastor's message alone was encouraging: Carry On ... God is With Us. There were a lot of good points, but to keep from re-preaching the entire message, I'll just post two that resonated most:
- Comparing myself or my work to others often leads to complaining, which leads to disappointment, and ultimately discouragement.
- There's never a moment I have to walk alone.
- FREE bonus point: God is to me as I view him - big or small.
f. I spoke to my dad tonight for a good while, and it was exactly what I needed. He's a wise man, and I appreciate the fact that he's still following God and is willing to impart in my life.
g. God didn't move Cetelia, the kids, and me 1000 mile away from family, friends, our church, and comforts to let us fail or fall.
h. Although the first week did not go like Cetelia and I planned, God still has his hands on us. Despite us not finding permanent housing, and needing to stay with our hosts longer then we anticipated, we do have shelter, food, a safe & godly environment, resources, and permission to remain as long as necessary.
i. Our hosts said a few days ago that us being here was God's plan. As a family shepherd (husband & father), I rebuffed against that statement. To me, God's plan was for my family to immediately be in its own house - provided by my income - so we could get on a set routine and continue business as usual.
j. I told our hosts that I was "humiliated" (humbled) to have to stay with them right now, and that my ego was bruised. Pride Alert!
k. My pride is majorly based in the fact that Cetelia and I have been "self-sufficient" through God's sufficiency for nearly 14 years. Only 2 or 3 times during that span have we needed any type of outside assistance. While that's due to God's grace, we also got used to it. So, it's humbling to be in a place where we're receiving instead of giving.
l. My dad told me that I have deposited a lot in many over the years, and now I have to learn how to receive. He's right, but it's not the easiest lesson to learn. By receiving assistance, I have to fight feelings that I have somehow failed to plan, execute, or implement correctly.
m. Both Cetelia and I are re-framing how we're viewing our situation here in Texas. Though it seems like we've been here for weeks if not months, the truth is that we've been here for only 7 days. Due to my high (and perhaps unrealistic expectations), I expected us to be much farther along by now. Hey - at least I'm an optimist!
n. My dad also said that it's times like this that people pull away from family and friends, and become recluses. He's right. Had I not committed to writing daily, I doubt I would have reached out to anyone to share how our plans have been upended by reality (out of shame). But, I'm now in a place where I'm sharing my experiences publicly, and admitting my disappointment that things haven't gone correctly. Oh well! Welcome to the KBB show.
o. Cetelia and I have gotten a continual stream of notes, texts, calls, and comments telling us that our journey is inspirational, that we're courageous, that we're encouraging others in their walk, and even that they're reading their bible more. Praise God.
p. Truth is, we're stepping through this gingerly trying to hear correctly from God, and discerning what he's doing so we can be in the right place at the right time with the right people. How important!
q. While I've never been one to play the "I'm just suffering for Jesus, brother!" card, in some ways I do feel like I'm suffering currently. But, here's what 1 Corinthians 4 says about that:
We wish you could see how all this is working out for your benefit, and how the more grace God gives, the more thanksgiving will redound to his glory. This is the reason why we never collapse. The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear, but every day the inward man receives fresh strength. These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain. For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory: it is the invisible things that are really permanent. (vv 15-18, Phillips)
r. If God is getting glory from what the we're experiencing, others are being encouraged, and the Bullards are maturing and being developed, then so be it. As was said to us today, may we test well!
s. As this week commences, our prayer is that God will show us what we should be doing. Cetelia and I feel like we're in a holding pattern of sorts. We want to ensure we're making the most of our time this week.
t. Just to follow-up from letter D to report that Rhapsody is working like a boss. In short, Beats Music has gotten beat.
u. Jill's funeral will be this Friday. Thank you for praying for Edgar, the children, and their entire family. Also, please pray that I will be utilized as a vessel to comfort Edgar, and help him see Christ's care for he and his children during this very difficult time.