Thursday, March 22, 2012


Good morning,

I have the pleasure of having a day off. A day to completely stop. (I did run my daughter to the library this morning, but returned home and promptly changed back into my pj's for the day! Complete bliss!)

So I told my husband I was going to sit and catch up the blog. Can you believe it has been EXACTLY one month since I last wrote you? (I didn't plan this! I promise! ;o) )

On one hand, it is hard to believe it has been a month, but on the other hand, it has been a PACKED month, as you will soon read!

Before going back in time, I want to share a verse God gave to me this morning as I was preparing to write you.

He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving
honors and glories Me;
and he who orders his way aright,
to him I will demonstrate the salvation of God.
Psalm 50:23

It is in that vein of praise and thanksgiving that I share my family's past with you in the hopes that it encourages you wherever you are in your walk. Shortly, I will be posting a new article comparing and contrasting God's grace and God's favor. They are different - and it is vital that we understand the difference. If I had to encapsulate the past few months of the Kirby's existence, only one word would suffice -- and that one word would be favor.

Now -- journey back with me twenty three months and a few days.....

In the summer of 2009, my husband, Brian, went through a season where he would come home from work saying one phrase over and over again: "God is in my core. God is in my core."

Shortly thereafter, he and I became keenly aware of a "hinge" God regularly referenced. One morning Brian woke up and stated clearly, "I'm the hinge." I don't think either one of us understood the dynamic of that declaration.... but we would... in time.

In December of 2009, Brian became unemployed. (As a key piece of information, six months into the job, God told me, "He will not be here past five years." I conveyed that to Brian at the time God conveyed it to me. I still recall him saying, "That's an odd thing to say." Yet sure enough -- five years later, almost to the day -- he was no longer there.)

How many know that even with the knowledge that God is at the helm of the vortex, it is still a vortex.... and often comes at a dizzy rate of speed?!

In March of 2010, Brian accepted a job.... in another state. As crazy as it seemed at the time, we knew God was directing the move. But, I also daily -- almost hourly --- sometimes minutely --- said, "God, You know my heart is to go where You say go, but that same heart is breaking over the idea of moving our family. I'll go, just please understand I am making the decision that my desire to please You is to override my crushed heart that wants to dig in and pour concrete here."

So, the family as a whole prepared to move. We put the house up on the market, and I began packing. BUT, a key piece of information was that Brian believed God had said to him, "I'm not asking you to sell the house." Now I don't mind telling you that completely shorts out the brain altogether. How can someone take a job in a different state and not sell their current home? Well, we did put the house on the market. We figured if God truly was telling us not to sell the house, He would not permit it to sell. But if we had heard incorrectly, He would sell our house. So basically, we placed our home in His hands to do whatever He willed.

Meanwhile, Brian moved in with a bachelor friend of his (a long time Christian fraternity brother from college days) an hour at minimum away from his new company. It was God's provision for the beginning of the season. We paid a little rent each month from the relocation money the company had agreed to give us, thus not stressing our family's budget. During that time, Brian was able to enjoy the fellowship and reconnecting of this dear Christian brother. In addition to the personal reconnect, he enjoyed weekly Bible studies hosted in his friend's home. These aspects sweetened the situation of commuting an hour to an hour and a half every day to work and then back "home" again at the end of the day - for a total of about three hours each day... for SIX months. Six long months.

All the while, the children and I stayed in our hometown.... waiting and watching for divine hand prints. Those days were some LONG days, but I am well-seasoned in the Lord and know that He orchestrates ALL our days. Keeping my focus on the day at hand helped get us through those long weeks without being utterly frazzled and undone. Brian would return to us on Thursday evening and telecommute on Friday from home.

One day, Brian was heading to his car to start his long commute back to his friend's place when a fellow named Jim approached him out in the parking lot. He asked, "Are you that fellow who has the long commute to work?" Brian answered, "That would be me."

(Though Brian never relished the season, we would have to be completely blind not to have seen God at the helm. And so despite his weariness - I am so stinkin' proud of Brian for humbling himself into the season and making himself available to God's overhaul and formation.... SO proud!)

Jim went on to explain how his in-laws had a second home not two miles from work that they owned -- fully furnished -- that they kept for missionaries and guest speakers for their church. Since Brian only needed it from Monday to Thursday, he felt he was supposed to approach his in-laws about Brian staying there. (Obviously it became clear that Jim and his in-laws were fellow siblings in the Lord and were obeying God's command through our season. Little did they know the scope of their obedience at the time. I pray in time God allows them to fully understand their hand in our season! What a tremendous blessing their obedience was for us!) Within about two weeks, Brian was no longer commuting, but staying at the fully furnished home less than two miles from work.

Even now I have to smile, as the home had no Internet nor cable, but was stacked and packed full of Christian books. God's plan continued.

I heard God say, "Now let's see how My son redeems the time I have given back to him."

Three hours daily to be exact.

(Seems this is a good time to pause and have you ask yourself, "How much time do I waste during my day?" Time that could be put to use sowing or growing in the Lord? I'm telling you our experience during this particular part of the season truly and utterly revealed just how much time we brainlessly waste each and every day. I challenge you to inspect your day! How could you better put your time to use?)

Amazing hours of growth began. One could perhaps describe it as open-heart surgery. One could perhaps describe it as a wrestling match. One could perhaps describe it as a preparatory experience. In truth, Brian is the only one who could accurately describe it, but for me, I know it as the time "the hinge" was formed.

And so for six months, Brian stayed at the little two bedroom brick house. A sacred time between my husband and God. Priceless. Utterly priceless.

Then came another shift. There was an increase in the unrest in Mexico to the point that one of the church's missionaries was going to have to move his family back to the States --- more to the point, into the house Brian was occupying. Before we hardly had time to utter the words, "Okay, Lord, we know You have a plan," Jim came to Brian and said, "I have another place lined up for you to stay. I'll swing by and pick you up and take you there so you can meet the couple." Turns out there was this precious couple who (we would later learn) felt totally and inexplicably prompted by God to open their house up to Brian.... on a twenty acre horse farm with twenty horses. (Important to say, they had NEVER done such a thing before, and even one of their adult sons expressed his own concern (after Brian moved in), "Mom, you have no idea who this guy is. What if he kills you?" Her response literally caused me to laugh out loud when she conveyed the conversation to me at a much later point in time -- "Well, he hasn't yet!")

Truly, God continually --- and I do mean continually in every aspect of the word! -- took our breath away throughout the season as He easily and clearly laid out our path.... right down to where Brian would lay his head at night. Was it a "cake walk" to our flesh? No. But it most certainly was an exercise that deepened our roots to the spirit leading our flesh as opposed to our flesh leading our spirit! (You do know uncomfortable seasons such as these are awesome opportunities to exercise spiritual precepts such as Spirit dominance, patience, peace that passes all understanding, etc.... correct? ;o) )

Now let me stop here and tell you why I strongly suspect Brian's next stop was a horse farm of all places! I have a childhood dream of owning a horse one day, but when I mentioned it to Brian, Brian was apprehensive -- not knowing the first thing about horses. I have to laugh at this "setup." It's as if God said, "I need to educate you, My son, on this subject so My daughter can have the horse I want to give her."

Our family and their family bonded over the coming months. With my busy schedule, we would "vacation" at their ranch frequently. They enjoyed our children, and our children richly enjoyed the farm and their fellowship.

All throughout the season, God continued to keep our focus on the tasks of each day. There were several HUGE themes to the season: DAILY diligence (ensuring behaviors/habits lined up with God's Word (which meant more time spent in God's Word)), wise DAILY sowing (out of the knowledge of God's Word), and a STATE of surrender (not "moments of surrender" -- but a constant state of being surrendered -- that's something only time can teach and instill!).

Over time, that hinge was formed.... WELL formed! I am profoundly proud of Brian. Few men -- and I do mean FEW men -- undertake the intense season he undertook at the hand of God. It wasn't that Brian was not a great guy to begin with; he was. The point to this season was to form him into the man God needed him to be so as to steward this family, this ministry, this calling into the future with confidence and greater dependency on Him. This season was appointed so God could further expand our territory --- or as I like to say "so the eagle could reach greater heights!"

So, that brings the time line up to the beginning of this year. But before concluding this narrative, I want to tell you what was happening with myself and the children.

From the beginning, God told me, "You are to circle and wait." And circle and wait is exactly what I did. There was activity with JITM during the wait. I continued to study, write, and speak, but by and large, my time was spent shoring up the home front, while exercising deeper levels of surrender and submission to both Brian and God. I never knew "single parenting" would be a card in my stack, but what God calls us to, He equips us to do... one day at a time. Oh, I did grow weary, and there were days I just laid out before Him, giving Him space and time to refill my tank. He was always faithful to fill me up and cheer me on! The children grew by leaps and bounds during the season, too. Just as one example, I recall my eldest coming down one morning for breakfast and saying, "Mom, it's weird. As much as I miss dad, this time sure has made me appreciate him more than I think I would had we not been put in this place." I don't know many teens with the level of insight my fifteen year old has. I smiled and told him, "You're absolutely correct about that!" Separation does make the heart grow fonder, as well as it develops sharper wisdom and keener vision.

At the end of January, I felt and sensed a shift coming. The grace (God's empowerment) began to lift across the board for each member in our family for the season we had lived through, at this point, for nearly twenty two months. I recall one of my children hearing this SONG at church and dismissing themselves to cry in Abba's arms in private. I went out with them and upon hearing them say, "Mom, I'm just tired of this season" -- I told them, "I'm telling you God is about to shift things. I don't have any idea how He is going to do it, but He is."

About three weeks later, we headed to "the farm" to horse-sit while the owners took a vacation. We arrived on February 22nd at around 8:00pm. As soon as I got out of my car and embraced my waiting husband, he said, "Guess who I heard from today?" (In our world, that could be anyone. I had NO guess!)

At roughly 5:00 pm that evening, Brian had received an email from the Vice President of a company he interviewed with exactly two years prior (just before the beginning of our "out-of-state" season). When he interviewed with them two years ago, the VP had said, "This was the hardest hire decision I have ever had to make. We went with the other candidate, but should we ever have another position open - you are the one I want." We had NO -- NADA -- ZERO communication with them or any other company since this season began. Not one resume sent. Not one application filled out.

From time to time during the twenty two months, Brian would confer with me, "Do you think this season is coming to an end any time soon?" As much as I wanted to say, "yes" - I could not. We were both dedicated to not seeking an "out" until we knew God had wholly accomplished the making of "the hinge."

Well, God declared the thing done, the hinge formed.. the heart fully beating. The time between the company's initial contact on that Wednesday evening, literally out of BEYOND left field, to the time he had signed their offer of employment on March 2nd was one week and two days. As fast as the vortex season began, so too, it ended.

A friend of mine said recently, "Well, I can no longer say 'Jobs just don't fall into a person's lap!'"

No, not when you align yourself with God's will -- no matter how rough the road looks at the beginning of the journey --- nor how long it may be.

For those of you who have read "Beyond the Greenhouse," consider this to be the continuation of the story. I don't think there are adequate adjectives to describe it all -- God's direction -- His purposes -- His attentiveness -- His faithfulness -- His peace -- His provision --- HIS, HIS, HIS. With the exception of "HIS," all the adjectives come up lacking. I just know the lessons, wisdom, and experience gained having come through is way, way beyond PRICELESS.

We are a family after God's heart -- wholly submitted -- not only willing to pay the high price --- but have and will continue to pay it. I echo Paul's words: (READ this slowly and let the words sink in!)

"More than that,
I count ALL things
to be loss
in view of the surpassing value
of KNOWING Christ Jesus MY Lord,
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and count them but rubbish
I may GAIN Christ,
and may be found IN Him,
NOT having a righteousness of my own
derived from the Law,
but that which is through faith
IN Christ,
the righteousness which comes from God
on the basis of faith,
may know Him
AND the power
of His resurrection
AND the fellowship of His sufferings,
being conformed to His death;
in order
may attain
to the resurrection FROM the dead.
Phil 3: 8-11

It's not about our comfort.

It's not about our plans.

It's about Him being given time, space, and permission to do whatever He wills in our life to accomplish individual growth (a FULLY beating heart in sync, alive and well with our Savior, Creator, King, and Lord), as well as, POWERFUL Kingdom purpose!

Did you catch the word whatever?

During the season, the "hinge" was formed... powerfully formed.

As for me, my circling days are over --- and this team is advancing on with Kingdom purpose --- united under the same roof once again; God-focused all the way.

Never ---- NEVER --- forget God tends to and looks out for His own, utterly and completely. And His favor rests on those wholly surrendered and obedient to Him. We are living testimonies to His purpose, power, and provision.

And as I began this entry, so shall I end it!

He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving
honors and glories Me;
and he who orders his way aright,
to him I will demonstrate the salvation of God.
Psalm 50:23

Giving God praise for His surreal attentiveness in our life and His favor that has chased us down! All praise be to You, my Lord, King, and Savior!


PS: And not only did we get to keep our home, but we are almost finished with a kitchen remodel! And I LOVE it! Pictures coming soon! Praise Him!