Jeff woke me this morning with words that touched my heart.
First... Happy Anniversary. We fell in love nineteen years ago today. (nineteen years??? Holy Smokes!)
Second... The time he has spent with my dad these last weeks while we have been in Orange County, have been good for Jeff. We spend most our days doing "things" for and with my dad. Jeff told me that spending time with Dad has not only helped him deal with the loss of his own dad, but has also just been fun! Jeff and his dad didn't do "stuff" together, so this time with my dad has been special for my love. What a sweet guy.
Now... We are planning on leaving on Tuesday (after the holiday traffic)!! Hallelujah! As much as I enjoy this time with dad, we need to move on!
Well, it doesn't look like we will be leaving tomorrow! I had the hair-brained idea to rip out some holly bushes in the front yard for my parents, they were ugly and painful! Of course, what I thought would be an afternoon of work has become a week... We are now replacing the sprinklers and replanting the entire border - all fifty feet of it!! Oh joy! What a geek I am! I shot myself in the foot... we probably won't be leaving until later in the week at this point. Arrgh!!!
Grace has been after Jeff and I to get a dog. She has been diligently researching dogs for the last month on the internet, in books and by interviewing a veterinarian! She has also save her money, done odd jobs for my parents and us, having a little pot worth close to one hundred dollars, which she has vowed to use for the dog. Grace is absolutely intent on a dog, to the point that she has promised to earn the money each month for dog food and medical care. Oh dear, it looks like a dog is in my future!
I hope she finds one that likes chickens! (By the way, that darn chicken still hasn't laid an egg!!)
Oh NO! The motor on the pump for Mom and Dad's pool died this morning... another project for Jeff. We will NEVER get out of here!!! Hmmm, makes you wonder if this is part of God's plan.... arrgh!
Well, we are officially beginning school today. I believe that I will take the kids down to the library to get out of this heat! Dad never put air-conditioning in this house, saying it was only hot a few days each year…. I think all those few days have been while we have been visiting! It is blistering here!
I have wondered why we are still here in Orange County, still here at my parent’s home, still camping in the street in front of my childhood home. Why? Because… that’s why! God has a wonderful purpose for our lives. That much is clear.
I am certain that I don’t know all the reasons why we are still here, with no immediate plans to leave. But I am certain that He has done a marvelous work in me here during this strange summer.
I have found great joy and fulfillment in caring for my family. WHAT??? Was that Christa Gefke talking??? NO WAY…
Staying in one place, a place that is familiar, has given me an opportunity to become immersed in the daily care of my husband, my children and even my parents. I clean house, do laundry, make lunch, teach school, and even… cook dinner!! And funny thing, I am finding a certain amount of satisfaction and joy in these mundane tasks.
My goodness, God is funny!
I have never felt that homemaking is my “fulfillment” in life. I always needed to do something else along with my “house-wifery”. When we lived in Mission Viejo, the something else ranged from helping at Jeff’s business, to the PTA, to volunteer work, my girlfriends, my bible study… anything that took me outside of the house. I was never very good at laundry (always had someone to do that part for me), cooking (not my greatest talent), or childcare.
The whole homemaking thing just kind of bored me.
Then, during our first year of travel, there was the “something else” of just surviving the experience of living in a motor home in such close quarters, learning to submit to Jeff, making new friendships quickly and just as quickly saying goodbye. Then there is the ministry work, meeting new Pastors and their wives, organizing the suppliers, the paperwork… It goes on and on.
I have always thrown myself into anything I can that will take the focus of my life off my role of wife and mother. Anything I can do to add….
Now, none of those things are bad in and of themselves. However, the disdain I felt at the mundane dishwashing and caring for my family… Hmmmmm.
These nine weeks (oh, my gosh has it been that long??? In one place???), have been a trial. I am lonely - no girlfriends to distract me from my family, no new churches to take up my time and energies. I have had to slowly become focused on my children, Jeff and my parents. Daily I have grown in my enjoyment of the role of servant to this family.
Of course, there are those days where I still want to run away screaming!! But they are fewer and further apart!!
I am actually finding that I am fulfilled and satisfied by the care of my family. Oh God, He is so glorious!! Can you believe this???
This last week has been spent in our first few days of homeschooling. It isn’t completely easy or stress-free, but it has been rewarding to help my kids grow their brains. Amazing! In the past when it was school time, I would just shove the work at the kids and run. But this week I have found great satisfaction just sitting with the kids while they study… always available to answer questions and help find solutions.
I have also found that I feel great joy in being able to help Mom and Dad out these last weeks. Truly Jeff is doing all the work (new electrical in the backyard, repairing the sprinkler system, refinishing patio furniture, upgrading their video system). My part has been small, cleaning out closets, cleaning house, supporting Jeff… even so, I feel that I have been involved in the helping here in this home.
For years our parents have helped us. They raised us, they supported us when we first left the nest, they encouraged us in our early years of marriage. These are the things that parents do for their children. My parents were no exception.
Now I have an opportunity to help them. There are so many things that need doing around this house. Yes, Mom and Dad could afford to hire someone to do this things for them, but they don’t. Instead, things just sit and continue to degrade. Just normal wear and tear in a home over thirty years of living.
Jeff and I are in a position to be able to take the time to help Mom and Dad. We have no set schedule, no burning agenda, other than to serve the Lord. Perhaps this is how the Lord is having us serve. I do not know that for certain, however I do know that this chance to serve Mom and Dad gives me great joy.
I believe that there are those that murmur and wonder when we are leaving (truth be told, I was one of them!), are we just living off Mom and Dad. They wonder why we don’t move on. Well, I wondered that as well. But our wonderful Father in heaven has opened my eyes to this wonderment… it is an amazingly great joy to serve... even when you don’t understand why or you are frustrated by the daily grind!
I thank God for this time. I am learning the joy of serving my family. I am finding satisfaction in the gift of time to my children, my husband, my mother and my father.
God is so awesome. And I thank Him for this opportunity to grow and become a better disciple, I thank Him for breaking me of yet another selfish and self-centered aspect of my life. In the breaking we find strength.
Even those petitions and heart’s desire you do not have sense or knowledge to know.
The world is changed.
I can't stop crying today. Raised a flag in front of Mom and Dad's house.
His countenance beholds the upright.
Even though the country has suffered a horrifying act of terrorism, where do my thoughts stray after only one week… back to my little world, my little concerns and worries. Pretty small of me.
We have been in this place now for eleven and a half weeks. That is a long time. I am not sure why our time here has expanded so greatly. Originally we were here for my mother’s birthday celebration, then we had to get our storage organized, then well, it seemed best to wait here until Kurt was done with Boy Scout Camp. So, that takes us through the middle of August.
Since then, Jeff has been working daily to help my Dad get this house in shape. He has fixed sprinkler systems, repaired thirty year old wiring, replaced the pool pump, re-landscaped the front planter, repaired and repaired and repaired. Even one of the neighbors asked him to help her with a little electrical problem.
It has been good for Mom and Dad, blessing to us as well. It feels so good to be able to help them after years of their efforts to raise children and be supportive parents. Nice that we are in a position to be able to do this for the family.
Each time we begin to leave, set a date, start packing the RV, another project rears it’s head. Okay, that’s not so bad, but this has been going on for several weeks. Now we were set to leave today (didn’t happen), so we are heading out tomorrow, to Silverado Canyon - seven miles distant, to help the Calvary Chapel there.
When pressed for a plan or timeline, Jeff doesn’t have much to say. Originally he said it would take five days to get Silverado completed, but he hasn’t ordered the parts. So, even though we are going to go camp in their parking lot, we can’t really do much until the parts arrive.
I am trying desperately to be a submitted wife in all this. Living without a plan (or a constantly changing plan) is a stretch for me, so I try to remember to be supportive and not whine about Jeff’s leadership style. I want so badly to get back on the road.
Part of the problem is that I am so isolated. Jeff doesn’t really need other men or people in his life (kind of typical for a man!). I really need the interaction with other women. While we have been here, I have been essentially hidden away in this house for eleven weeks. My friends in Mission Viejo (our old neighborhood - ten miles distant), have very busy lives. I don’t meet anyone new, as we are always at Mom and Dad’s house.
When we travel, I stave off the loneliness with constantly meeting new and wonderful people. It is a blessing as we travel that we are able to meet so many people.
Anyway, we will probably be here two more weeks at least. I will continue to work out my frustrations here in this journal, rather than on my husband. God has a plan in all this. He doesn’t make mistakes.
OF that I am certain.
I am so grateful for God’s grace. Think about it… I make so many mistakes, errors in judgments and down-right fumbles. And yet, God does not revile me or castigate me for my blunders… He continues to love me with a steadfastness that is beyond my understanding.
How many times have any of us made a mistake or stumbled, and spent hours, days or even years bent under the burden of that error. God still loves us. Even so, despite ourselves, He continues to love us without ceasing, despite ourselves and our foibles.
I have learned this past year of travel, that no matter what, God’s love governs my life. His patient and unending love for me is always there, no matter what I do to be undeserving of that love.
What a great gift.
We received a great email today from a company that would like us to do some survey work for them as we travel through towns and stay at Wal-Marts! This company manufactures jewelry that is sold in Wal-Mart and would like us to stop in and check the displays, interview the sales people and note problems. Wow! What fun. And they want to pay us!!
This will be a great job for the whole family. We can get the kids involved as well as a homeschool project!! Now, all we have to do is get back on the road!! We are just about done with all the projects for my Dad, then we head out to Silverado Canyon to help them with their system, THEN we can head north!!!
Funny, there is a part of me that is really anxious to get back to our life on the road. And yet, my heart aches to leave my Dad alone here again. He is so taken with Eve. Dad lights up in her presence. He is so changed since we first arrived in July. The doors are open, the house has light and he is so optimistic and active! It is a wonderful thing!!
Jeff and Dad have accomplished so much together. They are good friends. And, I know that Dad has helped Jeff deal with some of the issues of just having lost his own father, Norm. It is great to watch my Dad and Jeff together. I am so grateful for this husband that God has given me.
Sometimes our ministry is right in front of our noses. Every Christian has someone in their family that is not a believer. What about that person? How do we witness to them? They know us so well, all our foibles, our mistakes in life. How do we share the Gospel with them in a way they will receive?
How do we convince them?
We don’t. Simple as that!
We let the Lord convict them through our life example. Even the mistakes and poor choices that we have made in the past work to convict our loved ones. How could someone that has messed up so much in their lives have such peace and joy, be so eternally confident?
The answer is so simple.
Nearly everyday Jeff and Dad go to Home Depot to purchase supplies for the various projects on which they are working. Today was no exception. Again, they brought home the missing parts for the day’s job as well as a few extra items for additional projects. It has become a running joke amongst Mom, Dad, Jeff and me. What project are you beginning tomorrow?
It's funny, I don’t want to leave this place because I love my mom and dad. I love that Jeff is helping them so much. I love that my kids are getting to know their grandparents intimately, they aren’t just grandma and grandpa.
However, when we are on the road, I feel that we are moving in God’s will. Here, I know we are ministering to my parents, this seems to be God’s will for us right now.
And, I am learning that submitting is more than just stepping aside from the driver’s seat, it is also waiting on God, seeking His face and His will.
I do know that God is working on me at this juncture. I have a battle within. How to sit in one place patiently awaiting word of my future. How to give up any concern for tomorrow and just wait on the will of God. I have spent my life making plans and machinations for the future. The Lord is showing me now how meaningless that has been.
Ah, but it is so hard to place your life in someone else’s hands. Even if those hands are as wide and safe as the Lord’s. It is just so difficult to set aside my own will and just,
When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Mark 8:34-36
Jeff shared yesterday that we will be leaving here tomorrow for several days in the Silverado Canyon, helping the Calvary Chapel there. I am both excited and nervous.... It is only a few miles away, however. That will work well, as the heat wave that has just hit California is obnoxious! So, if the heat gets too bad (or if we can't plug our air conditioning in at the church), the kids and I can spend the day here with Grandpa and the swimming pool!
I imagine that it will take a week to do the work needed at the church, then perhaps we will be heading north. Who knows? I do know that my best course is to just relax and keep putting it all in the hands of God.
We are not going out to the Canyon, just going to head north... got to get on the road. Jeff is so conflicted about helping out at the Canyon church. I believe his concern is that we don't have the cash to help them, as the equipment they need is not something that we already have or can purchase on their behalf. Our ministry money is gone, used up to purchase equipment for other churches, some of which we will be carrying with us on the roof of the motor home. I guess the only way to help the Silverado Canyon Calvary Chapel is if we have cash. Jeff must feel frustrated right now.
Officially… we are on the road! After exactly three months parked in front of Mom and Dad’s house, we are moving!!! They were three months that I would not replace, as much was accomplished in me by God. My spirit grew... albeit painfully.
We had been driving for about an hour and a half, I turned to my darling husband and asked if he had any thoughts about what we would do at the end of the next year, when we would have completed our two years of travel. He smiled and replied, “Not really, but perhaps we could be ranchers”.
Ranchers? What kind I inquired. He paused and said, “who knows… how about chickens?”
WE FORGOT THE CHICKEN!!!
Yep, we had left our loving chicken in Mom and Dad’s side yard. Good Grief! So, Jeff pulled off the highway and found a side street where we could park. We unhooked the Isuzu and Kurt and I made the now TWO HOUR journey back to Orange County… Traffic was impossible. At eight in the evening the freeway through Los Angeles was Bumper to Bumper.
What a beginning!
After a long and tiring ride back to Mom and Dad’s, we arrived, walked into their house saying, “cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck”! And, that chicken did an amazing thing. After six months, the bird LAID AN EGG!!!
Our chicken is finally laying eggs!! Hallelujah!!
After gathering our prize egg, saying goodbye (again!!) we headed back north, re-joined Jeff and the girls and got back on the road!!! And with our prize egg, and our wonderful chicken, we drove another hour, landing in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart in Oxnard, California.
I got an egg… It’s a good sign!!!
Gefke Family Home Page Photo Gallery Home The Journal