A whole lot is going on in the lives of the Kertson family, to say the least. We are finding ourselves between jobs, between houses, between cities, between schools....we are in transition. We are not really sure where we are going and what the future holds, so life is a bit scary and confusing at the moment. I had the oportunity a few weeks back to go with the youth group from our church to a place called Gleanings for the Hungry. Gleanings is a ministry founded under Youth with a Mission (YWAM). It is a base that makes dried soup mix and dried fruit and sends it by the truck loads to third world countries. It is an amazing ministry that not only feeds the hungry but feeds the spiritually hungry too. It's hard to explain the feeling you get when you step onto the base but you get a sense that you are surrounded by angels and that something so much bigger then yourself undeniably exists. You go there to work but you leave there blessed and nothing less happened to me this time. I arrived at Gleanings with a heavy heart, my families transition understandably on my mind, as with any move there is always sadness. I was morning the fact that in a few short weeks we would be moving away from a city that we love and have called home for the past four years and we would be leaving behind dear friends who have been like family to us when we had no family close by. The mom side of me was aching for my children knowing that this move was going to be hard on them. Peyton will more then likely be changing kindergardens in the middle of the school year and I know that this will be hard on her sensitive spirit and Amber will be moving from the only place she has ever called home. I felt the burden of wanting to protect them from any heartache but also knowing full well that sometimes heartache builds character and struggling with how to balance the two. So I came to Gleanings with a lot on my mind. I remember not being able to sleep the first night and spending most of the night in prayer crying out to God saying "How could you let this happen,don't you care about my dreams. Don't you see I had plans????" and ever so sweetly I felt the Holy Spirit whisper "yes, but my dreams are bigger then your dreams and my plans are better then your plans" I remember feeling a bit of a break through that night but still wrestling with my feelings as the week went on. As the days passed we shared some wonderful and meaningful moments with the youth from our church and they inspired me as I watched them work long hours with happy hearts. My own young children were even able to help in the process of drying peaches and we were able to have conversations about the poor and the hungry and how we were helping them and I could tell they were understanding and taking their job seriously and that blessed me so much. It was so nice to be able to get away and forget about the fears and unknowns that waited for me at home and for the first time in a long time I was at peace. On Thursday night we were told that in the morning there would be an open mic time of sharing about what went on in our hearts during the week. I immediately felt the holy spirit nudge me "you are going to share your story!" I began to argue "why would I do that... I am still mad, I am still sad... I mean I guess I have a tiny bit more peace but nothing to shout from the roof tops about!"... again a gentle nudge... "trust me, share your story!" so that morning out of sheer obedience I shared with the camp my story, about the transition my family was about to go through and the sadness that I had been dealing with all week. Nothing to profound or extrodanary but It was true it was my heart. When I was finished a lady who works on staff for Gleanings come up to the mic and looked me in the eyes and through tears she said these words that I will never forget: "I saw you on the first day of camp and I felt the Lord spoke to me and said... See her, she is my child and she is in pain... So for the rest of the week I have been praying for you everyday!"
wow! Wow! That moment will probably go down as one of the most life changing moments of my life. My amazement wasn't so much in the fact that the Lord spoke to her about me or that she had been praying for me all week and I didn't even know it, what was so life changing to me was the words that the Lord actually spoke: "SHE IS MY CHILD AND SHE IS IN PAIN" Hearing those words was the first time I really believed that God was seeing me in my pain. Every doubt, every question, every tear, every sleepless night, he saw it, he was there the whole time!!! It's hard to describe what happened the rest of the day but I received an out pouring of encouragement from perfect strangers that found themselves in my shoes and could relate. I heard story after story of the faithfulness of God through trials and the beauty that comes from walking in faith even when you don't understand where it is leading. I left Gleanings feeling like I had just been hugged by God and it was just what I needed to face the trials ahead.
So for a Kertson family update we are scheduled to move out of Santa Cruz the beginning of August. We are in the process of looking at working as College Campus Missionaries for an organization called ChiAlpha. We will be taking 6 months to live with family and friends to raise the support we need to start our ministry. We are excited about where God is taking us and know that he has a plan that is bigger and better then anything we could ever come up with. Brandon and I were called into full time ministry early on in our teen years and perhaps all these years He has been preparing us for this very moment that we will have to step out in faith and trust that God is going to use us for His glory and nothing could be more exciting or fulfilling. Thank you for those of you who are praying for us....we feel your prayers and because of them we are at peace. Thank you to those who are opening their homes and their time to help us out during this transition I trust you will be blessed for your sacrifice and for those who feel sadness about our move (I know our youth group kids are struggling with this transition as well) just know that God sees you and his plans are bigger and better then you even know!