Thursday, April 3, 2008

an open door

I forget so easily how stubborn and human I am. Over the past few months and weeks, the Lord has been speaking to me in a quiet whisper. Clear and obvious, but still a gentle whisper. I've felt His Spirit nudging me this way and that, trying to keep me on a path that leads toward something: an open door.

During Christmastime of 2006, the annual Christmas party honoring my dear, precious Memaw, Betty Cox, was held at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. It is an event that has been put together by some of her sewing students' sweet moms, who desire to honor Memaw, and appreciate her influence in their girls' lives. It is always such a sweet and special time. In 2006, I was a full-time student at UTA, and planning my upcoming wedding, so I hadn't been able to peek in on Memaw's weekly lessons but once or twice during the year, so I was unfamiliar with many of the new students. To be honest, I wasn't too excited about the Christmas party. I dressed up, went, and enjoyed fun and fellowship with 50+ girls and their moms. Many of the girls had prepared scripture to recite to Memaw, or musical arrangements to play for her. I think this is her favorite part every year. As I sat next to her, watching her loving eyes well up with tears of thanks for the girls' hard work, I found it difficult to hold back tears of my own. She loves these girls with all her heart...and I'm the luckiest of all...I get to be her granddaughter.

Driving home that night, alone in my little car, I began to feel those whispers from Jesus. He was asking, "What would you think about following in her footsteps?" Well, if you know Memaw, only about 1 billion women want to BE her, so I answered that I would love to prayerfully seek out whether or not that might be an option in the future. Having planned on working as a kindergarten teacher, and gone through school for that purpose, I was a little shocked at this 'heavenly nudge' I was getting.

At that point, I started praying about it. It wasn't a forefront issue, but if it crossed my mind, I prayed for guidance. I spoke to my then-fiance about it, and he began to see my heart for ministering to these young seamstresses as well. After my college graduation in August of 2007, Memaw approached me and asked if I'd be interested in co-teaching the lessons with her for the upcoming year. I didn't have to think twice about working daily with this amazing example, and couldn't wait to jump in and get started. She even let me pick out a few of the craft projects, and facilitate them, which was so much fun!

As with any job, there have been a few ups and downs during the year (mostly ups). I have learned so much! Not just about the art and craft of sewing (and the sometimes extremely difficult task of pattern-reading), but about these girls. I've heard sweet stories about their moms and dads, and their relationships with their siblings. They've said a few things I could never repeat, and a few I've shared over and over with laughter. I love these girls! The Lord has continued to graciously and gently whisper to me about His plans for my future.

You see, when I was very young (probably 4 or 5), I decided that all I wanted to be when I grew up was a wife and mommy. It wasn't even so much that I "decided", it was simply the calling I felt. Growing up, I never felt that many people understood my passion for it. Some girls I met wanted to "stay home when their kids were young", or "work, but just part-time". It was a non-negotiable for me. I'm staying home with my kids. God told me to. That's it. Period. And no desire I've ever felt in my life could compare with my passion about one day taking care of my own home and family. When I was a teenager, I began to pray that God would bring that to pass. That He would give me a Godly husband who would desire that I stay home with our kids. He did just that. I kept praying.

To make a long story longer (sorry!), as Memaw and I have talked about the future of her God-given business, we've seen that it looks like a change is on the horizon. To be honest, I've questioned God in this, wondering, "What? I thought I prayed to stay home. I thought I asked for you to give me a family to care for, and to stay home and care for them. That's what I prayed, right?" Only over the past week have I finally heard - in my heart - His answer to that question.

"Yes, Tori. That's what you prayed. This is how I am answering you: This is your way to get the deepest desire of your heart. This is how I will provide for you to stay home, raise your own children, and keep your house. I'm giving you exactly what you asked of me. Now walk through this door I've opened so clearly before you. Go ahead, go through that open door. You do not have to know exactly what will happen down the road, or what the parents will say, or even where you will hold these lessons. Just keep listening to my direction, and I will lead you."


I keep asking, "But Lord, what about ____________?" And He continues to answer, "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Just keep walking."

I covet your prayers for me and Adam as we prayerfully consider all of these upcoming changes. And for sweet Memaw as well. I am finally in a place of trusting Him with this, and I'm excited to see what the next few weeks and months will hold!
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Krista Sanders said...

How sweet! I love that you wrote about this. What a gift you are to your sweet grandmother and what a gift you are to us because of who you are and how you love our girls.
LOVE your blog. You young gals know how to do all the neat stuff! You may have to tutor me on my blog page! ; )

nikki said...

i am so glad to be ablt to read your blog!! atlee has loved spending time with you! i will be excited to see what the future holds for you.

Jessica said... neat Tori! Sounds like God has been teaching you a lot lately. What an exciting time for you! And what an awesome God you serve! Keep trusting and Adam are in my prayers.

Courtney said...

I was thrilled to read how God has been working in your heart on this. I've wondered where you and Memaw were headed as God lead you toward future decisions. Please know that I will be praying for both of you! I know those are big shoes to fill but Memaw has never filled them alone and neither will you. The Presence of Christ in her home was always the key ingredient and He is readily available wherever He takes you in the future! I'm always here if you need support in any part of this endeavor!!! Who knows? Maybe one of these days my little Kailey will be saying her little Scripture to YOU at the Christmas party in your honor! Wow, the years fly!

Hayley McCarthy said...

Go Tori!! I was reading someone's blog on your site that was talking about your Memaw and I started crying...haha.

We'll send our kids to learn from you and I'll probably come along to. It's so cool that you are doing this and are being obedient to what God said!