Sunday, December 18, 2016

Seasons of Change

One of the things we have grown to love about living in WV is the changing of seasons.  Being a Florida girl all my life, I have always only known one season- HOT!  When we first moved here, winter was coming to a close.  There was a slight dusting of snow on the ground, but warmer, greener days soon followed.  Spring brought so many wild animals and their babies.  That was so cool for us to see baby deer just walking along the side of the road.  Summer came and went, and then my favorite, fall, arrived.  Fall has been my favorite season here in WV by far.  The beautiful, colorful leaves transport you to a different world.  The crisp air and small town festivals create memories that will last a lifetime.  Now, we are headed straight into our first real winter.  We are all so excited, although the locals always warn our excitement will be short-lived.

Seasons come with mixed emotions.  You find yourself excited for the new season to begin.  A new  season means new adventures, new experiences, and a fresh start.  But it also means that you leave behind the passing season with only lessons learned and memories made.  I know for me, I am always a little excited mixed with a little sadness because I know it will be several seasons more before I'm back to where I'm at. 

This is where our family is in ministry.  When we moved up here in February, we were sad to close a chapter at home in Florida, but oh so excited for a new beginning.  We had prayed for so long for God to show us where He wanted us and what He wanted us to do.  We came up here with so much confidence, with absolutely no doubt we were smack dab in the middle of His will for us.  This past year, we have worked tirelessly to build a ministry at Eagle Ranch.  We saw God move huge mountains.  We raised almost $80,000, oversaw the building of a bunk house, kitchen, and bath house, hosted mission teams, held events, and saw people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  These last few months, God has steered  the board at Eagle Ranch and the Vaughn family in two different directions.  After much prayer, Rob and I resigned from this ministry.  This was a tough decision, but God has been in it from the start.  If I'm being honest, it is hard to walk away from something that you have poured your heart and soul into.  Our entire family has sacrificed for us to be here and work in this ministry.  But it has not been in vain.  While our hearts are heavy, we know that we are right where God intends for us to be in this next season.  My flesh can begin to worry that people will see us as a failure.  But I know that God doesn't make mistakes, and He has a plan.  We, personally, cannot make decisions for other people, and we have to be obedient to the Lord.  For a moment, I might have felt like we made a huge mistake by coming up here.  But now I look back at the stepping stone Eagle Ranch has been for us.  Not only have we learned SOOOOOOO much, but we have gained a daughter.  Foster/adoption was not in any of our plans, but it was definitely in the Savior's plans.  We have been incredibly blessed by the addition of Zoe to our family.  It has been amazing to watch our family open their hearts to this precious young lady; to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  We have also been so blessed to have Holly as a part of our family here.  She has been a huge help to us, and there are no words to say what a blessing she is to us.  We have been blessed with a home with the most wonderful neighbors, who we call family.  God has used them to fill a huge void in our lives.  My kids walk up the hill, stay the night (several nights a week), we eat family dinners together, and most of all, they love us in all of our craziness.  God is truly soooooo incredibly good to us.

So what is next for us?  We are currently closing out the year with Eagle Ranch to help with tax forms and such.  God is opening a few doors right here in WV, and we are patiently waiting for His direction.  We had a promising meeting last week, and we hope to have more concrete details after the first of the year.  In the mean time, we have been asked to take over the teen class at our church and build a youth program.  We are so super excited about that!  We will also continue to do mission work as the opportunities arise, and love all of those around us like Jesus loves us.  For those of you who have supported us through Eagle Ranch, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  If you would like to continue to support us in our ministry, Sardis Baptist Church is handling all of our mission support.  They are an amazing church family that is a tremendous blessing and encouragement to us.

If you are one of our FL friends and family, we will be heading home Tuesday to spend Christmas and New Years with our families.  I am looking forward to some much needed time to refresh and remember why we do what we do. 

I keep going back to this passage, and remembering that God knows this season.  He even knows what is going to happen in the next.  I am choosing to rest in His presence and His peace, and our hearts desire is that He will be honored and glorified in all that we say and do.

Ecclesiastes 3King James Version (KJV)
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Are you in a tough season of life?  Do you know who holds your tomorrow?  This Christmas, the best gift you could give yourself is to accept the gift of salvation.  This gift was paid for, in full, on the cross by Jesus Christ.  He loves you so much that He gave His life for you.  When the seasons get tough, He is tougher.  He wants you this Christmas.  He wants you to have JOY, PEACE, and most of all, He wants to give you the gift of everlasting life in heaven with him.

1 Corinthians 15: 3-4
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 


Terrie Bee said...

Love you all, and are blessed to call you our friends! God is good!

Lee said...

Merry Christmas! You and your kids all look great! God got you to WV to find a daughter you didn't know you had. :). Will you be keeping the ranch property, or is it being taken over by someone else to be used as a camp?

Mary Page Ellis said...

Sara Beth, I just read this message and am saddened that things have not worked out at ER. I know that you all loved that place and were looking forward to doing God's work there. I also know that you two did not take this change lightly and I'm sure that your prayers did not go unheard. If God intends for you to stay in WV, he WiLL find a way to make it happpen...We will continue to pray for your ministry and for God's guidance in your lives. We love you!

Haven-Reighn Spears-Kutil said...

Miss you guys every day I can't see you, love ya guys too!!