Floridians for Four Months Now

On December 12, 2015 we left Iowa and drove 1400 miles to our new home in Florida. I can’t believe it’s been four months already! It seems like we just got here but the fact is, we are pretty well settled at this point.

Our household of 15 is still functioning pretty normally.  Of course by normal I mean that there have been some rough moments.  The iron sharpening iron concept is alive and well and we’ve had some sparks flying at times.

Over all, I think we have managed pretty well. That’s not to say that there aren’t still many opportunities for lessons in maturity for all of us. I think our biggest challenge has been communication. It seems like most of the issues we have had to deal with have been misunderstandings that could be cleared up by a simple conversation. The reason the conversations don’t happen sooner and avoid the conflict is because of assumptions and expectations that we tend to make. And those assumptions and expectations tend to be birthed out of selfish motives. So, our biggest hurdle to peaceful living is of course, our inability to die to self.

I’ve been praying daily that God would open my eyes to opportunities to serve my family. I have also asked for wisdom so that my words would be received as intended and would build up my family. God has been teaching me to be quiet more and listen more. I have spent more time in prayer in the last 4 months than I have ever done before.  So even though there are still some challenging things about living in a house with this many people, people with very definite opinions about how things should go, I am seeing God bring good from it in my daily life.

There are many times that I have had to surrender my expectations to God when things don’t go as I thought they would. After having my own home for 34 years, it’s hard not to overstep my place and try to make decisions that are now not mine to make. It’s not easy but it is getting easier. At times I feel my anxiety rising because I am being stretched and then I take a deep breath and ask myself,”is this an issue worth fussing about?” The answer is almost always, “no.” It’s not easy to step away and let it go but I keep asking for God’s help and He is faithful.

We have settled into a good church and I have tried to get connected even though it’s hard for me to move outside my comfort zone.  It would be easier to just sit in the back row on Sundays and slip out unnoticed but that isn’t the best way to build community. The thing that makes this a little easier for me is that I’ve already been through it once. I had a great community of friends in Ohio before I moved to Iowa and I saw God do an amazing thing as He built new connections for me in Iowa.  I know that if He did it before, He can do it again. But I can’t stay in my shell and expect anything good to happen. I have to trust Him as I move forward.

It’s still strange to be in Florida. Randy and I still say to each other regularly, “we live in Florida,” like we’re still trying to convince ourselves that it’s real!

I keep thinking of the words God gave to Isaiah.

Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. ( Isaiah 43:19)

God certainly is doing a new thing in the Maxey family. We are all being changed.  The key for me is to remember that even though sometimes it feels like a wilderness and a very dry place, God is working. it’s kind of ironic when I look at how lush and green my surroundings are and how easy it is to get to water! It just proves that things aren’t always as they appear.