Monday, October 2, 2017

All the Way

It is never boring when you follow Christ.  Michael and I have learned this well, but now God is passing those lessons down to our children.  Alex is the recipient of this most recent lesson, and man, is she blessed!

Alex has been at Heritage High School for the past three years and was looking forward to completing her senior year at her beloved school with her friends.  She is a student who is loved by her teachers and other staff members; she is kind and loving to underclassmen even taking some under her wing to mentor them; she thrives in her choral program and is a blessing to her choir teacher keeping her classroom organized and working with younger singers to help teach them; she was about to launch into the theater program and get her feet wet in the world of drama.

But all this came to a screeching halt September 18th.  We had moved outside of Heritage's district, which is a highly coveted district in this area.  She was told she could stay for her senior year, but only if we paid tuition.  We were very willing to do so, but the cost would be $4500 and had to be paid in full that week.  Alex's principal and counselors fought for her in front of the school board and superintendent to allow us an extension to pay the exuberant fee, but they denied that request, so she had to leave her beloved school and all her hopes and dreams for her senior year behind.  It was kind of like running full force into a glass wall and hearing the glass shatter around you.  She was absolutely broken.

God, in His infinite wisdom and care for His children, was not caught by surprise at this turn of events.  Remember her last day was on September 18? Well, on September 19th was the mandatory meeting for seniors and their families to graduate with our Christian homeschool association, Lighthouse.  They were so full of grace to allow her in to graduate with them and made her instantly feel a part of their group. Perfect timing!

We have been focusing on all the good things about this transition, even though it wasn't her first choice.  God's ways are higher and better and He wants nothing but GOOD for us!  Even in the times when it doesn't feel so good.  Alex is finally at peace with the situation and knows it is all for God's glory, even though some days are still hard.  We are battling isolation at this point as she feels alone most days because she is a highly social person!  But her choral teacher has allowed her to come visit her frequently at school and is allowing her some benefits of still feeling a part of her choir program.

Through this trial, as He always does, God is drawing Alex closer and closer to Him.  In church a few weeks ago we sang an old hymn modernized by Chris Tomlin, "All the Way My Savior Leads". I watched Alex stand there with tears streaming down her face as she felt the absolute love of her Father in the words of that old hymn written by Fanny Crosby in 1875.  God's love reaches through the generations!

"All the way my savior leads me, what have I to ask beside?
How could I doubt his tender mercy?  Who through life has been my guide.
All the way my savior leads me, and cheers each winding path I tread?
Gives me grace for every trial, feeds me with the living bread.
You lead me.  And keep me from falling.
You carry me close to your heart.
And surely Your goodness and mercy will follow me."  ~Chris Tomlin's version of the hymn

This song comes to mind almost daily as I pray for my daughter and for God to continue to work His goodness in her life.  A sweet friend of mine who frequently checks on Alex (even though she's never even met her) sent me a message today with the words of this hymn and told me to listen to it.
Now if that's not GOODNESS and MERCY then I don't know what is. God is real. God speaks when you open your heart to listen.  He cares about every little detail of our lives.

My daughter won't have the senior year she was anticipating, but God has something so much better in store for her.  I'm so excited that I have ringside seats this year to watch it unfold!  And as my small group leader Bill Lewis said in his teaching of Psalm 23...our sheepdogs, Goodness and Mercy, will be following us all the days of our lives.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Where to begin?!  It's gonna be long, so brace yourselves!

Seven years ago, the Corsar family embarked on a grand adventure. We laid everything down at the feet of Jesus and agreed to follow in obedience wherever He might lead.  Michael got out of the Air Force and God began doing the most amazing things.  Feel free to read blog post after blog post dating back to when it all began if you are not familiar with our journey.  I used to like to write these blogs to shock people and make them surprised at what God is capable of.  Now, it's pretty much just how it is, and it's the coolest thing ever, but I don't use it for shock value anymore.  I use it to glorify the greatness of our God!  Because everything is life is for His glory ALONE!

So you must understand first and foremost, this particular post is not to boast in any way about any Corsar.  It is to boast in the amazing love of a Father who likes to give good gifts to His children and Who blesses those who bless Him.

In 2013, God called Michael to "Go." That particular "go" meant go to seminary.  That was the original calling.  So, we dropped it all when He led us to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC.  Of course, our human mindedness pops in and tries to figure out what God must have next for us.  "Well, if we are at seminary, it must mean he is to work in church ministry".  Nope. "Well, we are almost done with seminary, so we must need to start looking for jobs in other places because we are not FROM North Carolina, so surely God will move us closer to our family." Nope. The questions come in droves from everyone with human minds like us wanting to know the next step. "What are you going to do after you graduate?  A Masters of Divinity in Theology, what are you going to do with that?"

All those questions made us think we really needed to be "doing" something.  After God closed the door of church ministry on us, we still prayed for what was next.  That was when God led Michael to lead a company called Majestic Marble and Glass where he is literally thriving and using his God given gifts in the most amazing way!  He has found his ministry.

It was at this point we decided this must be where God is choosing to plant us for now. Making extra money, we figured we would move out of our tiny rent house and see what we could purchase.  I really didn't want to start looking at real estate because it really wears you out as there are SO many houses to choose from in this area.  Michael would look online every night and see if he could find any homes that stuck out to him. We had a budget of what we could afford, but he sometimes likes to look at what else is out there. So, before we got really serious into this home process, we prayed that if this was out of God's will, to immediately slam the doors shut in our face. And we meant hard...slam it hard...don't keep us wondering.

So, even though we had a budget, there was a super amazing house that caught Michael's eye and he called up our realtor and just asked if we could go look at it.  It was a custom built home with top of the line EVERYTHING in it.  It was valued at $500,000.  Totally out of our budget, but we thought it would just be fun to look at.

Now time for a side note: God has given us a strong desire for some sort of a "hospitality ministry". The details of that are not yet clear, but it would entail hosting students from Ukraine where Alex and Michael have a strong passion to serve, hosting missionaries on furlough from the mission field, hosting Seminary students who need a bed for a weekend class...the possibilities are endless.

As we were looking at this half a million dollar home, God flooded our minds with hospitality ideas. The basement is perfect, once finished, to make those ideas a reality. There was the most amazing peace while we literally drooled over the intricacies of this home. Alex and Evan immediately claimed their rooms, started talking about where they would put things, and from that point forward called it "our house". This was before Christmas and we were in NO rush to find a house through the holidays.

After Christmas, our realtor said the seller's realtor had been calling wanting to gauge our interest as we were the only people who had come to see the house that had been on the market for 60 days. At that point, we realized this was a possible open door, so we prayed heavily for God to slam it, and proceeded to walk through it.

A set of custom homes by an amazing builder had been built on a golf course. After about 14 of those homes were built, the builder pulled out and a "not-as-amazing builder" came in and bought the subdivision building homes that were non comparable. Due to this unfortunate practice, the prices of the custom homes were not able to hold their value.  Therefore, this $500,000 home was being sold for $400,000. Well, unfortunately $400,000 is still out of our price range, so we considered this a closed door.  Our realtor encouraged us to offer what we could and see if they would take it. So we prayerfully offered our absolute top dollar of $350,000.





And guess what?!  They accepted it!

They accepted it, y'all!!  If I could post a picture of our absolute STUNNED faces, I would. 

God has since placed a retired carpenter in our paths who is dying to help us finish the basement so our ministry can begin! If that doesn't tell you God is good, then I don't know what would get through to you.

Now...God is not good because He gave us a $500,000 home for a fraction of the cost.  God is good simply because He is good.  His Goodness comes in many ways! He has been good to us even when we couldn't afford to put food on the table. He has been good to us when our power got shut off a few years ago.  He has been good when my husband with a Masters degree was washing windows and selling mattresses to support his family. He has been good in putting Michael in the career path He had chosen for him before we even knew we would come to NC. He has been good even when we were doing what we thought He wanted us to do. We are living in the blessings of obedience. My small home was a blessing and will still be a blessing, but now my larger home can help us to bless others as well!

Michael, Becky, Alex and Evan have done NOTHING to deserve this blessing.  This is NOTHING of us. We are simply following orders and walking on the path God has set before us.

I told you it would be long, but that's about it. We started our journey, which has been a trial period, in February 2010. Seven years later (a number of completion) on March 1, 2017, we truly feel redeemed.  We feel we've "passed" and maybe have reached the Summit. There is even a crazy rain storm headed this way which symbolizes renewal and rebirth, according to my literature loving daughter. The lesson has been the journey, but now we are super excited to see where this particular path will lead!

Thanks for traveling with us!




Thursday, December 8, 2016

Where we are. 2016 Edition.

2016 has been a whirlwind year!  Here on the east coast we are prevalent to hurricanes, so maybe it's been more like being in a hurricane than a whirlwind...but nonetheless.

Year 3 of seminary. Michael will be done either Spring of 2017 or will slow roll a few more classes until December of 2017. He's not in a rush, just obediently wants to finish. God called him to "go to school." That was the extent of the call. We have been listening, cleaning our ears out when we think maybe we've gone deaf, seeking, searching for God's call for the 3 years we've been here.  But every time the answer is just "go and stay focused on school." Michael will tell you that he's learned more about God in these 3 years than in his whole life combined. And not just book learning in classrooms at seminary, but learning through living a life walking in obedience will teach you a thing or two about your Savior as well.

We've learned that theology is hard. There are some hard truths that are just that....hard. Living for God is not easy, either. Sometimes people haven't understood why we would "choose" to live this way. Sacrificing, being uncomfortable, laying down that stubborn pride, putting God over things in life that would be much more fun or socially acceptable. We live in a really small house because we can afford it, we have at times lived on only pasta and PB &J, we've had to rely on our parents and others to help us with certain financial needs, we've had our power shut off (though only briefly as the paycheck came as soon as the power got shut off), Michael has worked some extremely odd jobs to make ends meet, we've had some hard trials to muddle through.

Michael has worked at our church for 2 of the 3 years we've lived in NC. God recently made it clear that wasn't where we were supposed to be right now. "Go to school" was the original call. We always try to step in and make things happen because we "think" that's what God is wanting. Instead of waiting patiently for Him to reveal it to us. So Michael stepped back from ministry in that venue to focus on school. Scary time for us because we have bills to pay. But, obedience.

(Okay, put on your seatbelt because this is where the hurricane starts sweeping us away! )...

Michael calls up a godly man in our small group named Danny.  He just wants to talk to Danny and glean wisdom on how to deal with the way things are going in our life.  They meet for chips and sweet tea at Moes. Danny asks Michael about past experiences he has in the work force, the Air Force, education, etc. As they are talking, Danny pulls out his phone and starts texting. "Man, that's rude" Michael thought, but "hey, he's a busy guy". After a few minutes of texting in between talking, Danny asks Michael if he's free for an interview the next day. Danny had been texting his business partner to tell him God has answered their prayers. Danny goes on to tell Michael that his company, Majestic Marble and Glass, has been looking for a guy with Michael's EXACT qualifications to lead a division in their company through structural and process change. (Michael has a Masters degree in Operations Management from University of Arkansas, by the way, which was what launched him into the Air Force before his call to ministry) They haven't only been "looking" for this perfect guy, they've been earnestly praying for God to bring this guy to them. Michael reiterates that he's finishing up seminary and that has to be his first priority right now, which Danny wholeheartedly agrees to. "You can work for me in between classes and just do your job when it is best suits your schedule."

Interview goes great, he's hired on the spot making double what he had been making the 3 years we've been in NC. A little room to wiggle and breathe and get out of these life preservers that's just keeping our heads above water?! WHY, YES! The timing of the pay increase went along perfectly with some other things God has placed on our hearts to start looking into. God's provisions for ministry that He has placed on our hearts. As my cousin, Schanon, once said, "If something is God's will, then it's also His bill."

Michael has now been working at Majestic Marble and Glass for the past few months. He loves everyone he works with and they all absolutely love him back. He is a gifted leader and he is leading well.  His job was to find waste in the company and scale that back so overhead wasn't so high. He was able to find hundreds of thousands of dollars being wasted that he saved the company. Michael is also a relationship guy and loves people deeply. His love is across the board for the lowest paid employee to the highest. Now he's doing ministry in a whole new way! The owner of this division has a son who has grown to dearly love Michael like a brother. Within the past few weeks, the owner has been talking with Michael about taking over this division of the company. He had been praying for a man of God to walk alongside his son to mentor him in the business world, help him with relationships, and teach him to be a good leader. The son will own the business, but Michael will run it and work alongside the son to teach him and mentor him. This has now raised his income to over three times what we started off with when we moved to seminary.

Money is now available to us to help those in need who God shows us to help, to go on mission, to finish paying for school because his GI bill runs out after this semester, to give, and to start putting away for the ministry that God has laid on our hearts. After years of having little, God has blessed us with more than we deserve.

My small group leader said in class last week, "God doesn't always pull us out of the water and the waves, sometimes He just swims alongside us." We have been swimming with God and His presence since we started this journey of obedience in 2010. For the time being, He has pulled us out of the waves, but we are fully prepared to go back in at any time that He wants us to.

If you know the Corsars, you know I do not write this blog to brag. That is the farthest notion. I write it to show the goodness of our God...in want and in plenty. The faithfulness of God...in trial or ease. The provisions of God. The legacy of the family I was born into is Jehovah Jireh, the God Who Provides, and He has shown Himself to be that to our family time and time again.

This portion of our journey is one I am SO excited to start. We thought we'd soon be leaving Raleigh, NC, but it looks like we'll be staying for a while. God has work for us to do on His earth right here for now. And our heart for Ukraine has been pricked, so we are excited to see what God does with that!  So many doors are being propped open for us to walk through.

"Go to school. Learn obedience. Walk with God." That's where we are. We cherish everyone who has supported us, prayed for us, listened to us, and disciplined us. The family of God is GREAT!


"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He cares about every little detail of their lives." 
~Psalm 37:23

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Edge of 17

This girl. I love snapping candid photos of her when she can't be "posed". To me, it shows her absolute, natural beauty.

I was picking her up from McDonald's after her school's homecoming dance. She and her date had danced until they were exhausted and had walked over to McDonald's to get fries and milkshakes and rest their tired feet. Her sparkly high heels are a signature Alex piece, but may not be great dancing shoes.  :)

I text her to tell her I'm here to pick them up.  Her boyfriend goes in to the bathroom so she's standing there waiting for him when I pull into a parking spot.  It was at this exact moment, the song by Big Daddy Weave "My Story" begins to play. As I watch her sweet innocence standing there listening to these lyrics, tears begin to flow down my cheeks.

This girl, in her sparkly pink dress holding her sparkly, glittery high heels...is a warrior. She's been through so much and had so many things knock the wind out of her, but she gets up gracefully each time, learns a hard, life lesson, straightens her crown and moves forward. In her life, things don't come easily for her. It's her story to tell, and I've shared it on my blog in the past. The things she's overcome in the past 3 years have been truly inspiring and amazing.

So as I hear the words of the song play, "If I told you my story, you would hear hope that wouldn't let go. You would hear love that never gave up." The story you would hear is the story of how Jesus chose her, saved her, pulled her from the pit, set her feet on steady ground. And what a story it is! My favorite line as I sat there watching her was "If I told you my story, you would hear victory over the enemy. You would hear life overcome the grave!" AND WHERE MERCY WINS.

She's a warrior because she is winning her battle. Mercy has won.

She turns 17 this weekend. Her life is an absolute light in darkness. She has learned to trust God even when He makes no sense. No one can ever believe she's only 17 because of her maturity. I can't even express in mere words how proud I am of her. As amazing as she is, she has never won a Student of the Month award. As amazing a singer as she is, she rarely gets chosen and she waits patiently in the wings for God to give her a platform for her gift. But grace and mercy win. Her character matters more than any awards or auditions.

Happy Birthday, my sparkly, glittery warrior. I sit in awe of you. And I want to be like you when I grow up.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Ocean Epiphany


Our family took a little break by the ocean. It was nice to just sit there and watch the ocean in all its vastness, listen to the peaceful crashing waves, watch the seagulls soar through the air.

My husband and my daughter are very adventurous.  They swim out pretty far in the waters.  My son and I are not too adventurous and prefer to sit by the shore and just wade out a little bit.  For some reason we both have this fear of things touching us in the water and Evan has a deep fear of sharks.  He used to be obsessed with them as a child and read all kinds of books about them, so his fears aren't too unfounded.  He does know the research that shark bites are pretty rare, but the possibility still scares him.

So Alex and a friend were swimming out pretty far catching waves on their boogie boards.  Laughing and splashing and having much fun.  I sat on the shore and watched Evan holding tight to his boogie board standing with the water barely above his knees, fearful to walk out as far as they were.  Michael and I watched him for about 20 minutes as he stood paralyzed with fear to join them.

It made my heart so sad to see him afraid.  Michael finally got up and walked out to him and stood next to him with his arm around him watching the others play.  Then Michael slowly nudged Evan on his back pushing him out a little further.  He was eventually on his dad's back out as far as the others playing in the waves and having fun.  He wouldn't let Michael leave his side, and as long as his dad was with him, he was brave.

At that moment, this phrase in the Hillsong song "Oceans" came to mind: "Your grace abounds in deepest waters, Your Sovereign hand will be my guide.  Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me, You've never failed and You won't start now."

I then thought about how many times I've stood paralyzed with the fear of the unknown.  Standing there watching others be courageous and brave and adventurous while I stand aside too afraid to move forward.  Then my heavenly Father puts His arms around me and slowly nudges me in the direction where He intends for me to go.  He is the one who gives me courage and moves me along.  And He NEVER leaves my side.

The ocean is such a cathartic experience.  It was literally "church" for me every day we sat there.  As I thought about how God's love for me is "more than the drops in the ocean", a fabulous song by Hawk Nelson.  Every time we hit an "unknown" in our life...which seems to be a lot...I know God is right there with us.  The unknown used to scare the life out of us, but it's getting easier.  I guess that means we are growing.  God knows everything (1 John 3:20) and nothing is "unknown" to Him, so therefore, nothing is unknown to me.

What a perfect visual picture seared into my mind as we are called out onto the waters.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Permanence

When I start to struggle with something, God always gives me a word.  I will hear it once and it will grab my attention.  Then I will hear it in the most unlikely places.  It's then that I start to perk up and really start meditating on it and try to figure out what God is trying to cement in my heart.

The word recently is "Permanence". If you are a follower of my blogs, you know I struggle with not being really rooted in any one place physically.  I grew up in one house my whole childhood.  After I married Michael, that would no longer be the case.  Let me give you a snapshot here:  We were married 5 years before having our sweet Alex.  In those 5 years, we lived in 3 different places in college, then 3 more places before we had Alex.  Alex lived in 3 different places before her brother was born.  After Evan, we lived between my parents' house and Michael's training dorm for about 5 months. Then 6 more places after that.  Lost count yet?  That's 17 different domiciles in our 22 years of marriage.  5 states in all.  And seriously, we're not finished.  I thought we were finished in North Dakota and could settle down for good there, but God had other plans for us. For this is the life God has called us to, and we've surrendered.

I have always made a pun of the verse Philippians 4:11, "I have learned in whatever STATE I am in to be content." That was always my joke when we moved to another state.

PERMANENCE. It first tickled my ears in a sermon a few weeks ago in John 16. A sermon about joy and how joy is rooted in permanence...unlike happiness which can be fleeting. That took me to Colossians 2:7, "Therefore, let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him." There are so many verses about being "rooted" in Christ and letting the roots grow deep. Roots sound pretty permanent. Soon after that sermon and that word pierced my heart, it showed up again in my devotional.  The word "permanency" is not really a word that is thrown around a lot, so it grabbed me to see it again.  "Our relationship with the Lord is one of permanency..." (The Devotions of Charles Spurgeon).

The lyric in the old hymn that most grabs my heart, "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above." Another nod to permanency.

Lastly is a song I'll be singing with our choir called, "My Anchor". Anchors cause permanency...and seem to help things that try to wander. My favorite line in the song is "I hold on to You, and You hold on to me."

My permanency is in the person of Jesus Christ.  I am not of this world, so my home will never be here.  My physical address is in the heavens, and I can't wait to get home!

We have no clue where God will send us next. It may be right where we are, it may be overseas, it may be literally anywhere.  We have given Him a blank check, so it's up to Him where He needs us. But I have found permanence. Forever.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Milking It

My prayer for my husband and daughter in Ukraine was for God to show them great and miraculous things!  And did He come through!

I haven't been able to talk to Alex much, so I don't yet know things from her perspective. But I have talked to Michael and he has told me about the amazing ways in which God has moved this week.

If you follow me on Facebook, you heard me teasing about the local farmer whom he talked to and had been invited to come milk his cows. Picturing Michael milking cows was an incredibly funny picture in my mind.  Michael is a city boy, a pretty boy, not one to get dirty really.  Michael spent his week really getting to know the farmer next to the teen camp.  Trying cows milk for the first time straight from the cow, eating the cheese the farmer made, and one morning at the crack of dawn getting up and getting a milking lesson.  The morning he was to get up he texted me and said, "I really don't want to get up this early and milk a cow." My response was, "Hey, this could be a gospel opportunity."

Last night at camp was the last night of preaching and the last time the Gospel would be shared.  The Word of how a loving God loved the people He created so much that He couldn't stand to lose them to their sin so He sent His only Son to die for them, to cancel their sins so they could reside with Him in Heaven instead of going to Hell and paying the ultimate price for their disobedience. Guess who "randomly" decided to show up to camp church service that night?  The farmer and his wife.

So on top of 3 teens, that the Ukraine mission team had been pouring into all week and building relationships with, who came to Christ last night....so did the farmer and his wife.  The reason why is what I want you to focus on.

The farmer had been hearing bits and pieces of the Word from the camp for the past 8 years.  He had told the Ukrainian pastor of the camp that Michael was the first American to ever speak to him about his farm and take an interest in him as a man.  Drinking his milk, eating his cheese, milking his cow.  He was impressed that an American pastor would get his hands dirty.  So that drove him to come check out Michael's "job" at the camp.  After hearing the gospel, he said he had never heard of God's love for him and that Jesus would care to die for him.

Relationships.  The key component to the gospel.

One of our concepts we remember while parenting is "Rules without relationship equals rebellion.  Rules with relationship equals obedience." The key to that concept is RELATIONSHIP.  When someone has a relationship with you, they listen to you.

Michael is a relationship guy.  If that is a spiritual gift, he is overflowing with it. I love how God used his gift and the way He created Michael to bring a farmer to Christ.  We were all created for "such a time as this." And sometimes we may have to take an interest in things that take us out of our comfort zone in order to do so.

How are you using your gifts to glorify God and bring others to His Kingdom?