The start of this hot month of August marked a new beginning for us. If you know us and the wildly adventurous story God has been writing in our lives, you know we have been apart of a lot of new beginnings. It’s been a steady pattern in our life. A sort of rhythm. As we watched many others put their roots down deep in the soil, we had the privilege of planting seeds in various places for 12 years. It was amidst these years that we toiled in sunshine and rain – barren land and plenteous. One summer evening as we were meeting with some dear, wise friends who have known us and counseled us for the past 10 years – their glimmering crowns of silver hair atop their heads, they listened intently as they always did as we recounted the various seeds the Lord had graciously planted through our years of ministry. They looked at us in their ever-loving, gentle way, and in similar words, said, “It seems like this has been a beautiful pattern in your lives, we believe God is calling you to this next thing. You need to follow Him.” We sat for a moment with an oddly terrifying but joyful excitement welling up within as The Lord used that moment to affirm the heart-desire we didn’t even know was deep within over the past year. We had convinced ourselves in prior months that God was done asking us to be apart of new things. We were done asking people to be apart of our team. We were ready to trade those years in for something easier – if ministry could ever be “easy.” Some say God has a sense of humor, I think He laughed right then and there.
“The most glorious reason you exist is for the proclamation of the glory of God to the ends of the world. And it’s more than having a nice life.” (David Platt)
We hugged our precious friends goodbye, knowing that this would be the end of our regular time together with them. We would walk forward with courage, again, to a new place and a new people because we were reminded that night that there is much more to this world than having a nice life. We exist for something deeper. And for the Figgins family, this meant being willing AGAIN to take our Lord by His hand and journey on.
We couldn’t be more thrilled that we did – and that so many of YOU decided to stay on the journey with us. We now walk the soil of Lexington, South Carolina learning the culture, meeting the people and experiencing the play-ground of this mini-city that lies on the outskirts of Columbia – the very place God called us to each other, called us into full-time vocational ministry and brought forth our first-born child. Full circle. How fitting that He would call us to return to our roots – where all of our desires to spread our wings and take flight were thrust right into this world. It is an honor and a privilege that He would use us to start yet another new seedling and, Lord willing, stay to see it grow and spread its’ roots and bring forth abundant fruit. We follow our Lord who promises to lead us to plant a church for the proclamation of the glory of God to the ends of the world.
And so, a new volume in the series God is writing in our lives has begun. We journey on. We know there will be immense joy and rejoicing. We know there will be deep hardships, and blood and sweat and tears. But we also know that God is ever at our side and if He is for us, who can stand against us?
Blessed be he name of The Lord. We journey on!
This summer was so enjoyable – we got to spend extra time with Kevin as the college students were finished with school. And we got to take the older girls to Six Flags because they earned free tickets through a reading program we participated in. We have gone swimming, explored outdoors, played in the rain, made Popsicles, and relaxed with neighbors and friends and enjoyed July 4th festivities.
Back in late June we had the privilege of leaving our city lives behind for a week in exchange for the beautiful homesteading lives of our good friends. We packed up our family and headed out to their land while they enjoyed a little break from their normal rhythm of life. We got to collect eggs, feed animals and tend to gardens. We took lots of walks and enjoyed sweet time together talking, playing and laughing. It was so much fun to get up each morning and tend to the farm chores together and then go inside and eat fresh eggs with one another around the farmhouse table. Being out in a wide-open space was so lovely as well. The kids could roam as they pleased and the calm and quiet was so welcoming. Our last day there, we celebrated Kevin’s birthday – farm chores and all! Thank you sweet “R” family for giving us this opportunity!
I love this poem by Wendell Berry, it seems to have captured how we felt as we left.
The Peace of Wild Things
BY WENDELL BERRY
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
I was on my own with the kids for a week over Mother’s Day while pastor-husband was away on a retreat. It was so sweet to see the older girls take initiative and come down on Mother’s Day to bring me gifts and cuddle in bed with me. The whole week went really well, though I’m always thankful for my man who serves us so well that we feel it when he is away.
We had the joy of celebrating Kevin’s birthday and Father’s Day all in the same weekend. He is such a gift and blessing to us – the way he courageously yet humbly leads our family. He loves me and the children dearly, we feel so thankful.
And, of course, I am so grateful for my own mother and father….for my mother who nurtured us while we were young and for my father who faithfully provided and also led me to Christ at a wee age…
We closed the school year and said hello to summer with a presentation day we attended with a local co-op here. Ash chose to do a presentation on sharks and embroidered a shark to show. Jada chose to recite 2 poems and displayed her wooden peg dolls she made as well as her sketchbook. Ellie joined her big sisters in reciting psalm 100. It was pretty precious! We also had a field day with our charlotte mason co-op which was so much fun. We did classic relays and shared a wonderful lunch together.
We went strawberry picking here with some friends….it seemed easier this year with no babies in tow, though little bro likes to pick the green ones, oops!
We also attended Ashtyn’s ballet recital. This is her 7th year dancing and the first year we’ve really noticed real improvement. She’s such a little girl of grace and gentleness.
We’ve been playing with neighbors and friends, going to the library lots, swimming a bit and schooling here and there….just how summer should be!
Life has been full, but that’s no surprise! I’m always humbled and thankful with what The Lord has entrusted us with. It’s hard to believe we are coming up on a year since our move. It’s always amazing to me how, when you follow The Lord, He so tenderly and patiently cares for us. Even though He has yet to fail me, steps of faith are never easy and often uncomfortable. It’s such a beautiful, practical illustration of obedience. The call to obedience isn’t solely for the sake of obedience, it’s so much more. In His kindness, God intends for us to know Him more fully and to trust him more deeply. When we call our children to obey, it’s not just because we want control or desire to rule over them with empty reasons for their obedience (though I have been guilty of that in my sinfulness!), but we desire them to obey because we see something they don’t – that obedience reaps abundant fruit and brings us joy and protection. We may not always be comfortable or deemed successful by the worlds terms, but we are not of the world. This isn’t our home. We are journeying to a far greater place. Obedience is so much more important than man’s affirmation or praise. It’s a call to humility requires that we live radically. Horatius Bonar once said, “God may not give us an easy journey to the Promised Land, but He will give us a safe one.”
Dear friend, the journey will not always be easy. Sometimes you are called out of your own comfort, other times you are called to do what appears risky, crazy, or radical to others. You may be wrongly thought of, falsely accused, mis-understood. But if it’s for the sake of the Gospel, you can never go wrong. The Gospel calls us to radical living. As I look back on our life and call to ministry as a family, I’ve learned this to be true. God has called us over and over again to be apart of new things, to start new beginnings for His kingdom. This has required a willingness to GO – to leave what was comfortable and to heed a call not our own. “…Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8)
We are a living, breathing, example of God’s precious faithfulness. Each time we’ve yielded our obedience to The Lord, we’ve tasted the sweetness of His affirmation and tender care over us. Crazy? Maybe. Sometimes obedience makes us do crazy things. There’s no place I would rather be, then living in obedience to God’s beautiful, sometimes risky, but ever-glorious call on our lives.
What better to do in the Spring then spend it out of doors, right? Last month, the girls and I enjoyed a special treat – a real, fancy tea party hosted by some dear friends and mentors of ours whom we now have the joy of living near. This precious couple have listened, counseled and loved on us over the past 10 years that we have known them. They run a Bed and Breakfastministry to couples in full-time ministry. They have become dear friends of ours and have also begun investing in the lives of our children. We couldn’t be more thrilled for their godly example to our little ones. “Aunt Peggy” wanted to host a tea party for the girls, it was such a delight! We have been enjoying nature walks and hikes around the city as well (sometimes with friends, even better!) We are thankful for these beautiful spring days before the neat of the Georgia summer begins…