(This is part 7 in a series of posts detailing the events leading up to our move from Ithaca to Dublin. You can read the whole series here)
As we approached the end of February 2011, the big thing on our minds was the pregnancy. We were learning new medical terms like Placenta praevia and Vasa praevia, which were quite terrifying for both of us.
We both had some concerns about the doctor we were seeing and the procedures he was suggesting for us, so went for a second opinion up in Syracuse. While they still had some concerns about the Placenta praevia, they could not find any indication of Vasa Praevia. That was great news!
Still that all meant that we were still looking at a c-section as soon as the baby’s lungs could handle it, but, things felt a less tense than they had.
While we were preparing for our new arrival, we were also continuing to talk about Ireland. By late February we were at a point it seemed like Ireland was something we needed to consider very seriously.
There is something about birth and new ministry in our lives.
- Hannah was born the year we moved to Ithaca to start a campus ministry at Cornell.
- Brenna was born 4 days before the first service of the Ithaca Vineyard (still not sure what I was thinking there)
- Méabh was born as it is becoming clear that we are to move to Ireland.
- Erin is the only one that didn’t bring a major life/ministry change with her
Liz still wasn’t at the point of saying, “Yeah, let’s do this,” but more, “if God is doing something here…I don’t want to miss it, or resist it.”
The passage of Scripture that came to mind for us was Acts chapter 13.
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
The next logical step for us seemed to be going to our church council and sharing with them what we were sensing about Ireland, and asked them to pray and fast.
I referenced this passage in Acts 13 and asked them, “Please don’t pray that God would make it clear to us…he seems to be doing that. I want you to ask Him to make it clear to you. If you pray and sense that no, this isn’t God…we are not going to go.”
“However…if the three of you sense that this does seem to be God…I don’t see what kind of choice we have but to go.”
We had just wrapped up a Sunday message series where we shared our values with our church. One of our core values was “Living life together.” We knew that if we made this decision with out their input, we were violating something that really is at the core of who we are.
They took 3 or 4 weeks, and there was a part of me hoping they’d come back saying, “This is crazy, God wants you to stay in Ithaca.”
While I don’t think it was planned (they can correct me if I’m wrong) they asked Liz and I to meet with them on March 17th for dinner so they could discuss what they believed God was saying.
So on St Patrick’s day, the 5 of us went out for dinner, where they shared that while they went into it thinking this definitely was not what God had for us, what they heard almost immediately as they prayed was “send them.”
I don’t know what I was expecting to feel. We actually had a church-wide event that night that I remember almost nothing about.
The next morning I came into the office and basically sat in the foyer of the church and cried. Every time I sat down at my desk to finally get some work done…I’d cry more.
I eventually packed it up an went home for the rest of the day.
There was this weird sensation that took place. For months, Ireland was an idea…but an unlikely one. Staying in Ithaca seemed to make sense and as long as we kept doing what we were doing…that is exactly what we’d be doing…staying in Ithaca.
But at this point, it was like we switched tracks. We were now on our way to Dublin.
However, there were still a few obstacles to clear.