It’s often late at night, after I’m done journaling that Rachel and I will look at each other and wonder aloud if we would trade this life for anything. If you catch us on a bad day when all the kids have ganged up against us or simply on a day where we can’t see the sun through the clouds, we will undoubtedly say, “YES!” But more often than not, we sort through the various choices we’ve made, the forks in the road where we’ve gone left when it would have been so much easier to go right, and we realize that we wouldn’t trade this grand adventure we’re on for anything.
After leaving the somewhat stable financial security of working for HP for many years, I made a brief foray into the world of stocks and bonds working as a Financial Advisor. If I would have had the nerve to stick with it, our lives would be totally different at this point.
As it is, we live month-to-month, week-to-week, sometimes even day-to-day. Before we left for
It hurts sometimes. Upon crossing the border the last time, our van the “Miracle Mobile” has given us nothing but pain and heartbreak. The blood and tears I’ve shed over that machine, and the countless hours spent on my back as I’ve taught myself how to rebuild the fuel system and most of the electrical system, sometimes all seem to have been spent in vain. It now sits in our driveway, sometimes starting, sometimes not. Frustrating.
The Lord is faithful and He sees us. Through a variety of somewhat funky jobs and the generous support of friends and family that unbelievably still believe in us, every month all of our needs are provided for. He is a good Father.
Recently we got a visit from one of our pastors. An anonymous donor in our church had become aware of our transportation situation and wanted to give us $5,000 to help out. When you hold the answer to your prayers in your hands, and have confirmation once again that you are on the right path, it’s hard to contain your emotions. You want to shout…you want to cry…you want to dance. I think I did it all that night.
Rachel and I clearly recognize that we are undeserving of all the gifts the Lord has given us. We continue to breathe in each day as if it were our first and our last. We are committed to riding this adventure out. What will happen next in Nagelland is anyone’s guess, but whatever it is, it’s bound to be FUN!
Smith got the chance to enter in a local pumpkin carving contest
In case you're wondering, the stuff coming out the top is the pumpkin's brains.
Right now Ax's favorite thing is being "Speedy Boy" from his favorite book,
"I'm going to be the Best Superhero Ever!"
Favorite accessories: sunglasses, cape, and rocket boots.
Zaisy found the elf costume.
After two years in storage, we had a lot of fun unpacking the Christmas boxes.
Davis thought the tree skirt was supposed to go with the Santa hat.
Truly one of our favorite things is when we have visitors. It's nice to be able to be hospitable and share what we can of our 2 bedrooms and 1 bath and wet bar. Really, our guests deserve awards in adaptability. We realize, through it all, that it's time to move on. We are planning on getting up to Denver just before Christmas, so we can settle a little before baby numero cinco arrives. Nothing like last minute adjustments, huh?
We are excited to be closer to our family at Denver United Church and to be closer to Jon's family and mine. We're super excited to have our own place! We have no idea what the future holds for us, so we are definitely living just one step at a time. Crazy? Definitely.
The dollars in our bank account come and go. It’s never very much, but it’s always enough. Yet, at the end of the day when my children crowd onto my oversized lap, all talking over one another, vying for the attention of their father, I understand in my heart that I am one of the richest men in the world.
Along this journey of life I have proved to be a terrible communicator, as well as a terrible fund-raiser. As we are State-side awaiting the birth of our newest little guy the Lord has supplemented our dwindling support with a variety of jobs. One of my aunts suggested they should start a show about it all. I was reminded of her idea when I caught a commercial of, “Dirty Jobs” and I thought, “Wow! That’s my life right now.”
Here’s a short list of my most recent job descriptions: mover, ranch hand, granite guy, bike parts builder, and most recently, a piano teacher. What a crazy variety. Crazy experiences. Crazy life!
Like David fighting his lions and his bears, like Daniel-son painting the fence and sanding the deck, I sense it’s all for a reason, a greater purpose of training us for the next step. My late, great, father-in-law use to humorously say, “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. I’d rather be rich.” While in
We refused to live off of credit. Partly, or mainly because I had burned our only credit card over a camp fire a year before as a step of faith. At times it hurt. We didn’t get to always eat what we wanted, buy what we wanted, or do what we wanted. But it was good training and allowed us to come out of
As we seek the Lord about where He would have us go next, I often wonder, “What the heck is all this training for?” Inwardly, I’ve also come to realize that with me it’s never the exotic, dangerous, adventurous places I struggle with saying, “Yes!” to. Rather, it’s the times of boringness, relative ease, and quiet that I wrestle with.
I will not lie. There are times when I stand in a long hot shower, travel down smooth highways, or visit with friends and family nearby, that I am tempted to give up and become a full-time American once again. However, it’s not the adventure, travel, or excitement that keeps me going. It’s simply the call…the desire to lay down my life and be used for a greater purpose. Like the seed falling to the ground to die that it might bear much fruit. To go to the ends of the Earth and share the love of Jesus with those who would otherwise never hear.
I am the richest man in the world not because of the dollars in my bank account. I am rich with love, with hugs and sticky kisses. I am rich with the knowledge that none of it is about me. We use to have the house, the cars, the steady flow of income…and we were always so poor. We have none of that now…and we are richer than ever!
I’ve taken a sabbatical from writing blogs. I’m back. As I grow, learning to recognize seasons of life for what they are, not getting hung-up on longing for moments of the past, or yearning for the adventures yet to come, I find a certain amount of contentment creeping in on me. It’s good.
When we came back to the States, our marriage was dangerously off-track and both Rachel and I could barely tolerate our children. We were burnt toast.
Finding ourselves unexpectedly State-side expecting our fifth child was…unexpected. A couple of divine appointments took place which I now can see as points of healing and restoration for us.
Some of our good missionary friends with YWAM set up a meeting with some professional debriefing counselors. I was skeptical. They were old, disabled, and strangers. What could they possibly know? Within minutes of meeting them at the local Village Inn, they saw into our souls. It was one of those weird/wild moments in life where you believe that some people may actually have super-powers. They shared with us all kinds of practical tips, ideas, and suggestions to help us out of the tangly underbrush and get back to the daylight of the trail. Then they prayed for us and great things were accomplished.
The other appointment took place in the form of a parenting book Rachel picked up one day. It’s called, “To Train Up A Child.” The great chasm between where we were as parents, and where this booked encouraged us we could be, slapped us in the face like a cold, Wyoming-winter-wind. You mean you’re actually supposed to enjoy your kids and desire more? What!? Yet within weeks of instituting some of the techniques and training ideas presented within…we began to notice startling changes in each of our children, in our hearts. It was good.
Here we are months later. Living in a basement we are renting from friends in Colorado Springs. On plan “X” or possibly “Y” at this point. The Lord continues to provide for all of our needs in radical ways. Rachel and I are communicating in ways and on levels unknown to us before. We are enjoying our kids and so excited to meet our newest little guy, scheduled to arrive in late-December. We’re actually enjoying our kids so much that we’re realizing that number five may not be enough. How wild is that?
We’re not where we thought we’d be…but we continue to do all the things the Lord has called us to. Through deep, fascinating times of intercession and leading worship, we’re seeing the Holy Spirit minister to us and through us in ways that we could have never imagined before. Through these times we each began to discover our own super-powers.
I began to remember yesterday with a flavor of tender-fondness. Today I embrace with a content, adventurous spirit. It is with great expectation I look to tomorrow.
The sisterhood of the traveling pants:
Story goes, three sisters ended up buying the same exact pants from Penny's.
They fit all body types fabulously.
I bet some of you have been wondering, "What happened to the Nagels?" "Where are they now?" "Why haven't they called?"
To answer your questions, I ask this question: What happens to a space mission upon returning to Earth from it's orbit? Answer: Re-entry. I've heard this analogy being used to describe missionaries coming back from the field to their native homeland. I think it's a wonderful analogy. I felt many times in the last month like I would completely "burn up on re-entry". Any of you who have been on the mission field can relate, I'm sure. There's a strange feeling of being a foreigner in your own land.
Some friends of ours referred us to a couple who specializes in this type of counseling. They have worked for twenty years in this field. Now they travel around doing "debrief counseling" all over the country. They were able to meet with us one evening about a week ago. After just an hour of listening to who we are and what happened in the last year, they completely nailed all the feelings we've been feeling and struggling with and fighting through. They gave us a strong prescription for the next few months to help us work through some issues, complemented us on our kids (total miracle how well behaved they were), and gave us their contact numbers seeing as they'll be in Boston until November. I think God is going to use this time in our lives as a healing and restoration so that someday maybe we'll be meeting others at Village Inn for a much-needed counseling session.
So, as to the quesions... we made it home safely. We are staying with friends in Colorado Springs, CO. Trying to decide about putting the kids in school. We are still full of a ton of questions ourselves, so please forgive our lack of answers. We are all still reacclimating to our environment.