4 years ago today I had just started my 3rd week of what would be 3 ½ years of living in Honduras. 7 months ago this week I returned to the US from that life. My anticipation was to return back to the US to settle into normal US life…pay off my car, work on getting out of debt, saving up money, buying a small piece of land and build a little home. I looked forward to lunches with folks, long dinners with people catching up and hearing what the Lord was doing in their worlds. Times back at Auburn Women’s basketball and Softball, times at Stone Mountain with my littles, freezing to death in the air conditioning, and just in general doing what I want because I am not working 21 days in a row with a day off, no car and little money.
I found some of that. But I found my reality would be very different from the expectation (Isn’t it usually?) What I thought was the dream the Lord was handing back to me, long shelved, to build my little house didn’t come to fruition. As time went by I lost the desire. The reality of it didn’t fit my life’s reality. The job I was hired to do transitioned into part of the job I did back at the Arbor years ago. The stress of work radically shifted to a different flavor. Trying to rent a small house for August fell through, twice. Trying to rent my old house, up for sale again for almost a year didn’t happen. I felt the doors closing to what I thought life would be.
The friends I hung out with, now over 4 years ago, have changed. They have moved, moved on to other things, changed churches, had life shifts. Dinners and lunches didn’t happen like I thought. Settling into my life from over 4 years ago didn’t happen. I have changed, life has changed. My expectations weren’t fulfilled like I thought they would.
So I find myself feeling unsettled and uncertain. Asking the Lord over and over again in February and March….what do you want me to do? The only thing that felt certain was the job I am in now will end, and when it does my time at the Arbor will once again end. And I am ok with that. In a venting moment one day after work I said “I would be happy to just go and clean hotel rooms at this point.” To which my friend replied “You can volunteer to do that in Isreal for 3-6 months!” As time went by that just seemed to make sense. In my heart as I prayed I kept thinking and hearing “August” So I made plans for what is next…Isreal.
Application filled out, sent in, approved. Plane ticket looked up….$850 which is half of what it normally is…purchased. Isreal for 3 months.
Somewhere I have never really “wanted” to go. Last December I thought it would be nice to go with my friend Wayne and his tour group. But I had a car to pay off and a new job with no vacation time. And now I am going for 3 months. The irony of my life, headed again to a country that has never been on my radar. Details very unknown (to a planner like me there is a certain amount of anxiety in that.
And I don’t know what is after that. Praying He shows me (He will, but praying He shows me in the timeline I desire. Haha) Praying it will be my dream job of missions/evangelism in a church body. Serving. Talking about Him. Seeing Him at work through people. Seeing lives transformed by Him.
People keep telling me how ________________ my life is. (Crazy, flexible, obedient, cool…pick the word). It is. My life is crazy. If I sit and think about it too long I almost start to hyperventilate.
I have no home. No husband. No boyfriend. No kids. Soon to be no job. In a lot of ways unattached and feeling out of sorts most days. I don’t get to carry the labels that most folks have that define them. I find it hard to chit chat about my life because some days I don’t know what to say about it other than “I am just doing what He says, leads, tells me to do…and no it doesn’t really make sense most days.” And that is hard to chit chat. I don’t have kids to discuss and find common ground with others. I go to work and go home most days. I try to stay home and not spend money on things I don’t need just because I am bored and filling time. I read a lot. I’ve taken up adult color by number…it’s calming kind of like Legos, and I don’t have to think about it. I spend a lot of time with Him. In a lot of ways my life is boring, sprinkled with the random that day to day life holds. But it is where He has me and time and again He tells me to wait. To chill. To be content in Him. To find Him in the struggle of what isn’t.
So for those of you who this is news to, I am sorry. I don’t know how to once again, like over 4 years ago, say I am off to some new unknown. I don’t know how to make sense of that. I don’t know how to say “Will you pray for me? Will you support me? Will you walk along side me?” When I can only say I am going to Israel for 3 months to volunteer at a Messianic Jewish community that has a hotel, conference center and a biblical garden. And I have no idea what I will be doing but serving. And most of the time I can’t even spell Israel correctly.
But what I do know is He is clearly with me. He has continually said over the past month…ME. Just Me. Seek Me. Be with Me. Find Your Home In Me. Find Your Satisfaction In Me. Look to Me. Surrender to Me. Give Me Everything. Die to What You Think You Want or Need and Get What I Have For You. I Am With You. I Am.
And that feels really hard. It feels lonely. But it doesn’t feel alone. Over this past week I have had time to spend with my village in Texas and in Ohio. And repeatedly I weep at the thought I am blessed to live the life I get to live. To get to fall more in love with the Love of My Life. The one I never have to worry will ever leave me. Even though some days it hurts because I long to be with Him. To see Him face to face. To cease the struggle that is this world that is so easily distracted and distracting from the truth. From Him. Spinning to grasp everything but what matters, and do the things that are far from eternal. I weep at the thought that I cannot imagine life any other way. Even in the hard and the not making sense and the longing for the hope that is heaven, eternity with Him…there is a rest in my heart that cannot let go, because I cannot let go of Him. And He will never let go of me.
I’ve been reading about the life of William Wilberforce this week. It is much like the movie Amazing Grace depicts and so much different. Did you know that it took over 40 years for the abolition of slavery to finally pass? That it was voted on 3 days before his death, and they were finalizing the details as He died? So often we look at the tasks of our life and want them to be finished, to get tied up and done in a hurry. We get so frustrated and irritated that it takes longer than we think. But I am reminded again and again that life is a race…and not a sprint type race, but a marathon. And we are called to run in such a way to win the prize, the work being done by Christ, but we are called to work it out in our lives with His guidance. It is not easy, but it is worth it. To do what He has called us to, even if it takes over 40 years to see what we think is the fruit.
I look back over my life and see few things that I’ve been in for more than 4 years. I told Bufanda that my life is like a Hashbrown order at Waffle House- scattered, chunked, smothered, covered…depends on the day. But I guess at the end of it there is something good…I see His hand in every step of the crazy map of my life thus far. And what I thought would look more settled and straightline isn’t happening. So I surrender what I thought it would be back to Him (don’t we all do this over and over in some way in each of our lives?)
I am thankful for those who remind me we run this life thing together. My Coveys in the seemingly last quarter of an adoption journey of their little one. My Millers who are almost to the end of adopting their second little girlie. My Taylors who after years of struggle and waiting brought home their little one. My old folks at work who remind me about how God takes care of our needs. Punctuated by “every day.” Coming from an 89 year old one tends to take that statement with a good bit of credibility. The truth of his word that over and over again calls us to sacrifice. To love. Because He says, because it is best. Because it is worth it…because it makes us more like Him.
So I am grateful for those of you still along for the journey. For those of you who put up with the random that is my life. For letting me ramble about the often lack of clarity that my world looks like in the details. To those of you who pray for me, I would humbly ask that you would continue to do so. To those of you who wish to join me financially again for the next out of country adventure, thank you. To those of you who simply follow along and ask the Lord to keep doing what He does in my life, I’m grateful.
I love you. I pray for you. I cherish you. I love to see how the Lord is working out things in your lives. How you love Him. How you reflect Him. You make me want to be like the Jesus I see in you.
So let’s be after Him. Let’s be His. Because He is the one thing that is no doubt worth it all.