Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Even when I cannot see

Occasionally people will encourage me to blog more, and I have to smile. Then I shrug my shoulders and proceed to explain that if I was to “try” to write, I know from experience exactly what would come of it…nothing; I would be stuck at one paragraph with a whole lot of nothing to say. So instead I write when inspiration strikes… and by that I mean when, by a “revelation” NOT of me, my thoughts seem to line up coherently and suddenly I can see things in a way that I have not seen them before. And then I know it is time to write… and I do so for myself, in the hopes that when trials come I will be able to look back at my life and be reminded again and again of God’s faithfulness… but I also write in the trust that what He allows me to see is not meant exclusively for me; because yes this IS my life, but in the words of Galations: “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”Gal. 2:20 NLT

So as you read this, know that my prayer is that in some way a heart will be touched for Him, and that through my coming to see Him more clearly, HE will be glorified.

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly
than all that we ask or think, according to the power
at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in
Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
 Ephesians 3

                I am writing today because I have been praying for understanding, for the big answer to the question WHY. Isaiah 55 stands out to me, not in answer to my question, but rather in a reminder of who holds my days:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord,
And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Isaiah 55

When we packed up for Alberta four months ago we had such big dreams and plans: job stability, nursing school, international missions, financial independence, a place to call “home”… big plans… but not necessarily God’s plans. Then before we even left Langley things started to shift in directions different from what we had planned. Ray finding a job was exhausting, and discouraging. I will not be going to nursing school in September if all goes “well” (if you have not been privileged with the reason behind this, I’ll share more another time), and as for financial independence? : Ha! I resonated with a cartoon in the paper a month or so ago that read “it’s hard to save for a rainy day when it never stops raining.” And above all that, I know, Ray knows, even Braden knows… that this is not home. Don’t get me wrong… there is so much beauty here, and we will be thankful for whatever time we are given. We are living in a beautiful town, it is sunny here 90% of the time. We have abundant running trails, outdoor skating rinks, and sledding out our front door. We have been welcomed into an amazing church community, and are learning so much. But, appropriately, I find the church mission –focused. I find this appropriate not because I see God sending us into some foreign mission field in the next few years, but because I feel Him preparing us for when we leave. I don’t know what that timeline will look like, and maybe I’m wrong and we’ll be here for the rest of our lives here on earth – THAT is up to Him. But nonetheless I feel it. So with that awareness in mind, I have been brought back to the question of Why. Why are we here?

When speaking with a good friend before we left, I noted that there was something special about leaving all of my “people” behind. I said that it provides an opportunity to not be looking for anything for “me”, and rather to focus on finding ways that I can serve. In my head I imagined that serving to mean seeking out ways that I could be a blessing in our new church community or in our town community; and though this may come to fruition yet, (I pray that my eyes will be open to such opportunities) what I was struck with today was that I have opportunities to reach beyond me right here in my own home… I had a stark reminder that I am a “we”, and that had implications on the “why”.

Let me explain: in the short time that we have been in Alberta, I have watched my husband grow in so many ways. (Honey if you’re reading this… I’m just glad you don’t get embarrassed easily because the next paragraph is all about you… I love you!)

When we left Langley we were at a turning point in our lives; everything that God has brought us through in the past year was so new in our hearts and our minds… and in some ways so fragile. It can be challenging to experience such huge life and soul changes, and keep focused on them when life goes on exactly as it always had before those changes. There is something to be said for a fresh start. It is hard to be a new person, when everyone around you expects you to be someone else. It is hard to be who you feel God emboldening you to be when you are burdened with a stereotype based on who you have been, and who you can’t possibly be. So yeah, I left all my people behind. I left behind a group of good, God-fearing, encouraging women that have known me for years, and that I have relationships with that are deep, and real, and whole. But where we are now? Here? Here I see men who are building into my husband in a way that he has hasn’t experienced before. And yes he has changed, and the fact that he desires to be built into in that way is a big part of it; but regardless… it’s big. Actually it’s huge… and if that’s the only “because” that I’m given… that’s good enough for me, because having a strong, humble man of God as a husband and father has implications that reach further down the line than we can possibly see.

So how long will we be here? I don’t know. 6 months? A year? 20 years? I don’t know. But I do know that in the short time we have been in Alberta we have learned so much. By God’s grace we have established independence as a family, something I have longed for, for so long. We have learned how not to rush from one thing to another, or from one place to another. We have experienced what “family time” feels like, and become more fully aware of the mission field in our own home. And we’re not ready to leave yet.
But if in the near future we are blessed to be given a opportunity to go home to Langley, I know that we will leave stronger, and better prepared to stand firm in who God is raising us up to be. And if not… I love these words by Jeremy Camp: 

 Well I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see.

For His Glory,