The past five months have stretched me more than anything ever has in my life. When the Lord began to take us on a journey of pruning last spring, He took away so many things that we held onto. He called us to lay the dreams on our hearts upon the altar—things we yearned for and things we would’ve done anything to see come to fruition. He called us to take our greatest desires and every passion buried deep within us and lay them at His feet. He took away from us material possessions, provision, and the things we held onto in this life. And He reminded us once again that it’s all just stuff. Meaningless.
The Master Gardener began to do His work in us—pruning piece by piece the branches that had withered and dried, and gently removing from us the parts of our lives that could bear no fruit.
And somehow…somehow…though I could not see it, feel it, understand it at the time…
…it was for our good.
The maturing of our faith.
And when everything was stripped away–when our lives were so completely laid down at the feet of the One who holds it all…when nothing (absolutely nothing!) made sense, He whispered to my struggling heart just one question.
“Am I enough for you, Adéye?”
Is He enough when the storms of life blow?
Is He enough for us when we’re wandering in the wilderness and we cannot see our way out of the valley? When the mountaintop feels insurmountable and like nothing but a distant dream of something we once experienced?
Is He enough for you and me when friends walk away from us because we choose to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit instead of the opinions of man?
Is He enough for us when dreams are shattered and every plan we make comes crashing down?
Is He enough when the only thing He ever calls us to do is love the ones in front of us—the ones He has loaned us temporarily in this fleeting life?
Is He truly enough?
I have asked myself that very question more times than I can count in the last few months. When Anthony returned from my beloved home country in May with the confirmation on his heart that the concerns expressed by many were a cautioning from the heart of our God and that we were to put our plans to return as missionaries on hold, I struggled. Goodness, did I ever! Every dream, every desire, every plan for the future I had put into that one basket. I ached to go and be a small part of the orphan crisis. I yearned to go and have my heart broken and my arms full of little loves who desperately needed to know that He is near. I was more than willing to give up everything—every earthly possession and every American comfort—for the sake of a child in need.
I cried out to God, “But it’s who I am, Lord!” My purpose. My destiny. My calling.
And when the answer from heaven was, “No, not now. Wait!” I wrestled.
“But, Lord, it’s my dream.” “But, Lord, this must be a mistake.” “But, Lord, it’s the burning desire inside of me.” “But, Lord…”
Just like that I had placed my identity in what I did, rather than in whom I belonged to. I struggled to find my way back to that place of knowing who I am in Christ. That assurance that aside from every good work I ever did in my life, every mission, every calling…
I was HIS.
And HE was enough.
Because it’s just so easy to find our identity in the things that we do for Him…instead of simply resting in the knowledge that Jesus is enough and that He knows what’s best for us (even though we think we do!).
It’s been a season of stillness. Of learning once again to just abide. A time of refiguring out whose I am without doing a single thing.
A season of coming back to the truth that my identity is in Christ and Christ alone.
Whether He calls me to the nations to minister to the needy and give food to the hungry…or if He whispers to my heart, “Pour yourself out to the ones I have given you in your own home in this season.”
He is more than enough for me.
It’s been a quiet season of reflection and coming back to my first love. Yes, I still have days when my heart questions and the ache of having to let go creeps up on me once again, but He has been so good His child.
Many have reached out to ask us, “What will you do now?” “Is there another country on your hearts that you can serve in?” Truthfully, we have no clue what God has in store for the Salems. We don’t know where He will lead us or what He will call us to do. None of us are meant to know the future—only the ONE who holds it in the palm of His hand knows all things. And that is enough for us as we move forward, embracing all that He has for us. We only want what the Father has for us and will not budge unless we know that God has called us. One of my most favorite conversations in the Bible is between Moses and God in the book of Exodus. Moses, in all his human weakness, his fear and his insecurity, is wrestling with the enormity of the command that God has given him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He finally agrees, but with one specific cry on his heart.
“Unless Your presence goes with me…” (Exodus 33)
I am Moses. Insecure. Fearful. Flawed. Uncertain about the future. Abandoned to His will. I understand the cry of the man’s heart and his desperate dependence on God in all things.
Unless Your presence goes with the Salems, Lord!
We’ll continue to try to be faithful in the big things and the very small things. I’m positive we’ll mess up countless times along the way too. We’ll stumble and fall and make mistakes. We’ll pick ourselves up and try again. We’ll press on with HOPE in our hearts—knowing without a shadow of a doubt that when God closes one door, He is certain to open another. We’ll be mindful of His still, small voice leading us on day by day.
And most of all, if He never calls us to do a single thing other than love and cherish these nine most amazing children in our home…it will be enough. Because they are and always will be our first priority and responsibility before God.
And so with the steadfast assurance that our Father knows what He’s doing, we’re pressing on toward the prize that He has set before us. And as we have told Him many, many times over the last nineteen years–with our sometimes shaky faith so much smaller than a mustard seed–we’ll say again and we’ll mean it with all of our hearts…