I can honestly say that the last week has been one of the most emotional of my life.
We finished renovating our home to rent it out again. Gave away all the furniture we knew would not fit into the rented truck. Packed up the remainder of our things in boxes. Said many goodbyes. Cried more tears than I knew I even had.
Five days ago, with aching hearts, we left the city we love so much and headed west. Oh my goodness. For me, it was hard! Almost as hard as when I left my home country ten years ago.
Last Thursday morning Anthony and I stood in front of our little home in the inner city. The truck was finally packed. The suitcases were loaded, and our home stood empty before us–waiting for someone else to come and fill its walls with memories. So many people came to say goodbye that morning. We felt so tender and emotional. We looked at one another and through my tear-stained eyes we asked each other if this was right. Were we doing the right thing? At that moment it would have been so easy to call the whole thing off and stay put. Every fiber of my being wanted to tell my husband, “Let’s just stay! Please!”
Yet, we both knew that we knew that the time had come to move forward. We had waited patiently for the Lord to move on our behalf. We had prayed and cried out to Him with all of our hearts for eighteen months for a way to stay. Any way to enable us to stay.
But there was none. Sometimes the answer from heaven is simply, “No.”
God had closed every door we tried to walk through and remaining there was no longer an option. We were left with no other possible option but to move forward. Our mission there had obviously been accomplished. Hailee has doubled in weight, blossomed and grown into a totally different child to the one we brought home last year. Our sweet little girl is finally healthy enough to return to our home in the mountains.
And so we gathered the kids, said our final goodbyes, and drove down our beautiful cobble-stoned street for the last time. I honestly felt like I left a piece of my heart right there on the sidewalk.
We have been on the road for the last five days now. It sure has given me so much time to ponder and pray. Sometimes our journeys in the Lord make absolutely no sense at all. I’ll be honest…it is hard for me to move back to the mountains. Just a few months ago when people asked me where we used to live, my standard response was something like this…”In the mountains–where winter feels like it will never end. You can keep it, thank you very much! This is my home now.”
Ha! Never say never, huh? I have imagined the Lord having a good old chuckle at me as I have proclaimed with absolute certainty that I will NEVER go back there. Kind of like that “Oh, God, I’ll go anywhere for you, do anything you tell me to do…but please, Lord, don’t ever send me to Africa.” Next thing you know, boom…you’re on a plane winging your way to Uganda to serve with a mission team.
Yeah, never say never!
So here we are. As the days have passed as quickly as the miles in the the last five days, I have realized something again. Not some kind of new revelation, but definitely one I needed reminding of as I have found myself focusing on all the negatives, almost falling into a pit of despair. God’s plans and purposes for my life are for my good! No matter how painful or crazy they may seem at the time, they are always for my good–even when I simply cannot fathom how things are going to work out.
When my Father in heaven closes one door, He opens another. Giving Him full control to write the story for my life is the greatest challenge. Am I going to hold onto the things near and dear to my heart? Am I going to cling to my dreams and my desires? Or am I willing to lay them all down at His feet? Am I willing to lose control of my life so that God can gain full control of my life?
That, dear friends, is my greatest test of faith in this season.
Faith isn’t tested when God calls us to do the things that are easy. Nope. Faith is tested and stretched when God calls us to step out of the comfortable boat we’re in and walk toward Him on the stormy sea. Faith is challenged when that still small voice says, “Forget about yourself…and follow me!”
I long, with all my heart, for God to write the story of my life. I long for there to be less of me in me–and so much more of Him. But I’m afraid to say that I still have such a long way to go. I fail more times than I care to count. I hold onto the things I should let go of and I have a habit of looking back, when really, God wants me to look forward. Too many times I fail to remember that He commands me in His word to “Forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past. Behold, I am doing a NEW thing.” (Isaiah 43)
He alone closes the chapters of my life…and opens the new ones.
I have absolutely no idea what His “new thing” is as we journey back to where we moved from just eighteen months ago. I don’t have a clue what the Lord has in store for us or what adventures are around the next corner. I don’t know what His plans and purposes for us being there are. But there is one thing I know with absolute surety.
He is dependable.
He is trustworthy.
He is faithful!
And so, as we journey on and get closer and closer to home, I am resting in the knowledge that my Father in heaven has never, ever let us down. As He provided manna to the Israelites, He provides everything we need on a daily basis. As He showed Moses the way out of Egypt, He shows us the path to walk too. As He gave wisdom and guidance to David, so He gently leads and guides us too.
I have a Father in whom I can trust.
When everything is stripped away. When dreams and desires are left on the altar. When our hearts are tender and aching. When the future feels so uncertain. When we have absolutely no idea what God is up to. When we’re tired and feeling completely worn out. When life is making absolutely no sense whatsoever…
JESUS IS OUR MORE THAN ENOUGH!
And when everything is said and done, when the final chapter of my life is written, I hope that I will able to say with all my heart that I allowed God to write my story.