For the first time

For the first time
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When we started this process and this website, about 3 years ago, it was with some convictions that God had laid on our hearts. One of those was to work at building a relationship with all of you, which has been a challenge for two introverts who have never been good at long-distance communication. Another was vulnerability. As someone who has seen it’s power in my own life, I can say that I believe in vulnerability. That’s not to say that it’s easy, however. Yet, we work at it. And so, today, I’m putting up something from my own journal with God for you to understand what it really is like for us who have followed God overseas.

I find that I am filled with fear, these recent years. From what I remember, it’s never been as big of an issue for me as other things. That’s probably not quite true, but if I was afraid in the past it was of other things. It was of never getting free from my sin, of never doing anything valuable in my life, of hurting others. I suppose that some of those things still worry me a little, but I can see that I am in a different place now. The relationships that I have now are different – far different. Family… children… I feel like a completely different person. It’s all gone so fast, too. Most of my memories are from when I was single. But that was 5 years ago. Crazy.

But yea, fear. I’m in a different place now. My sin is not in the driver’s seat anymore (not that I don’t still struggle, obviously… but it’s not the same). Yet, new situation, new fears. These days I find that my fear usually takes the form of worrying about my identity and whether or not I will ever find a place where I can stay and succeed and do something valuable. Or it takes the form of worrying about provision for our family.

The kids keeping cool during a hot day

And, so I confront these things in me and work towards refusing the fear, but instead yielding them to the LORD in prayer. And I find peace… but it is difficult. Are they unrealistic things to worry about? I can’t imagine that they are. Financially, I am 30 years old, and I own nothing, and have virtually no money to my name. I have a 4 year degree that has not been maintained license-wise, and otherwise my education and personal development has seemingly been all over the place. After finally feeling like we would be stable after coming to Africa, we are now changing organizations and planning on going to another country, and this process will require an undetermined amount of time for the application, orientation, and support raising — which could (once again) be quite a significant process. Assuming that I find a good job that can provide for our family, I feel like we are one accident away from potential disaster.

Plans in life are best laid with 2-3 backups — at least! FAIL SAFE. That’s the right term. A safe place in case the primary fails. Right now, we don’t have that. Our fail safe is Jesus. We trust that He has lead us here… of that at least there is no doubt. Looking at the process we’ve taken to get here, I can see that we have followed His lead. And now, we have to be patient and trust Him. And that’s the catch. In the past, we’ve had backups and fail safe’s while following His lead (just in case He isn’t faithful? Or maybe in case we aren’t?). And I can see others who are following Him who seem to have lots of those as well. I know we shouldn’t compare, but at some level it’s difficult not to.

And so, we have our relationship with Christ and that is what we are trusting in. His hand which has lead us to make the decisions that we’ve made, and which has given us the provision that we have. The Word says that He will provide, and I work at trusting in that. Yet, it’s difficult. What exactly does it mean? Has no one ever gone hungry who is trusting in God? What about other difficult things? I know that trusting God does not mean that we won’t go through difficult times, and I can’t help but wonder what he might allow us to go through… and whatever happens, I know that we must continue to trust in Him, I know… but I am afraid. Afraid of the paths he may lead us down… but I don’t want to be.

I don’t want my stance towards what God has in our future to be one of fear. I want it to be one of faith. The Word says that we can’t please God without faith. I believe that we will never do anything significant in this life without it. And that means that no matter what God brings our way, we must continue to cling to Him, and trust…

Trust that He is good, and is good towards us.

Trust that He is control and is watching over our lives.

Trust that doing what is right and good will produce good fruit in our lives

Walking in humility and faith seem counter-intuitive to what is natural as humans. We don’t want to be vulnerable. We don’t want to trust God without any backup plans… you know… JUST IN CASE… But I believe that God has a plan for our lives and as we walk faithfully in it that he will do a beautiful thing, and I cling to that hope and trust in God, because I know that he is good.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek his will in all you do,

and he will show you which path to take. (NLT)

I’m struck by the difficulty of walking out verses that I grew up with in Christianity, verses that we put on walls and signs, and which become cute and nice but seem to lose their power and application. But in walking through life with God, they regain that sense of powerful revelation, becoming full of life once again, and become new and rich and valuable to us once more… or in some cases maybe we begin to see them truly for the first time.