Making a difference?

Making a difference?

I’m sitting here writing this on June 23rd. We arrived back in Omaha 8 weeks and 4 days ago. It’s incredible to think how quickly time has passed. 2 months is a long time, yet so much has been packed into such a short period of time, we are only now beginning to catch our breaths.

Here are the highlights of what we’ve been up to so far:

  • We’ve had a blast reconnecting with dozens of friends and supporters here in the Omaha area!
  • Lissa and I were able to sneak away for a weekend without the kids for our 5 year anniversary! This was the first time we’d been away from them for so long (I think the first time overnight in 3 years!).
  • We completed both face-to-face and over-the-phone interviews as the final parts of our application process for our future time in Japan.
  • We drove all the way from Omaha to Maryland with both kids to visit my brother and their family for a week. What an incredible time it was!
  • I started working again full-time at the Open Door Gospel Rescue Mission!
  • We’ve been able to speak at our home church about our time in Africa not once, but twice! We LOVE being back with our Home Body.
  • Jeremy went on a 12 hour trip up to North Minnesota to spend a week with family on a guy trip.

…and there’s been much more as well. Yet, despite all of the busyness it has been a really great time for us to take a breath, regain perspective on life, and enjoy being with family and friends. We also are eagerly looking forward to seeing those of you who we haven’t had a chance to see, yet! We haven’t forgotten, but are waiting until we can find a good opportunity to come and visit.

What I’ve been thinking about lately

Normally, I try to keep our updates shorter, but today I think I’ll do something different. Let me know what you like or dislike about it?

It struck me today how much of our lives we live believing in seemingly small lies, and how when you realize the truth, it can completely shift the attitude and direction if your life. It’s one of the reasons I love the Bible so much. It is so applicable to our lives, and so many times I’ve found verses which applied perfectly to the situation I was in, which spoke revelation and life into my thoughts and circumstances. Satan is known not only as a tempter, but perhaps even more prominently as an accuser, and as the father of lies. The truth of God brings victory, however.

One lie I’ve realized I struggle with says, “You wasted so much of your time when you were young, you will never make a significant difference in the world.” Of course, in the depths of my soul it is never stated in so many words, and perhaps I only catch a glimmer of it in my mind from time to time. Yet, when I sit and think about it, I realize the deep frustration I have over the slow growth process of life is at least partially misplaced and I begin to see where it comes from: a lie deep in my heart, speaking fear into my soul.

Before I go further, I’d like to clarify on a couple points: I know God loves me because of who He is, not because of what I do. I don’t accept the lie which says I need to do to be accepted. Yet, I believe that the desire to seek God’s approval and pleasure, to do good and right is a desire put there by God, and a natural reaction to the love that He has shown to us!

I also know that you reap what you sow – Yes – God forgives, but sin has consequences, and so there is indeed a seed of truth in the lie – I did waste a lot of time in my youth, and those sinful and destructive actions left indelible marks upon me, which I still deal with to this day. When I consider my life, the sin, shortcomings and failures which yet reside in me, I realize what an incredibly long journey I have ahead of me.

I hope my explanations make sense, but I think Paul says it better in Philippians 3:

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Yet, that having been said, the life changing truth is in God’s graciousness and love. He heals the wounds of my past which I struggle with every day, and in doing so shows me the healing power of His word in tangible ways in my life and in those relationships. Yet, not only that, but he has also given me the incredible privilege and opportunity to shine His light in the world.

Being here with my parents and watching their godly lives – knowing the length and the depth of the process which God has walked through in their lives – gives me the perspective to see that God is not in a rush. He is good, and he loves me. He wants to shine through me more than I want him to shine through me. No one knows the hour or the day that their number will be called, but until that time comes I know the way I want to continue living my life, and it’s not out of fear that I won’t make a difference, but in confidence that the one who changed my heart will continue to work in me and through me every day, and in every way.