|leaving our home for school|
my stomach has been cramping for days- sometimes stopping me in my tracks. i'm tired. a ten-day headache lingers on.
12 years ago we did this in guatemala. we landed in a new country, new culture and started a new life. with no language, no sending organization, and no "team", it was just us. me, my wife, and our 3 young kids - just trying to figure things out.
i remember feeling helpless. worthless. scared. inept. humbled. i literally remember pretending to be confident and strong for my family's sake... while whispering desperation prayers to Jesus all day, and crying through my prayers at night.
i remember my wife crying. a lot. i remember her telling me she didn't like herself: that her former identities such as "super-mom" and "women’s bible-study leader" – even “friend” and “daughter” and “neighbor” – had all been stripped away and she hated what she found underneath. i knew exactly what she meant... i was going through something similar myself.
i remember my kids coming home from school and crying, saying they didn't understand a single word, and that all the kids laughed at them every time they spoke.
but i also remember...
bonding with my family more deeply than I had ever imagined possible. we experienced things with God and with each other that shaped us into who we are as a family to this day.
i remember how sweet the joys, and how exhilarating the victories.
most importantly, i remember how close i felt to Jesus in those moments of desperation and dependence.
when it takes full dependence on God just to run a simple errand, it does wonders for your sanctification!
when you are humbled to the point of losing your 1) comforts and conveniences, 2) past identity, 3) ability to communicate, 4) any chance for a routine, and 5) all your friends, family, and home church… you either quit, or you grow fast.
as christians, suffering shapes us. our best growth comes by fire (romans 5:3, 2 for 12:10), and the process brings you closer to Jesus than ever before. it’s always worth it!
and THAT is where i am today.
there are moments already where i’ve wanted to quit. i've had a few situations where my chest swells up and my breathing turns to short breaths. or my stomach ties up in knots... and i start justifying reasons why it makes more sense to not do this after all.
in the midst of all that, my time with Jesus is extraordinary. it fills me so much, I feel like I could explode.
i can’t read scripture or worship without tearing up. His faithfulness showers me – completely flooding my heart. it’s remarkable, hard to explain. best thing ever. words of life, ministering to my soul. more than “reading” them, I hear them, I feel them, my soul drinks them up. living water!
my stomach pain is still there. i’m always tired. my ten-day headache lingers on.
but I hear your voice Jesus. and there’s no other place I want to be.