Our God is so good, He brings us to new things and gently leads us by still waters, He guides us with His mighty right hand and causes His face to shine upon us. But, sometimes in the midst of life, in the midst of the busyness we forget God’s goodness and we question everything around us. I found myself in this place, waking up one morning about 2 weeks ago wondering, “how did I get here?” Angry, critical, frustrated and exhausted. I am surrounded by God’s goodness and His blessing, He is guiding us down a path we have yearned for so long to go down. I have looked down this path for many years now, looked at it with anticipation but didn’t realize all that it meant for us. You see, my little family of 5, we are joining Africa Inland Mission to become missionaries in Uganda. And my heart rejoices for the healing we will see, and the people we will meet, and the lives that will be changed. I just never anticipated, never recognized how much our lives would be changed going down this path. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to say goodbye to family and friends that we deeply love. My children will have to say goodbye to the only family, church, friends, house, life they have ever known. And my heart has broken, again and again as I see what it is we are moving away from. But, instead of leaning into, throwing myself upon the loving, strong arms of my Guide I have been running in the other direction. No longer finding joy in our journey, or in any of the daily joys of my children, husband, friends around me. I have been refusing to soak it in, terrified of eventually having to let go of all of this. I thought I held everything with such an open hand, ready to move when God said go, ready to lay aside everything for His glory. Indeed I am not afraid of living a simple life, in point of fact I am looking forward to it, I am not afraid of the adventure of new lands, languages, faces, or friends. It is the leaving of those I so desperately love here, the chance that in this lifetime I might not ever see some of them again. And I cry, and mourn, and my heart turns to stone because I refuse to look upon the face of Love that wants to hold me in my hurt.
Thankfully, oh, how thankful I am that God hears our hearts when they are breaking, He has not left us without hope in the midst of our grief. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. And He has, He has given me rest, and so much more: Freedom! This does not mean He has changed my situation, we are still heading down the same path, but He has lifted the heavy yoke of sadness, the oppression of my enslavement to despair. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1. I am once again able to see Him, seek Him, worship Him, relish the joys of life and the smiles of my children and husband. The anger, frustration, and exhaustion are falling away and I am reminded of His goodness.
I know sadness will return again as we continue to move down this path and that if our lives continue in His great commission, sharing His wonderful Gospel light with the those lost in darkness, the grief will visit from time to time. But I will strive to not let it settle, I have been made free in Christ, I am no longer slave to those old ways and I no longer have to live in frustration and anger, turning away from my Love.
So as the new year dawns and with it all of the gambit of emotions, lessons, new and old things that my Father has in store, I choose to lean into His open arms of freedom. I choose to follow Him out onto the water, where there is mystery and unknown. I choose to call upon Him and seek His face above all that may arise.
Won’t you join me seeking Him above all else and choosing to embrace Him in all that He has for you?