I have been learning about Abraham from the Bible recently and am struck by his faith. I read this quote… “Like Abraham, we are called to regard ourselves as mere sojourners in this world, not so much because earth is fleeting and its values are transient, but because our true affinities are with the unseen and the eternal…Abraham was willing to wander because God called him to do so; he was separated from home and kin in order to be separated to God…” [Dwight Hervey Small].
God told him to go to a land he’d never seen, and he went. God promised him that he and his wife (who were near 100 years old at the time) would bear a child after they had never been able to conceive. Can you imagine? Being in your 90’s and becoming pregnant for the first time and having to do those sleepless nights, nursing, etc. That idea probably sounds RIDICULOUS! And in fact, Sarah (Abraham’s wife) laughed at the thought. Probably more out of disbelief than out of disrespect…because in spite of how impossible the idea sounded to her, God asked, “Is anything too hard or too wonderful for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14).
I was struck by their faith. And their patience. Their unwavering commitment to leave what they knew and to embark on a journey where they may never see the things promised to them…but their descendents would. And they still obeyed. F.B. Meyer said, “it was his unquestioning obedience that endeared him to God”. I want to have that unquestioning obedience.
We have come to a fork in the road and must make a decision on which way we are going to go. Do we stay at FamilyLife? Do we start back into the construction field? If so, do we do that in Arkansas or do we move back to Illinois?
We’ve been praying. And praying. And praying for direction. We’ve counseled with people, done a bible study, hashed it through and through and yet have not reached a decision…or even something mirroring a close decision. Each day it seems like we are on opposite pages…one wanting to stay here and the other wanting to move back and then the next day it switches.
Did I expect to fall in love with the south? No. Did I expect to fall in love with ARKANSAS?! No way. But I did. I had no idea 2 years ago when we moved here and began to meet people that they would begin to feel like family to us. I had no idea that I would experience this depth of community and richness of friendships. Our lives have been ruined [in a good way] by moving here. We are different people now than we were when we came. God has done some painful and major cleaning out & remodeling in our hearts & our marriage during our time here. My heart is tangled into this place and I don’t know where the end is to unravel it…I don’t think I ever want to.
Do I often miss IL? Yes, of course. Did I think it would be hard to be away from family, especially now with a baby? Yes, very. Do I yearn for the nearness of my family and friends up there & to be able to do life with them again? Yes. I miss them. Do I worry things will be completely different if we move back? Yes. Thoughts like “Will I fit in anymore?”, “Will my friends still be my friends?”, “Will I survive those winters again?”, “Will I forget so quickly this life?”...but my heart is tangled there, too. Deeply.
And yet sometimes I just want to run in a completely different direction as fast as I can from either of these because it “feels” easier…I can irrationally trick myself into thinking it wouldn’t hurt as bad if I just ran from both places I love so much…and what? Get my heart tangled somewhere else too? Bad idea.
There is a song that I’ve been repeatedly listening to lately…there is something about it that resonates with every fiber of where I am at right now. The chorus can be applied to anyone. It’s one of those songs that I just need to hear over and over. The line is simple. So simple. Yet it is so comforting through this unknown time.
“I don’t know what you’re doing, but I know Who You are” [JJ Heller- Who You Are].
Haven’t I been here before? In this very seat? Wondering what is next or how I’m going to make it through this next season? I mean, yes, the circumstances are completely different but my God is the same. He’s faithful. I’ve been learning about trusting the names of God and I don’t think it’s any mistake that this song has caught my attention at the same time… in order to know Who God is, I have to know Who He is. Isn’t it through the hardest times in my life that God has shown me, drawn me, taught me and held me in such a deep embrace? So, though this decision seems at times- daunting, life-changing, scary, unknown, full of challenges…. I know that the same God who has led me through valleys and mountains will not only be present but is working good and is working in ways beyond our understanding.
Who You Are- JJ Heller
So stayed tuned….eventually we will be making this decision!