Pardon me if I seem a bit weepy. It’s just, I’m that sixteen year old girl once again. She’s sitting on an airplane, first time in her life, leaving behind everyone and everyplace she’s ever known and loved. As the plane begins its’ skyward ascent, an announcement from the speaker mentions that the air traffic controllers would like to say a “good luck and happy travels” to Dayna as she makes her way to a summer in Africa.
My uncle is on duty and his message makes me sob. There’s no turning back now. Underneath the excitement and adventure of hiking around Mount Kilimanjaro, sharing the Jesus Film with the Chaga tribe, there’s a subconscious understanding. This faith step will change me, and when I return to my home, I will not be the same. It's like I am announcing with my uncle, "goodbye Dayna", make way for change.
Since that summer twenty-four years ago, I’ve experienced that deep groaning of unknown journeying multiple times. It’s true, the faith steps I take change me, sometimes bringing great joy and other times excruciating pain. The current anxiety inside of me feeds on the unknown outcome. Will it be pain or joy this time?
This time around it’s foster care. I’ve wrestled with the nagging voice for a few years and now we are certified. There’s a happy baby lying beside me as I type.
Yet I know, this is no picnic our family is in for. There will be pain. There will also be joy. Mostly, I’m confident that this new endeavor will illuminate my mind and heart with more of Jesus. I’ll gain new understanding and insight that will forever change me and my perspectives on things. This often comes with what feels like open heart surgery. As Bob Pierce, prayed, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”
Luke 9. 51 tells us “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Of course, Jerusalem meant the cross.
The time approaches for me too, sooner or later I do not know. But I want to know Christ, to become like him in his sufferings, as Paul says, and so to become like him. As I await my time to be taken up to heaven, let me resolutely set out for whatever he calls me to. I trust him, for he is good, even if he is unpredictable. I know he’s faithful to complete the work he is doing in me.
There’s a chorus to a Sarah Groves song that says:
I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt
Leaving out what it lacks
The future looks so hard
And I want to go back.
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I’ve learned
Those roads were closed off to me
While my back was turned.
So we’re off, not to Africa this time, but into the vast wilderness of orphans and adoption, foster care and brokenness, diapers and bottles, questions and learning, and oh so much more than I can imagine. I’m clinging to Jesus, the one who holds it all together even when I fall apart.
07 July 2017
When I first turned sixteen and obtained a driver’s license, I made a deal with myself that I would still bike and walk places. I did not want to become someone who couldn’t get around without a car. Most of the rest of my reasoning as a sixteen year old driver was awful. But this decision serves me well even twenty-four years later.
Now that I’ve lived in a small town for four years, I can say I’ve walked nearly everywhere, though seven months of the year I’m pretty limited by cold temps. Even then, when I start to feel like I may go crazy, I do battle with the temperature, bundle up, and stomp around my neighborhood block, just to defy the frigid demon that wants to steal my sanity.
Today, though, I just want to tell you a couple funny small town stories.
Last week, as we perused Downton Dollar Days, where the businesses set out merchandise they want to get rid of, some cute Christmas ornaments caught my eye. The bookstore owner handed my kids cups of root beer and then eyed me, deciding he was going to make a sale and get rid of twenty of them once and for all. I asked him how much they were. With an evil gleam in his eye he asked how many I wanted. I said three. He set his jaw and told me I could have three for a dollar each or I could take them all for three dollars. I told him he was naughty, and then I walked away with way too many cloth animal Christmas ornaments. Thankfully, I got a really great deal on a kids’ book series I’d been wanting, and he confirmed I had a good eye. So we’re still friends.
This morning I went through airport security. The security man who called me through the x-ray scanner has eaten dinner at my home. His kids hang with mine and I chat with his wife pretty often. Unfortunately I’d forgotten to take my earbuds out of my back pants pocket and it was a horrifying moment when the machine showed a big red area to pat over my right buttocks. He’d also had to tell me to take off my lightweight jacket, under which I just had a scanty running shirt on.
Awkward and funny. Thank goodness for regulations that require a female to come do the patting.
Anyway, small towns are funny that way. This one is growing on me.
31 January 2017
On a whim, I typed “dinner out with Brian” on our merged calendars one Thursday night.
So we sat across from each other, next to the cozy fireplace in our town’s Famous Barbeque restaurant, I feverishly working to find meals for us that weren’t full of sugar, gluten, or dairy. And were reasonably priced. This barbecue restaurant wasn’t cooperating with my economically healthy food desires.
Brian humored me by going along with this food plan, but I was starting to sweat guilt that he wouldn’t get to enjoy his sweet ribs and coleslaw.
After my hundredth fretting question to him, he grabbed my hands and looked me straight in the eyes. “This isn’t about the food. It’s about being with you.”
What do you say to that except “oh?" And sigh in relief.
This is what God says to each of us, actually. To you, specifically.
He’s not looking for anything from you. He truly wants to know you, to be with you. Rest in that with me, yes?