Time To Get Real

It’s no secret than in the past year and a half I’ve done a fair bit of travelling. I mean, only in comparison to the previous 25 years in which I did hardly any travelling.

Now I can say that there are parts of my heart in the Philippines, China, Kansas City, Korea. Not because I’m some hopeless romantic who dreams of being somewhere other than where she is…no, not at all.

I’ll let you in on a secret. I never wanted to be a missionary. It wasn’t a lifelong dream of mine to travel. My limited experience in the area had tricked me into believing I’d never have the means even if I had the desire.

What I wanted, desired, dreamed of, was marriage. And children, definitely children.

you can’t settle down if you’re always leaving town….

I thought that the more I moved around, the less chance I’d have of getting married. I might have even been right. But somewhere along the way I realised that Gods dreams are way bigger and, get this, more important than mine.

He gave me a vision one day of creation. Nations being formed and the sweet sound of worship rising up from them, before people even settled there. His dream from the start was for every nation, tongue and tribe to know Him as Lord and praise His name. As any good friend, I long to see this dream of His come true. I’d do anything to make it happen. This is why my heart belongs to so many nations as well as my own; because God has allowed me to see the part of HIS heart that longs for those places.

Do I love to travel now? Yes. Am I excitedly anticipating where my next trip will lead me? Of course! But only because of the bigger picture. A spontaneous holiday or city break will never entice me away from cups of tea in Bonnie Scotland and dreams of wedding bells. Only a glimpse of something more could convince me to give up everything I long for and follow
Jesus across the nations.

My true bridegroom is coming. I want everyone to know. That is why I long for foreign lands as well as long-lost friends.

I never wanted to be a missionary. But now I say ‘yes and amen’ Lord.

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Even In The Wilderness….

‘Even in the wilderness,
through confusion and barrennes
You are beautiful God.
Even in my brokenness,
through this pain I will confess
You are always good.’
(Housefires – Never Run Dry)

I haven’t written anything in a long time. Things have been, in a word, difficult. They still are. But something in the words of this song this morning spoke to me clearly – reminding me of what I already know; God is, has been and always will be good.

Since I returned from my travels I have been somewhat broken. At first it was just the longing to be back in the nations again, the frustration of changing plans and feeling grounded. After a few weeks this turned into the realisation that, for whatever reason, God is asking me to stay where I am for a while which only increased my frustration. 8 months ago I had a good job and my own little flat, which I loved. I gave these things up – these things which most people are desperately trying to get hold of – and poured everything into what God was telling me to do; go to Kansas City, grow in intimacy with Him, travel to the nations and share His love. I didn’t know what would happen next but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered this – my present state of unemployment and ‘homelessness’ – would be an option.

So I wasn’t entirely unprepared for this. I willingly chose to give up what I had for something better – walking in obedience and intimacy with Jesus. I knew what I was coming home to. I knew the questions I was going to face. But I wasn’t prepared for the rest.

Since I returned home from my travels, I have felt physically ill. I have felt weak and exhausted and ‘run-down’ and have had aching joints, mouth ulcers, stomach problems, swollen glands, blackouts. None of these things are really much to be concerned about. They are mostly pointers of stress and lack of rest. But they do not make life easy. They have not helped me settle easily into life back at home.

Since I returned home from my travels, I have faced family struggles. I have had my heart broken by people I love. I have had to watch others deal with their own heartaches.

Since I returned home from my travels, I have had to make tough decisions which have caused me to say ‘bye for now’ to friends who I love. This is particularly painful.

‘“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
    and bring her into the wilderness,
    and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards
    and make the Valley of Achor [trouble] a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
    as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
(Hosea 2:14-15)

Since I returned home from my travels God has spoken to me so clearly and so tenderly. I have been reminded each day of His faithfulness and his mercy. I have experienced a deeper measure of joy in His presence. I have found myself singing new songs of praise and worship to Him. I have felt emotionally and physically weak, but stronger spiritually than ever before.

Right now, I don’t know exactly what is going on. I don’t know why these things are happening or what will happen next but I know that through it all I am being drawn closer to God. In the past I have cried out to God during trials and clung on to Him in desperation, knowing that He is all I really have (and all I really need). This time, however, He has drawn me to Himself. When I don’t know what to cry about first and I’m too exhausted to even reach for Him, He picks me up and speaks truth over every situation.

‘A peace in the storm,
Your voice I will follow.
In weakess I rise remembering You hold my world.’
(Bethel – Anchor)

Thank you God, for who you are. For your constant comfort and encouragement. For empowering me to keep going every day. For your peace that truly does surpass my understanding and for hope, sure and steadfast, to anchor my soul.

Amen

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