Thursday, March 17, 2011

Journal Entry

January 10, 2011
At church yesterday, Pastor Frank preached on Hannah and the story of her determined strength to pray earnestly for something, faithfully wait for God to answer, then sacrificially give it back to God. Although my situation is not related to bearing a child, I feel like I understand a little of what Hannah went through. Gil and I have prayed earnestly about something, waited on God to answer in his timing, and now we are preparing to sacrifice something. 
A long season of prayer began for us when God dropped something into our hearts- a small seed of an idea to pioneer ministry at the University of Connecticut. At different times, God spoke to each of us about relocating our family, handing off our ministry, and starting over in another small, northern town. We talked together about it and began praying about all it entailed. We allowed it to just sit in our hearts and grow. This tiny seed of an idea began to develop a small and fledgeling sprout.  Over the course of many months, we waiting on God to direct us to the next step in the process. 
Eventually, we began to feel the urge to speak with those in our life that would help us make this happen.Waiting, lots of waiting. But our waiting wasn’t static, it was kinetic. We stayed busy while we waited. We busied ourselves with ministry right where we were. We put a cap on the little seed growing and waited for permission to take the lid off and give it more sunshine. Then one day, we got a phone call. 
We were asked if we still felt called to go pioneer at the University of Connecticut. A quick affirmative answer sent our minds racing forward. Lots of conversing and brainstorming happened. Interviews, assessments, assignments given. Trips made. Timeline established. We were going. 
Now, the sacrificing part. It’s exciting to start a new adventure. It’s invigorating to scan the horizon and see all new opportunities. But it’s scary leaving all things familiar. It’s hard walking away from all of the wonderful people God has brought into our lives, all of the support and encouragement surrounding us. Fear of potential loneliness approaches. Moving away from the home “God built” for our family- the place where I brought my girls home from the hospital after their births, the place we’ve packed with more students than the fire department would deem safe, the place that I have spoken with, cried to, yelled at, and sat with God. Am I really doing this? The place that I can clean entirely during the length of a good afternoon nap. Yep- that’s the place I am packing all my family’s stuff up and moving away from. 
Asking all these questions- and finding answers for a few of them- has caused me to realize the breadth of the sacrifice I am making- or better yet- the smallness of the sacrifice I am making. When it compares to the sacrifices Jesus has made for me- or the sacrifices that countless followers of Christ throughout history has made for the purpose of furthering the gospel- or the sacrifice my friends make daily as they choose to live in communities we, Americans, would say is substandard and hazardous to one’s health- my sacrifice is miniscule. Untangling the entrapping strings of this world gives a lightness to one’s step- kind of like the purging a family does as they pack to move. A purging, filtering, straining that I am anticipating with hopefulness. 
Realizing that we are leaving behind so many wonderful things is hard, but when you sit that sadness next to the bigness of God, it doesn’t seem so huge anymore. I can be ok- even is for just a moment at a time- with walking away from the beauty of a home I always hoped for. 
Hannah, thanks for being brave and tough as you prayed for a child. Thanks for committing that child to God and sacrificing him back to the Lord. Thank you for realizing that you have a great, big God who is capable of so much. Thank you for waiting and wanting- and not giving up on that desire of your heart! ~Me. 

1 comment:

Annie said...

I read this and am thankful for the time I've had with you and your dear ones nearby. And even as I weep,again,I trust that we will stay close, but oh, my dear, I will miss you so.