Monday, September 6, 2010

A vagabond's questions

So get ready for another deep post. I can't help myself really.

I am reminded of yet another quote by one of my favorite teachers from college, Nita Steiner.

"Father is more concerned with the location of your heart rather than your geographical location."

Let us dig in a little deeper, shall we?

Many times we get caught up in the "big" will of Father, wondering where our place in His plan fits... wondering what the big program, the big vision, the big cahoona is. I think it's much more than that to be honest. And yet, maybe much simpler.

Maybe I should start with my personal testimony on the matter. At age 11 I was clearly called to overseas work, and gladly accepted it. I went on every overseas trip I could in junior high and high school, attended the best college I could, and married my dream husband to journey with me in our calling. I had it all planned out. I did not want to live in America much longer after marriage, and was waiting patiently-no, scratch that- impatiently for our overseas assignment to become evident.

And then it happened. We were offered a position in America. We smiled charitably at the thought - haha, no thanks. But we did what a good person should do and prayed about it, convinced the answer would be no.

Boy were we wrong.

The answer was YES, clear as day. Dumbfounded and shocked, we packed up or life, moved, and, well, settled down! The exact opposite of what we ever planned on doing. Through it all I was confused as all-get-out, wondering why in the world the Father who so clearly called me to live overseas was so now clearly calling me to STAY.

Over the course of those next three years, Father did some deep, painful, tender work on our hearts, bursting out of the box we had so carefully put Him in. During this time I was reminded of something I read in college... "If you are not willing to go {overseas} then you are not equipped to stay. And if you are not willing to stay, then you are not equipped to go."

There you have it friends. I was definitely not willing to stay, so therefore I was not equipped to go. I wanted to go so badly that I actually lost sight of the One I wanted to go for. Funny how our focus gets shifted off Father and lands on our goals instead. Its a slow, obscure journey that sneaks up upon us like a thief in the night.

After almost 3 years of "settling" in our home country, I slowly developed a different heart. My heart became tender for my own country, the needs before me down the street and to the left. I suddenly saw my world through different eyes, and the song by Brandon Heath "Give me your eyes" became my life song. I had fallen in love with my country, and burned with passion for it's souls. I was finally happy. And comfortable...

And then He called us.


Change, yet once again. This had been my dream all along, yet why did my heart ache with the same disappointment as before, when I was dreading staying?

And yet, with the same clarity and peace, we knew without a shadow of a doubt we were to leave. My heart broke as we said goodbye to family and friends, and took our 8 month old daughter with us. I couldn't understand why Father kept calling us to places at the times when we finally felt comfortable.

And here I sit, typing from a computer oceans away from my home, yearning for loved ones, yet bursting with excitement over the opportunities Father sets before us daily in our new home.

And it is here, yet again, that I reminded that Father is so after my heart. He is jealous for me. He is jealous for my devotion and attention. How can He keep my attention when I am distracted and comfortable? I don't have all the answers. I don't know why my parents have to pay the price for our calling by not seeing their only granddaughter. I don't know why I can't spend these next precious few years with my grandfather. All I do know, is that I willingly gave myself to Father, and when He called, I answered.

I read a book once which basically said that many people don't completely give themselves to Father, their ears are closed to His calling. Therefore, they don't go. (And when I say "go", it is referring to anywhere, any state, any city, not just overseas) But when the passionate, burning heart says "yes" to Father, He takes their vow seriously. Very seriously.

Think about the amazing pillars of faith in the bible. They were wanderers, vagabonds, broken people who followed Father wherever He called. How could Joseph have saved his father and brothers if he had not been sold into slavery and later ended up in Egypt? I bet he cried out to Father wondering why he couldn't share life with his precious father whom he loved so dearly. I bet Jacob cried out to Father wondering why He'd taken his most precious son away from him. And then, years later, Father reunites them and uses Joseph to literally save their lives from a famine.

So I can't help but wonder, maybe the future holds the opportunity for me to share life with my family. Maybe it doesn't. But the choice I make today, the willing heart to follow Father wherever He calls me, is very, very crucial.

Sometimes there are things, kinks you could say, that need to be worked out in our lives... and they just aren't getting worked out where we currently are. Who knows? Maybe in the place He's calling you, He's going to do an incredible work on your marriage. Or maybe He has something awesome planned for your child there. Or maybe He wants you to meet your future best friend. Or maybe you will learn the biggest lesson of your life there. You.just.never.know.

I am praying over this post as I type, asking Father to work on hearts all around the globe. I challenge you, if you haven't already, set aside time, talk to Father, and then listen. Let Him call you. Let Him lead you. It may be down the street, it may be a day's drive west, and it may be a plane ride over the ocean, but whatever it may be, it is crucial.

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