Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
– 1 Corinthians 15:58-
As the new year rings in, I can’t help but reflect on where I sat three years ago. How different life was then. How different I was then. It seems like a lifetime ago. I remember how scared I was to get on that plane and leave behind everything that I had ever known. How I cried 5 times before even getting in the car the day I left for Uganda. Then proceeded to cry again pulling out of my driveway. I distinctly remember the fear that rested within me making me feel sick to my stomach as I just kept telling myself you just have to get on that plane…
Then two and a half days (and one plane engine failure later) I set foot on the continent I had dreamed about traveling to since I was a teenager. As I drove away from the airport that night marveling at the goodness of the Lord, all the fear just melted away. Little did I know as I rode in that car all that I would come to know, learn, and love. I thought I knew so much, but I had no idea…
I had no idea how the Lord would meet me and change my heart.
I had no idea how much I would grow as He stripped away my pride and blindness and replaced it with love and humanity.
I had no idea how much Acholiland would weave itself into the fabric of my soul.
I had no idea that I would come to learn that His goodness is not in the things He gives (in a place, a job, a person) but just in who He is.
I had no idea…
And I had no idea that over a year and half after coming home the desire to return would still be burning this fervently. One of the biggest lessons Uganda taught me was how to “just be”- be with the Lord, be with the ones I love, be present. And one thing this year has taught me is how much I still struggle daily with that. I’ve struggled with being content and present, being constantly rooted in the Lord, being here in the states.
My biggest prayer in these last six months has been for the Lord to root me where my feet are and I’ve been really bad at it. I’ve struggled with being intentional with the ones I love, being in the Word, in prayer, in wonder of the Lord. I’ve spent a lot of this year running and retreating from the fears and emotions I didn’t want to deal with. I’ve drug my feet surrendering to the Lord and obediently following Him wherever He leads even if it isn’t where I want to go.
But He has shown me such great patience and kindness, giving me glimpses and pieces of my hopes and longings while I’m here where I do not fully want to be. He’s humbled me so much this year. Reminding me everyday that none of this life is actually about me or what I want to do. It’s about glorifying Him and I’ve come to learn I am called to do that wherever I am.
I was drawn back recently to 1 Corinthians 15 and was overcome by the beauty of the words written on the page. These life-giving words (literally) tell us that when we are with Christ we are constantly changing. As we die to self, our hearts will never look the same. We no longer just bear the image of man, but hold onto the hope that one day we will bear the image of the heavenly man (1 Corinthians 15:48). Resurrected from: Corruption to incorruption. Dishonor to honor. Weakness to power. Natural body to spiritual body (1 Corinthians 1:42-44). This is the hope we proclaim. This is our purpose on earth: to draw others to the Lord so they may know His glory and rest in this hope. Our hope is not in the everyday things of this life and our labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15: 58). None of this life when lived for the Lord is in vain.
I can sit here dragging my feet and praying to be somewhere else (which I have done more than I would like to admit in the last year) and miss all the glory, wonder, and sweetness of where He’s calling me right now.
Miss the moments to show those around me more of His light and glory.
Miss the memories with family and friends that could one day be half a world away again.
Miss all the ways He’s showing up in the here and now, revealing Himself to us.
I’ll repeat it again because I need to hear it over and over…None of this life when lived for the Lord is in vain…even if the fear of never returning overseas is my reality, even if I return to folding shirts, even if I never make another dime, or have a family to call my own. Even if…
Life keeps teaching me one thing…The Lord is so so good. It is foundationally who He is. And the evidence of that is all around.
So what is the evidence of the Lord’s goodness in this season…
It’s chocolate pies, coffee dates, and hand-knit socks for loved ones. It’s Scripture studies and prayer and fellowship. It’s those moments of glory when the light shines just right through the room. Or running down the road, watching perfect vibrantly colored leaves fall all around me. It’s resting in the Lord even when I can’t see past tomorrow, even when the answer of if I will see the continent I love again is still unclear.
But when I finally set foot back on that continent, when and wherever that may be, it will be all the more sweeter. And I’m sure I’ll experience the Glory and goodness of the Lord in ways that I never thought were possible. But until that day comes, I will continue to fight to be present here as the Lord continues to change and surrender my heart, all while holding onto hope as He says just a little longer here…For He is in it all and He is still good and I desperately want others to come to know Him as deeply as I have had the privilege to!
Kuc Obed Kedi sweet friends. This life sure is a beautiful one.
One thought on “Chocolate Pies and Hand-Knit Socks”
Tearing up as I read your sweet and hard words! What a much needed reminder today. I’m thankful that we have a God that stays with us, even when our hearts are elsewhere.
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