You are there to be the presence of the Lord God, the presence of Christ, the presence of the Spirit, the presence of the Gospel-this is your function on this particular day.
God has never said that when you walk into a situation in His own Name, He will be crucified and you will be the risen one. You must be prepared to walk into situations, one after the other, in God’s name, to walk as the Son of God has done: in humiliation and humility, in truth and ready to be persecuted and so forth. Usually what we expect when we fulfill God’s commandments is to see the marvelous result at once . . . It doesn’t happen that way. You must pay the cost and very often you get hit hard. Bloom, Beginning to Pray.
Exactly one year ago our family set out to make a big move. We were leaving Waco, TX where I had done my family practice residency to live in a small stone cabin on a 7,000 acre ranch outside of Leakey, TX (population 400). It was more than a physical move, Michael had been filling the role of stay at home dad while I finished my training and with this move came a change we were excited about. He could support us letting me spend the time with Zenie that I longed for. The place where we were moving was beautiful. In central Texas there is a unique area called the Hill Country, it is bursting with rivers which have etched deep canyons into the countryside, totally different than what most people picture when they think Texas. Beyond this Michael was excited about the work he would be doing, a diverse job that would let him wear the many hats that he enjoyed of both rancher and priest, visionary and creative.
We had prayed for an opportunity like this and were amazed that God had made it happen. After months of pursuing different avenues, none of which really felt right, we were both confident that this was it. The same week we decided to move out to the ranch we sold our house, our car and our trailer, all the pieces fell together in a way that felt nothing short of divine.
There were a few bumps in the road over the first few months but overall we were excited to be where we were. Living in open country fed my soul in ways I could have never imagined. And exploring rivers, caves and remains of old homesteads with Zenie filled me up after having spent so much time apart from her in her first year. Michael enjoyed his work and we had begun to develop meaningful friendships.
About six months into our new position our bumps started getting bigger. Then one day in October our bump became a mountain. We were asked to leave. Our last day would be December 31. No explanation.
We moved on New Years Eve in the middle of an ice storm. Now we live in a dilapidated manufactured home next to the interstate and a trailer park. Michael is working part time doing data entry for a telecommunications firm.
We have lots of ideas of where we would like to live. We feel like God has given us a vision for ministry for years and we feel called to it, but don’t know yet how we are supposed to carry it out. Everything is a question, where we should go and what our next steps should be.
Of course we could just move and get new jobs and start over, we are totally capable of that. But as a family seeking to carry out a ministry that God has laid on our hearts, we want to feel His leading and be confident at least in the direction He would have us go before we begin making commitments.
So for now, we are just waiting. Our house has a sewer leak that makes it stink like an animal stable in the morning and it is cold and drafty so the windows are taped up with duct tape and plastic wrap (just to lighten this up a bit, I’ll mention that the clear plastic covering a window makes a great light source for shooting photos).
The chorus that I struggle to keep silent but battles to run through my head is, “I hate it here, I really hate it here.” I do enjoy the town we are in and the people in our lives. But I hate this falling down house, I hate seeing my talented husband unable to use his gifts, I hate not feeling like we are part of something, feeling like we have no direction.
Yet I am sure this is exactly where God wants us. I am sure we made the right choice to move when we did and I am sure that we would follow if we were being called somewhere else (trust me, we would follow).
God has never said that when you walk into a situation in His own Name, He will be crucified and you will be the risen one.
I know you may be facing a struggle much worse than this, we have dear friends whose children are sick and will not recover, whose marriages are falling apart, who are deep into depression and addiction.
Wherever we are, we are called to be the presence of the Lord God, the presence of Christ, the presence of the Spirit, the presence of the Gospel. This is our function.
Following God isn’t about demanding that He give me a better situation or insisting that He speak up and show me the way to go. It is about living in brokenness and trusting that God will redeem all things. Trusting that He is redeeming all things.
As to the day, if you accept that this day was blessed of God, chosen by God with His own hand, then every person you meet is a gift of God, every circumstance you will meet is a gift of God, whether it is bitter or sweet, whether you like it or dislike it. It is God’s own gift to you and if you take it that way, then you can face any situation (Bloom, Beginning to Pray).
Let’s do it then, will you do it with me? Let’s face today, the best that we can. Not by our strength but His. Not pretending away our hurt or disappointment but living here and now, broken and present and seeing the gift that God has for us today.