Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It's just a year-

The last year has been a bit odd. Last year at this time we were planning the boys birthday party, buying flights to China, gathering up girl clothes and toys, and preparing our house to leave for a few months. We really had no idea what the next months held for us. We figured we would come to America, get her surgery done and go back to India in 2 months or so. That was not exactly what the Lord had for us. We knew when there was a swallow issue, that it was not going to be as quick as a surgery recovery. We ended up in Benton (45 min from my parents house, where we were staying) because that's where they did the therapy she needed. The same week her therapy started a house opened up 5 min from therapy, so we moved there. I wanted to go back to Arkadelphia to my parents church every weekend. It was the church I grew up in and I wanted stability. We did it for a while, but one weekend we decided to try a church here. That's when things started to look up.

We knew we were here just for a short time, so why did we get involved in a church? Why did we make friends and allow the relationships to get deep? I know how hard goodbyes are, and the more intimate you befriend people, the more you do life with them, the harder it is for you to go- and for your friends who are staying. But we did. We dove in headfirst. We sang in the choir, we went to church every time the door was open, we visited home bound, we ate in homes, drank coffee together, we had play dates with our kids. We soul searched and laughed together. We held each other accountable and talked about fears and struggles. We loved deeply. And now its going to be hard to leave. So why did we make it harder on ourselves? Because we love community. We know the importance of being not just a follower of Christ, but a disciple maker and that takes time and energy and investment. It involves laughing and crying together, being there in joys and fears, and loving people in the midst of their muck. (which also means YOU are loved just for who you are, warts and all) I love community in that whenever someone comes to a community they not only bring something new, but they change the atmosphere of the original community. And the person that choose to open up and invest not only changes the community they were involved in, but they never leave the same. We touch each other in so many ways, and if we had chosen to stay just in the relationships of people that we knew and kept new people at arms length- knowing the pain of goodbyes all to keenly- what joys we would have missed out on. I said the other day that my new friends ruined me. I realized that even my sense of style and color theme I am designing for our new house in our new city in my head has changed to use colors I did not like before! That is what can happen on the inside spiritually too. We can see the spirit moving in new ways as we see people using their different gifts for Him and it challenges us to want to use our talents and gifts for Him too. I can't even imagine how I would have gotten through the past months without my friends and community here. They validated my feelings of discontent and frustrations of not knowing where we would live next or how long we would be here... but they did not let me stay in the place of discouragement or frustration. They gave me hope that God had not forgotten us and that in His time we would see His plan and until then, we walk by faith with what we know to do.

I challenge you to seek out the people who are going to be around even for a season and love on them. It made all the difference in our lives as we have been in transition. Open up and let them feel invited even though you know it will be harder when they leave if you do. If you are a transitional person, let yourself be vulnerable and go ahead and make friends and do more than just get by until life is "normal" again. The quality of your time in a waiting season or transition can be determined by your relationships- with God and with His people, and those who He wants to be His people. So get our there and put your investment in the things with eternal value!