I didn’t write a single blog post in 2019.
While we’re truth-telling, I suppose I could’ve entitled my last post, “When You’re a Struggling Returned Overseas Worker” because that’s where I was at the end of 2018. We had chosen to return to Canada midway through 2018. Then, ultimately, we chose to leave our missions organization at the end of 2018. It was painful.
The pain came as I still felt called to serve among Tai and Thai people, my husband had vision for a new project in Thailand and we sincerely loved and appreciated our missions organization. But when we prayed and sought the Lord, we simply felt that God was opening up a new chapter in Canada for us.
The new chapter has stretched us. Muscles stiff to unfamiliar movements and directions – tearing, repairing, and slowly strengthening. The pain has been as much physical as it has been spiritual and emotional.
I don’t have all the answers but I wanted to share just two of the many things that have helped me this past year. If you find yourself in the beginning of something new – a new move, a new job, a new country or maybe even a recent return to your passport country – keep these two things in mind:
- Remember you’re not alone.
Others have gone before you and many will come after you. There are excellent companions for the journey all around and some may surprise you.
Not only will you have people who can relate to what you’re going through, the Lord Jesus himself is with you. He experienced great transition, loss, stretching periods and challenges of trusting His Heavenly Father. Call out to Him for help, strengthening and provision. “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” Psalm 18:6, NIV
- Trust the Lord.
If God has led you to something new, lean on Him and trust Him that it’s okay to put your whole heart into the new thing. Acknowledge your losses but also embrace what the Lord has prepared for you by grabbing hold with both hands whatever it is that He has set before you.
Niki Hardy, a fellow hope*writer, wrote about this in her book, “Breathe Again: How to Live Well When Life Falls Apart”:
“The real question is, How do we let go? I know it’s easier said than done, and I’ve found that it helps to think of letting go and holding on as one complete action. I can’t hold God’s promises if my hand and heart are full of the fear of my cancer returning.
“…Trusting God is simultaneously a letting go of what we think will make everything better and a holding on to the promise that with him everything is better.”(p. 98-99)
Following through with that simple act, one releases their grasp and lets go – midair and carried with momentum… and the Spirit.
“I’m still learning to lean into the cracks and tears of my life and choose to thank God for them. It’s not easy but it is possible, and as William Wordsworth is rumoured to have said, “To begin, begin.” Let’s dive in, whether we feel like it or not, knowing and trusting the water we dive into is the living, life-giving water of the One whose abundance we crave.”(p. 171, Nicki Hardy, Breathe Again)
And so, as another year unfolds, another year in this new chapter of life, I make an intentional choice to trust God wholeheartedly – with both hands and both feet. I recognize those around me who are on this similar journey – perhaps even you, my reader. And I continue to begin again.
Let’s journey on together.