Stories

Home was good. So good.I am sitting on a plane above the big blue waters and the bright twinkling stars reveling in the fact that we are leaving with such a sense of wholeness, knowing we were given full advantage to soak in and drink deep some of earth’s greatest pleasures. We are feeling plump with love and filled with encouragement. To everyone at home, we owe a big “thank you” for the embraces we received from each of you. You embraced us with love, smiles, reassurance, listening ears, Scripture, truth, gifts, and time. (Time is my favorite these days).

More than anything else, however, I’ve been blown away by people’s stories. We came home to tell our stories and we left blessed by yours! Amazed at the way God is writing them out. Encouraged by the way life is in motion. Obedience, faithfulness, and willing hearts have been in every direction I’ve turned over the past few weeks and what an incredible blessing that is to witness.

In the few short weeks we were home, my heart noticed these stories:

A family picking up and moving just before a baby is due so that they can land where God wants them, where He has ordained ministry for them.

Parents praying over a precious little boy and making really hard choices about how to love him best, even if it means giving him up, trusting that God can heal when we can’t.

A wife and a mom took a new job with great joy that God provided, feeling so ill equipped to meet expectations with perfection, yet trusting that where God calls He will also qualify.

A grandfather that has reached retirement and increasingly gives more of himself to serve others because, “Why not?”

Another set of grandparents that aren’t quite to retirement yet but instead of cruising into the end, they are rising daily to meet the Gospel head on.

Friends with high expectations for an adoption to clear, only to find out that they won’t be getting another child right now, and allowing the sadness to meet others with the peace of an all-knowing God.

People facing the battlefield of sicknesses that have made life less than ideal, or taken life itself, but still praising the God who gives and takes away.

A sister who believes in the least of these to become somebody, who is a friend to so many, who has seen potential to share the Truth at workout class and decided that is what she must do.

A husband and wife pursuing how to begin a new ministry, willing to give of themselves, buy a piece of land, strive in prayer, and trust that God will connect the dots. And He is.

Contractors. Football coaches. Teachers. Stay at home moms. Dentists. Fourth graders.  Artists. Business men. Etc….

I could write pages upon pages about people and their stories. It fires me up! On the foreign mission field, it’s easy to let yourself feel as if nothing else is going on around you, as if all other stories cease to be written. You get zoned in, tunnel vision if you will… encompassed by the great problems of your area, how you relate to them, what prayers you need answered, what needs are essential, how to plan for the future, and your whole world slowly begins to revolve around this one mission. And it’s easy to believe that everyone serving alongside you is a part of the same exact story as you or not part of one at all.

But that’s not the case. God is meeting us all on very specific and unique grounds. Our stories are being written by the same Author, but they are each filled with details that make them precisely our own. There is heartache, celebration, courage, cowardice, surrender, joy, and brokenness woven throughout most of the human experience, but the theme that seems to resonate most boldly throughout the pages of these stories is God’s faithfulness. He is there. He is good. He is watching, guiding, and loving. Our stories are in motion and God is constantly moving to make something great of them so that He in turn can make something great of Himself. He allows us to be a part of shedding light on His glory!

As we head back across the great big ocean and a familiar loneliness starts to creep into my heart, I am overjoyed to close my eyes and reflect on the stories God is writing all around me. He is using you. He is using us. And He is being faithful. You all are a blessing to us and it was an absolute privilege to soak you in this summer. We are hopeful and  excited to watch the Author and Perfector of our faith continue to write incredible stories through obedient people. God is good all the time and what a pleasure it is to see that goodness at work all around us. We love and will miss you all. Until next time....

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[pictures and more thoughts from our time at home coming soon!]

[For now, we just walked in the door and are gonna take a stab at kicking jet lag's butt with a good night's sleep tonight!]