W A N D E R I N G.
and other hard things.
For forty years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. For forty years the Promised Land appeared to be a daunting task, an incomplete promise. Imagine the landless nation of Israel, becoming acquainted with their God in the desert.
I feel as if I can’t really dig into this whole time of transition, if I don’t first share the current place of my heart.
I spent 3 months in Nicaragua. I got back into the states on Nov 29. The participants left Dec 1. I left Dec 2.
I’ve been home for a little bit less than a month and a half. Yet, I already have a new job, I’m learning a new language (slowly), and I’m trying to get involved in a new church (bittersweet).
In the world of missions (and various other aspects of Christianity and overseas travel) we use the term “processing.” Processing just means making emotional space to reflect on what happened and what it looks like to move forward.
With an empty schedule before me, coming home meant spending a significant amount of time processing. It was a bitter process indeed. At first my eyes only saw the difficult moments, the hardships. My heart was raw. The pain was real. I needed the space to sort out the truth from the lies.
As I discovered the lies and combatted them with scripture, I still found myself questioning whether or not I made any impact, whether or not my leadership was accepted, whether or not my presence made a difference.
Sure, there were moments when I would say to myself, clearly this was impactful or that changed a perspective. Still, it felt like I was continually wrestling with the notion that my value was measured by 3 months in a foreign country.
But the more I wrestled the more I realized that I had moments, sweet moments of surrender to God. I had times where I said the hard things, where I shared my heart, where I proclaimed the truth of the gospel. In reality, if I submit all I do to the Lord, failure really isn’t an option (or at least failing in a way that doesn’t ultimately bring glory to him).
That mere realization allowed me to start being thankful for the good. Truth. Relationships. Vulnerability. Baptisms. Donuts (they brought a lot of good).
For one reason or another, the Lord asked me to be a part of it. And I was faithful. It’s not about the impact I make; it’s about the impact he makes and my choice to continually say yes.
I’d be lying if i said my heart is fully healed. Will it ever be on this side of heaven?
I’m not ashamed to feel deeply, to wander into the chaotic, find healing, only to discover that there’s more that needs to be healed.
I’m currently in the process of having grace for myself. I remember so clearly the moments that I said the wrong thing or did the wrong thing, that I felt so small, that I didn’t say enough, or push others enough, or follow up. I think of the times that I didn’t love to the best of my ability, or chose to be passive aggressive instead of honest, or held my tongue for fear of my words being ignored. There were so many instances where I fell short and I feel that mere apologies cannot suffice.
I came home and mulled over the idea that I am burden rather than an instrument of his mercy, even though scripture would say otherwise.
My wandering has been an arduous task where I feel as if I’m on a conveyor belt I can’t stop. Yet, I must dig deeper into the hurt in order to see more and more of his goodness. I must seek out truth even when uprooting lies cause me pain. It is hard, but it is so good and causes me to delight in the beauty I see around me.
I say all this to remind you that the Israelites wandered for forty years! Many died. They faced hunger. And few were continually faithful.
But you can wander well, my friends, even if you never see the Promised Land. Forty years of wandering was also forty years of God’s providence. It just depends on how you look at it.
Manna today does not mean that the pangs of hunger won’t come again tomorrow. It means that my trust is required for tomorrow as well.
“he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” -Deuteronomy 8:3
-A World Changer (or a college graduate with a new job and mediocre time management skills, whichever is more accurate)