Saturday, December 07, 2013


Besides the obvious reason --- we've had tons of stuff to do in preparation for moving to Africa --- there is another reason that I went about a month with no new blog posts.

I have really been struggling.

For the last five or six years, I have been dreaming of moving to Swaziland. At times, I have been downright giddy. Okay, a lot of times.

Once God told us over three years ago that we were moving for sure, we've been preparing. After all, last year we sold our farm and got rid of all our pets so we could move here to We Will Go for a time of training and transition.

But all along, the reality of the move seemed so far away.

People would say "wow, what a sacrifice you are making" or "I could never do what you are doing" and I would respond with something like, "this isn't hard for me because it is a dream come true --- I feel like I've won the sweepstakes".

Now don't get me wrong, I am still fully committed to moving to Africa. I have not doubted for even a second that we have heard correctly from God. I just didn't anticipate how hard the actually leaving and going would be. I knew it would be hard to leave my college daughters behind and other friends and family, but until it is actually getting close to the real goodbyes, it just doesn't sink in.

Last month in Swaziland we were faced with a lot of realities. The huge magnitude of what we were doing hit us square in the face. The ministry aspect --- how do we juggle all the demands and focus only on what GOD wants us to be doing --- as well as the everyday life aspect. When I lived in Swaziland in the 80's as a single missionary, it was Disney World compared to this. The Baptist Mission board and missionary family took care of so many of the details for me. I didn't have to choose insurance, sign lease contracts, buy a vehicle, or factor in a family full of children in the equation. It was just little ole me. Now there are a whole lot more people impacted by the decision.

Jim says that he "counted the cost" back when he first heard God calling him to move to Africa. I didn't. I was so focused on the sweet babies, the beautiful girls, the fatherless boys, the struggling widows, and the amazing Swazis serving the Lord faithfully that I didn't think about the cost.

Since our trip last month, I have been counting the cost. I've realized that I will most likely never attend any of Betsie's parent-daughter weekends at MUW. I've realized that many of the people who are a part of my life will never be seen again this side of Heaven. We're not making any plans to move back Stateside. At this point, we are moving for good. Unless God tells us differently somewhere down the road, we will be buried in African soil. That means we don't put stuff in storage for someday. We have to get rid of a lot of stuff. Stuff like Jim's grandmother's bedroom furniture and the dried flowers from a bouquet he sent me as a new bride. We're not going off for a two year Journeyman adventure, we're making a new life. A life all the way across the ocean very far away from our parents, our grown daughters, our friends, our church, our colleges, our hometowns, our American lives.

I have cried a lot these last few weeks.

I have purged and packed.

I have thrown away and bought needed things.

I have cried some more.

And said a lot of goodbyes.

I have also held on tight to God and what He has shown me and taught me.

He is worth it all. He is so worth more than all of it and more.

Everywhere I turn, there are songs, sermons, and quotes that remind me of the real reason that we are doing this.

I read once that if you go be a missionary because of the orphan or the homeless person or the trapped prostitute that in the long run, and when it gets really hard, that they won't be enough to get you through. It has to be because God told you to go and you love Him too much to not go.

Yes, I love those sweet Swazi children.

But I really, really love my own two daughters and so many others here in America.

And I will be brutally honest here, there have been two or three times this past month when I have said "lord, only because of You am I going".

Jim and I both have said that though this is probably the very hardest thing we've ever done, there is no turning back. We know, know, know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is absolutely God's will for our life. We know that there will be times when our hearts are breaking with missing our kids and other loved ones. We know that there will be times when ministry seems to be failing and the culture seems overwhelming. We know that there will be times that we don't know where the provision is coming from and we're scared and confused. We know there will be times of anger and stress and sadness.

But we cling to the anchor that is Him.

He is the God who has lead and equipped and provided and will continue to lead and provide and equip.

We know that He has spiritual children waiting on us. We know that He has plans that He has designed just for us to walk. We know that His plan and His ways are so much better than ours. We know that the life that He offers is so much more satisfying than the one we have now, even though it will not always be easy.

We know all these things and yet we grieve. This is a season of mourning mixed with celebration.

We are letting go of a wonderful, rich, love-filled life for something new.

We both expect our new life in Swaziland to also be a wonderful, rich, love-filled life but it will be different. It won't be here. And that is both good and hard.

So if you see us this month, don't be surprised if we laugh, cry, rejoice, and lament all in the same conversation. I am so thankful that Jesus walked this earth. He empathizes. He knew on this earth what it costs to follow His Father. That path of obedience led to the cross.

Now in no way do I compare my life to the life of Jesus. He left Heaven and its glory for this earth and then gave his life in a brutal death. God asking me to move to the beautiful nation of Swaziland to live and love is no comparison. But what it reminds me if Jesus understands. He knows I'm just a mere mortal. He knows how it is to love and leave behind. He knows the pain of watching his loved ones mourn his departure. He is so sweet and merciful to me. He understands our pain. What a gift that is and just another reason why He is so worthy.

He is worth it. Worth it all.

All the things we are giving up, all the culture we are leaving behind, all the people we'll be apart from, all of this and more ... He is worth it.

I pray that through this season, we will learn to love Him even better. I pray my kids will learn to love Him more than anything. I pray that we will always, always, always be willing to go and do and be whatever He wants because He is so incredibly worth it all.

Thankful to have Pastor Dumasani to lead the way for us.  He truly is walking out His faith. #lovelookslikesomething #siyahamba #walkinginthelightofgod #maliyaduma #swaziland #swazilandtripnovember2012

"Take up thy cross and follow Me," I heard my Master say;
"I gave My life to ransom thee, Surrender your all today."
Wherever He leads I'll go, Wherever He leads I'll go,
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I'll go.

He drew me closer to His side, I sought His will to know,
And in that will I now abide, Wherever He leads I'll go.
Wherever He leads I'll go, Wherever He leads I'll go,
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I'll go.

It may be thru' the shadows dim, Or o'er the stormy sea,
I take my cross and follow Him, Wherever He leadeth me.
Wherever He leads I'll go, Wherever He leads I'll go,
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I'll go.

My heart, my life, my all I bring To Christ who loves me so;
he is my Master, Lord, and King, Wherever He leads I'll go.
Wherever He leads I'll go, Wherever He leads I'll go,
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I'll go.

No comments: