I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve got a good thing going right now.
My husband has a good job with reliable benefits, and I get to stay home with my two little girls. My big kids are in schools they love (as much as any tween/teen can love school). In fact, Anna will be the first class in a brand new middle school next year. We live comfortably in a fairly new house in the suburbs, drive two dependable cars, shop at Costco and Target, and have an amazing church where we get to do what we love on a weekly basis. We have a wonderfully loving and supportive community, friends we’ve known since high school with kids the same ages as ours, and nearby family on both sides we get to see regularly.
We’re not “wealthy” by American standards (my kids will lament that their Xbox 360 and Wii are out of date and need to be replaced), but we are covering our essential bills, and that’s more than we deserve. Most importantly, I’m in a loving marriage with a man who treats me like a queen, and (besides a little bit of crazy and the occasional virus) we are all healthy and whole in our bodies – which, statistically, is its own miracle. Truly.
Kurt and I are in our mid-thirties with what seems like infinite possibility in front of us. As our kids get older, I can start to think about building a career, doubling our income, paying down debt (ugh with the school loans), and possibly even investing for retirement some day. We can finally start to think about making those upgrades in our home, giving back to our community, and making monetary investments in the next generation.
I mean, we’ve fought so hard. Overcome so much.
We’ve lived through the kind of poor that learns, when the utility guy comes to spray paint the location of the water main in the front yard, if I go out and scuff out the mark, it might buy us an extra day before they shut the water off. We’ve lived through free mini vans and donated Christmas presents. We’ve lived through enrolling our kids in their grandparents’ school district so they could get a decent education. We’ve lived through overnight in jail and 72-hour holds in the psych hospital and middle of the night phone calls about sudden, lethal heart attacks.
Don’t we deserve a break? Can we just enjoy what we’ve earned and live out the rest of our days in peace and quiet?
Isn’t this the gift, God? The easy yoke and light burden? Hasn’t all of the struggle just been leading up to a divine, peaceful rest?
On Sunday at Lifegate’s Greater Glory Conference, Pastor David Perkins from Radiant Church in Kansas City, spoke the cry of my heart in words I couldn’t find. (The link is embedded. It’s so worth a listen.)
See, in 2009, when my heart was so broken I literally could not stand the thought of living, the Creator of the Universe somehow saw me. Not only did He see me, He pursued me. And not only did He pursue me, He loved me when I fought and railed and cussed Him out and collapsed onto His chest. He adored me and held me and whispered hope and destiny into my ear. He breathed life into my brokenness and then stood, held out His hand, and invited me to walk with Him into the unknown future.
I’m telling you… When you have been in the presence of GOD, you do NOT want to leave. When you feel a love THAT HUGE, you will do literally anything to return that love. So, when He stood and extended His hand toward me, it did not even cross my mind not to take it.
OH GOD. I will live my whole life for you. There is nothing else in this world I need. You are IT.
We hang out, me and God. I talk to Him, He talks to me. It’s not a religious thing… He’s my Daddy. I mess up, I apologize, He bear hugs me. There’s no shame in His presence. No fear. No doubt in His goodness, even when things around me seem to be crumbling. He loves me for all of my good qualities and all of my ridiculousness. He has never failed me and He never will.
During one of our hang out times, God said to me, “I’m going to take you and your family out of the country,” and I said, “Ok…” And another time, He invited me to care about the Balkans, and I said, “I’m here!”
And when I looked back at my boat – my comfort… this really good thing I’ve got going right now – He said,
“Darling, what if this is about something bigger than just you?”
“Ok Abba, but what about my family? I mean, if it was just me I’d be there in a second, but don’t I have a responsibility to my kids to make sure they have the right kind of life?”
“I’m inviting them too! …Do you trust me?”
“There are things I want to work in them, too. Bring them along. I’ll take care of all of you.”
I don’t know if I’ve stated this explicitly yet, but God has changed the entire trajectory of thinking. I mean, He’s brewing something big, here. I can feel it. One year ago, Serbia and Macedonia were far away locations on a map. Now, they’re in me. The American dream isn’t my dream any longer. He’s put a bigger dream in my heart.
So, we’re leaving in about 4 months to head to Novi Sad for six weeks to serve the church, to visit Macedonia, and to do the Rock and Roll camp for the youth. We’re going there to listen to the Lord about our future in the Balkans. And we’re going there to plant some roots and make investments in the next invitation.
And we’re trusting God. We’re trusting Him for airline tickets that are currently running about $1500+ per person. We’re trusting Him for living expenses and camp expenses and other in-country costs. We’re trusting Him to provide a house-sitter here in Omaha and for Kurt to be able to continue to work his 9 to 5 overseas to cover our U.S. costs. We’re trusting Him for attitudes and health and medications and dreams and destinies.
“Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. Matt. 14:29
Why would I give up this good thing I’ve got going?
I dunno. Jesus, I guess. ❤