I’m a child of the 80s, so I was conditioned by Hollywood to expect radical, miraculous, four-minute transformations set to super hype music.
You know… training montages! Rocky IV, The Karate Kid, Bloodsport… the heroes all start out with zero skill whatsoever and, during the course of a very motivating song, they become masters of their own destinies.
Other movies have done the same thing. It’s a plot-moving device, and it’s super effective. The main character improves on a skill (or many skills), and the audience gets to bebop along instead of watching the hours and hours and hours of repetitive, dry, painful, non-glamourous actual work it would take to achieve that sort of transformation.
But boy do we love a good before and after. Whether it’s an extreme home makeover, a flipped house, a physical makeover, or a beautiful meal crafted from a basket of random ingredients, there is something deeply satisfying about a 30-45 minute transformation. I can almost feel the ooooohhhh woooooow just rising up in me.
In actuality, we all know that there are hundreds (sometimes thousands) of work hours, dollars, or preparation hours spent behind the scenes in all of the before and during. But who wants to sit and watch all of that? I mean, were you part of waiting for April’s baby giraffe to be born? The waiting in real time for weeks before he finally came out? How boring was that waiting footage? People actually started to believe the pregnancy was a hoax!
God has been working a transformation in me and in Kurt and the kids. The entire trajectory of our lives has changed so much that we felt like it would be a good idea to move to Serbia for six (almost seven) weeks. And who knows what’s on the horizon?
The part that’s harder to articulate is the heart transformation in Kurt and me – in our self-perceptions and sense of calling… in our faith journey and prayer lives… in our approaches to parenting and family. It’s been emotional, exhausting, enlightening work. We’ve had some really great days and some really horrible days. I went from psychiatric labels to foreign ministry. That is no small change! But as I step back, I can see God’s sweet grace lovingly tending the gardens of our hearts and preparing us for what’s ahead.
Wow, even that last sentence wrapped up the process in a pretty little bow. It made this spring’s pruning sound almost glamorous, didn’t it?
The truth is, most days , I just want my montage.
I want my hype music and my mountaintop victory. I want all the cozy feels that come from serving God and sensing His pleasure, not the fleshy feels of recognizing my own total weakness.
The truth is, this has not been a glamorous process. There have been sore faith muscles, moments of fear and doubt, many tears, spiritual battles, bent armor, difficult conversations, and surprise emotions all mixed in amongst the confirmations, affirmations, and support of friends and family.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, following the Lord’s call is a whole lot more than buying a plane ticket and packing a bag. He loves us way too much to let us continually indulge our vices and immaturities. He wants to grow us as He leads us. He wants to refine us.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice,[a] even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Although you have not seen[b] him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9
I’m not facing near the type of persecution as the recipients of Peter’s letter. And I’m not suggesting that God brings about calamity in our lives to “teach us a lesson.”
“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” 1 John 1:5
But He does utilize the natural bent of this broken world for our greater good if we submit to His will and trust Him. And He will walk with us through growth processes, tests, and trials as we mature in Him. And we don’t get to experience it as a montage. (Waaaaah. Pout. Submit.)
I’m just trying to paint a realistic picture of what all of this is like, because it might be easy to look in on this journey this summer and see the highlight reel. But remember this glorious, fruitful, painful, stretching, heart-expanding, ugly, frustrating process that is taking place behind the scenes of the hype song.
That’s why, when we ask for your prayer support, we really do need it. When we ask that you contend for us, we honestly do covet your prayers.
Only 30 days!! I can’t believe it!!
We are so grateful and so excited. Stick with us on this journey. It’s about to get crazy. 😉 ❤