Six more months have passed, another school year has begun, and a lot of life has been lived. I am in a place of transition along with a lot of my community and with transition comes a lot of thoughts. Transition brings about remembrance of where ever you are leaving and excitement and fears for whatever you are walking into. I’ve found that each season of transition looks different but each season of change brings new challenges. Personally, this month of transition has been one of wrestling and waiting. It has brought about many new excitments and joys; new fears and insecurities; new tears from old memories. Transition for me is always a time where I really don’t know what I am learning— it tends to be a time of great trust and faith. That’s why in transition I am always so encouraged by remembrance— looking back to see growth. I love learning more about what others are learning and I am greatly encouraged by community growing together. This week is the anniversary of my dear friend Mr. Ray going home to His King and as I think about him and want to honor is life I know that I want to continue on in this life of learning. So here is to new seasons and remembrance of the seasons we’ve walked out of. And here’s to learning together as a community.
sometimes I forget how finite we are. how we are never going to know some things. how we aren’t created to know all of the answers. it’s easy to think if I plan it out, then it will work. eh, rarely the case. i am constantly humbled. a slow season full of ample time, thoughts, and moments of silence. early nights, late mornings. new friends and old friends. travels to new places. challenging conversations and conversations I wish never ended. good news and bad news. moments I’ll never forget and moments I wish I could. a faithful God who never fails and is only good. who answers prayers and gives the most satisfying rest. a God who is always near.
It is easy to feel big. It is easy to feel like your people do it best and your language says it best. And your religion loves the best – or are the only ones who know how to. Or that you have the right of way when crossing the street. Or that water is a right and should be free. Or think that I am human and therefore the outdoors is mine for the conquering and I may if I so desire. But then you come to another country and shrink, daily. You shrink when you can’t order a meal correctly or are standing in a grand library of only Spanish books. You shrink overtime you say “si” hoping it was the correct response. You shrink everyday you’re in the presence of the most loyal and loving people and they don’t share the same beliefs as you. You shrink every time a car doesn’t brake as you’re crossing the road. You shrink every time you bitterly drop 45 pesos on a water and there are no refills. You shrink significantly while straining to look up and comprehend the size of the mountains surrounding you on every side. Every time I am reminded of the lyric, “maybe it’s not even about us.” And then I understand grace. I cannot as much put it into words as I can say it is clear in the face of all these things. The face of a mountain, the face of a new friend beaming with unexpected kindness and the face of every Spanish speaker who has listened to me create sentences without an ounce of condescendence. It is not about me, ALL IS GRACE. Hallelujah.
There has been one word God continues to lay on my heart through scripture and prayer right now and that is the word rest. In Jeremiah 6 the Lord is calling His people to walk in the good way and to find rest for their souls and they choose not to listen. I have been wresting a lot with that same decision to choose to listen or not. But even on the days I’ve chosen not to listen the Lord has reminded me of the word rest through the ways He has been shepherding me. As friends have asked how I am and how this transition back home has been I’ve had a hard time answering. Part of my difficulty answering has been because I haven’t taken the time to sit until this morning. The other part is I haven’t wanted to answer with good or fine or alright but that can be hard, so instead the one honest answer I can give is that I am not sure how I am, all I know is that God is taking care of me. My goodness He has been taking care of me. I run from rest, He provides rest in my new house through how He dwells in my roommates. I get frustrated and go on a walk, He brings a friend I haven’t seen in forever to drive by and pick me up. I don’t have the words to pray, He brings a friend to me to lay a hand on me and pray over me. I feel insecure, He reminds me He is my portion through a friend speaking truth into me. I feel lost, He draws me into His word and reminds me who He is and how He is shepherding me. Our God is a tender, caring, and patient God and He has been walking besides me in great gentleness and love right now. He has always been loving me from His tender love, I am just beginning to see more and more of it right now. Last year I wrestled with the question, Is God really only good? Now I rejoice in the answer, Yes He sure is only good.
My dear friend Jamie Faxon lives in this beautiful assurance of God’s goodness and it greatly challenged me all of last year and this summer. This summer I was seeking to taste and see that the Lord is good. As I began to taste and see His goodness in a mountainous red dirt community in East Africa, I was so humbled by how good He was. We sang King of My Heart one night around a fire as a community and I was moved to tears as for the first time in a year I could sing, “you are good” with all of me. “You are good” became a proclamation instead of a question. And He continues to faithfully lead me in His goodness right now. Yet, I still need to be reminded of how good He is and that is where the Lord has been using my roommates. They know Jesus as a dear friend and the giver of every good gift and they continue to encourage me in that. I sat on Rachel’s bed late one night distracting her from her work and she joyfully sat with me to love on me. She read Psalm 116 out loud and we were both reminded to call our souls to return to rest in the Lord because He has been so good to us. The next day I found a piece of card stock on my bed with the Hebrew word for good written out.
For some reason the word good seems to hold much more weight than the word great— this is counter to what you learned in second grade when you began to upgrade your vocabulary from good to great. But when it comes to God, He is just so good.We can taste and see His goodness, but even we don’t know the full extent of what it means to see that the Lord is good. We have a life of learning more of how God is good and I am excited about that.
I used to get frustrated when people would answer to how are you by saying, I’m doing okay, but God is good. I thought that was avoiding talking about how they were struggling, and maybe sometimes it is, but man I know richly understand why someone would always want to bring it back to His goodness. I am wretched, but man He is good. I am weak, but man He is good. I am broken, but man He is good. I am falling short daily, but man He is good.