Saturday, November 13

A New Year

This month I turned 34. As I've spent time reflecting on this, I was reminded of the humorous comment I often make to people turning 33: "It's the year Jesus died, ya know....." First, perhaps I shouldn't joke about something so profound and life-changing as the death (and resurrection) of my Savior. Having said that, though, that flippant comment came back to me as I reflected on the past year. It's funny how, symbolically, this really has been a year of dying for me. I have become more contemplative, more somber, and more broken. I have also, thankfully, become more whole. Aren't those two statements oxymorons in some ways? Absolutely. And yet totally true. I (and my family) have faced more sorrow this year than I would care to talk about. I have seen extreme ugliness in people. I have seen extreme ugliness in myself. I have learned/am learning the meaning of "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength" from Isaiah 30:15. God has taught me A LOT about being quiet and resting in him. Trusting in Him. Letting Him be my Defender. I have made A LOT of mistakes. I have been disobedient and suffered the consequences. Yet God has been so faithful. He has shown me parts of myself that I would have rather not known were there. He has brought to the surface those unrefined places in my soul that need Him desperately. And in this "dying to self," I am finding new life. It is stirring, and I am excited.

My dream to go to Africa for 1-2 years is not going to happen. While the job opportunity for Karl is still open, I guess God has other plans. We prayed and sought wisdom and laid out a fleece for the past 6 months...and the answer is no. I cannot tell you what a loss that is to me. I am grieving. But I am trusting once again. I am trusting that God knows what our family needs, that He knows what He has called us to. Karl's passion for the American church and my passion for Africa were both put in our hearts by God. He also brought us together in marriage in pretty amazing ways. So, this is not too big for Him. He has a plan. It is for wholeness and intimacy--with each other and Him. And as long as we continue to seek Him and be obedient, He will show us how we can be unified and fulfill our individual callings. It could get interesting...

In the meantime, I came across this quote in Braden's classroom newsletter by Dietrich Bonhoeffer: "Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility." Well, I'm ready. This passion that has been percolating for years is ready to be acted upon. The time is now. This past year of dying has purpose, and part of that is what Tim Hughes' song says:

Jesus, you have called us
Freely we've received
Now freely we will give
We must go
Live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action
We must go
We shall see what God does. I'm open to anything. But I also know that it's so easy to desire the grandiose and miss opportunities to love on the people right in front of you: my neighbors, those that serve me at the grocery store, my children, my husband, and others that God has strategically placed in my life. (A great read on this topic is You Are God's Plan A by Dwight Robertson)So, I will be looking for opportunities--both big and small--in the season to come. I'd love to hear your stories.


Jolene Shrock said...

I am so excited to see how our awesome God works even deeper in your life. Isn't life so fun! Thank you for pouring your heart out so we can all be inspired! I love ya Danielle!

Jillian said...

Friend, what beauty you just shared. Thank you. I so appreciate your honesty cuz I know this last year wasn't easy. I see God granting you your prayer of humility and a teachable spirit. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. My heart hurts for you for Africa seems like what we desire most is so often just at our fingertips and then gone. I know you know it...I'll just echo - Our God (one who I'm beginning to fall in love with all over again)has done some pretty amazing things thus far and is GOOD despite so much "bad" around us...that I can't help but believe He's working on something wonderful.

Britney said...

I love your heart for the Lord, Danielle. Thank you for sharing this!

Tisha said...

Even though I don't know any of the story, I can tell that the Lord is working in your life. He has wonderful plans for you and I can't wait to see what they are! I am so sorry to hear about Africa, I would be royally bummed too. I left a part of me there and I would love to pack up and move too, but it is not in the plans... right now! :)