When I wrote "Feeling Raw Part 1" back in June, my intention was to write Part 2 soon after and I was going to write what I was really feeling "raw" about at the time.
Doug and I had just spent two weeks travelling, visiting family, friends, and supporters of our work with Wycliffe. We had spoken in two churches, made some new contacts and enjoyed our travels. However, when we returned to Edmonton I felt a strange and unexpected disconnect--the process of having to say good-bye to our lives these last six years had suddenly become very real. I knew we were supposed to return to Thailand but the inner conflict was there nonetheless. It was a time of transition, a shift in life, and my emotions were raw. That is what I was going to write about--but those emotions are now lost in a memory.
That was then--mid-June. This is now--August 26th. This is the day we were scheduled to drive out to B.C., spend some time with family, and then fly out of Vancouver on Sept. 3rd--back to Thailand and our lives and work there. But sometimes life doesn't happen the way we planned, just like Proverbs 16:9 says. Sometimes the changes aren't even in the script, at least not our script.
In mid-July all our plans changed due to a crisis with one of our children--serious enough that we realized we couldn't return to Thailand as scheduled. The last five weeks have been intense, not just family-wise but also internally. One day I'm dealing with emotions of saying good-bye, the next day I'm dealing with the emotions of not being able to leave. And to my surprise, those second emotions were more intense. I felt even more torn. Questions flooded my mind: When would we get back? Will we get back? What am I, what are we, going to do in this time of uncertainty? How do we move forward? The expectation was that we would return as soon as Doug was done his PhD program and I was overwhelmed with sadness. It reminded me that I truly am a TCA--a third-culture adult. While I love my homeland of Canada, I love Southeast Asia as well, with our work, calling and fulfillment.
For a few weeks I did not do so well at balancing on the fulcrum of my emotional teeter-totter.
Deep exhaustion hung heavy around my neck. I knew hope was there but I was struggling to find it. My prayers were simple cries out to God and I relied heavily on others' prayers when I didn't know how to pray. And, as always, God, the Faithful One, broke through with His Word and with a beautiful word picture.
The Word: "BUT GOD." Those two words reminded me of His faithfulness. Just like God did for Noah (Gen. 8:1), Joseph (Gen. 50:20), and David (1 Sam. 23:14), so He has done for me through Jesus (Acts 2:24) and continues to do (Rom. 5:8). His love never fails. I am learning that I do not need to worry or fret--that this shift in our lives did not take God by surprise and that I do not need to teeter on that fulcrum by myself--He is there with me.
The word picture: This morning God gave me a picture through the words of Madeleine L'Engle in her daily reading from the book, Glimpses of Grace. The reading is entitled, "The Shifting Dance Steps," and she speaks of how the dance steps of life shift and change. She concludes by saying, "The melody seems unfamiliar to me, but I will learn it."
I thought about life being a dance. I love dance, although I'm a pathetic dancer. I wish I could dance as an expression of God's handiwork, as a testimony to His faithfulness and love. I can't. But I do appreciate those who can. They too draw us to God. They reveal God's creative heart and His love for all things beautiful.
As I pondered these thoughts throughout the morning, I stopped at lunch to finish watching an episode of "So You Think You Can Dance" on TV. And there it was--the dance that reinforced L'Engle's words. It was a couple dancing to "Angel," one of my favourite Sarah McLachlan songs. The girl moved with such beauty and grace and emotion and her partner held her, carried her, moved with her but also freed her. And it was me dancing--moving to the shift of something new, effortlessly. But I was not alone--Jesus was there with me, leading me, carrying me, freeing me. It was a liberating moment for me. And again, it reminded me that God is faithful--that He cares about me and my emotions and struggles and that He is committed to partnering with me through this dance of life.