Comfortable Shoes

My eyes glistening wet, holding back the tears I admit, “It has taken more faith for me to return to Tennessee than it did to go to Mexico in the first place.” The Mexican village that once forced me from my comfort zone has become like a well worn shoe, or should I say, huarache (Mexican sandal). Language, customs and mannerisms which were once foreign to me, had become my norm. Now, don’t get me wrong, living in Mexico was far from easy. In fact those 16 years were filled with constant crisis management. The vicarious trauma & personal hardship that we have experienced are enough to make anyone a little overwhelmed. Stories, I could tell, but refrain…. At times it seemed like it would never end, yet today I sit in another country. One where people call me “Sweetheart” & “Honey” and then say, “Chew ain’t frum round here, are ya!?!” I must “re”tune my ears to understand their Southern draw, and then reply, “Well actually I am from here, it’s just been a while since I’ve lived here.”

What was once my normal, has now become strange and unusual. Sometimes when people speak to me, I stare blankly. I’m processing, translating & trying to understand. As I am once again stretched beyond my comfort zone, I struggle with the question, “Why am I here?” Over the years, I’ve heard many missionaries say that it was difficult for them to return to their home country. And so it is! The familiar…now unfamiliar, my identity…challenged. Who am I? Where is my place? Then unexpectedly, I heard God’s still steady voice…”America has become the mission field.” I look around, I listen, I contemplate and I know that this is true.

A lot has changed in the last 16 years! America, Tennessee, you have changed! Then again, I have changed too. His reassuring voice, comfortingly familiar, “Everything that you’ve learned the last 16 years is to prepare you for this!”

I knew coming here would bring clarity for the next step and next season. And little by little I am starting to piece together His purpose in asking me once again to take off my comfortable shoes.

KD

What comfortable shoes is God asking you to take off inorder to follow Him?

I found God in Chicago

Weary, beaten down and discouraged, I boarded a plane headed to Chicago. I wasn’t convinced that I even wanted to go. Self defeated before I even began, I was ready to quit. The good news, as God often orchestrates it, I didn’t have any other options. This was the open door of opportunity and I was walking through it.

I say I found God in Chicago. Although I had lost sight of Him, He had not lost sight of me. It’s not that I had quit looking for him, or turned my back on Him. I just couldn’t hear Him. His voice, that has often been so clear to me, now seemed silent. I prayed, read my Bible, cried, pleaded and it seemed like my prayers hit the ceiling and just ricocheted to the floor.

Last week it had become clear to me that not only had I lost me identity, but also my purpose. So much of who I am has been wrapped up in the title Missionary. Since I was 12, I wanted to be a missionary. After 16 years in Mexico we agreed with the advice of our board, to take a sabbatical. We knew in doing so that we were on the brink of a new season, yet it was unclear what that season would look like. We had some opportunities come our way and open doors that we decided to walk through, but I still couldn’t see God leading me.

For years my prayer has been, “Align my heart with Yours and let me walk in Your will.” But still I felt like I was meandering blindly with no specific destination in mind. Over the last months, I have asked God why I am here and where I am going. During this time, God has used others to encourage me. The most recent being a friend’s comment that “Often we have no idea that God is leading us and then we look back and realize He’s been there along.” Although, I knew there was truth in that statement, the knowledge had not moved from my head down to my heart. It wasn’t until the other morning when I was reminded of the donkeys that my ears were unclogged & my heart came alive with knowledge.

I love how in moments when we least expect it, God’s Word comes alive and brings clarity to our circumstances. The story is found in 1 Samuel 9, I’ll let you read the details, but it’s safe to say that someone else was going through the motions of life & had absolutely no idea that God had orchestrated the whole scene: The Donkeys, The Servant, The Trip, The Seer, The Anointing, The King. And in that moment, I knew I had found God in Chicago.

I don’t know your story, where you are, your struggles & inner battles, but I know that our God is so big & powerful that you can’t ruin His sovereign plan. He DOES make all thing work for good, even when we think we’re just out trying to find the donkeys.

Not Guilty

I really can not, and do not want to live life feeling guilty. Does anyone really want that?!? I know that God has brought us to this place, it’s ok that we are here, in fact, it is part of His plan. So I decided to spend some time alone with God in prayer and fight this battle of guilt.

It’s amazing how therapeutic prayer can be! Spending time alone with The Almighty: praying and listening, as well as reading His Word always help to bring clarity. During my unhurried time with God, I pondered the Apostle Paul’s words from Philippians 4:12 & 13- “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him (Christ)who strengthens me.

Whatever season we are in we can rest assured that this too is a part of God’s big plan. He allows difficulty and struggle, times of rest, times when we know where we are headed & times when we don’t. Guilty feelings do not come from God. He convicts and leads, heals & encourages. Whatever difficulty you face, trust me God cares. He cares about you and me and if we allow Him, He will take away the guilt and set us free. After all that’s why Christ came!

KD