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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

No Turning Back

Sometime days I think God is trying to tell me something. I clicked on a link on FB today to an article talking about no turning back. That sometimes the cost of following Jesus ends up being more than you thought when you first decided to follow him.

I’ve been thinking about not turning back for several months now. The first time was at church back in the states when the worship leader lead “I have decided to follow, Jesus.”

I remember singing that song hundreds of times as a child growing up. And decided there was going to be no turning back for me. When I felt the call from God to be a missionary, the pull was at times unexplainable, but undeniably. I might have been young, but I was going off to save the world.

Except sometimes the world hasn't turned out to be what I imagined. And as I sat in that pew that Sunday not too long ago, after more than a decade of living in Africa, I wanted to turn back.

I didn’t want to leave my oldest behind to go to university in the states. I didn’t want to drop off my youngest at boarding school. I wanted us to be a family. To have Christmas together in our own home, to celebrate birthdays as a family, and to watch my kids grow up the way you’re supposed to. The way that seems normal, and good, and best.

Because sometimes not turning back is just too hard.

My husband gave what I’m feeling a name. It’s called grief. I’m grieving this stage of life. The part that begins the normal empty next stage, except for us it means that my three kids are living in three different countries. I expected the red tape, power outages, and water shortages, but this is hard, and not what I ever imagined life as a missionary would be like.

Go ahead and fill in the blanks for your own life. Because I know that for each one of us, life doesn’t always go the way we once imagined. Life can be joyous, but it can also be tough. The unplanned losses and dreams are hard to deal with.

But on those days when I don’t want to move forward, when I simply want to walk away, I'm realizing I have no other option but to look to Him. And I take another tentative step forward.

No turning back. No turning back.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High.

(Ps. 46:1-4) NTL

10 comments:

  1. Yep, grief it is. Sometimes we WANT to turn back! But as you say, it's not usually a good thing. You have to keep moving forward, and guess what? It's usually just fine - 'cos God's there already. Big hugs Lisa!

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    1. You're so right, Shirl! Thanks for the encouraging words!

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  2. You have described my heart... thank you for the encouragement to keep looking to Him.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing, Julie! I appreciate it and am so glad it encouraged you.

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  3. I feel this often, and our family hasn't done anything as drastic as yours. :( My husband felt the call to serve in Afghanistan as civilian support to the military for a couple of years ... but the wear and tear on our family. And then we took up the adventure of moving halfway across country, for a new job that would let my husband be home with us, but it meant leaving half our children (and their spouses and a coming grandbaby) behind. We love it here, but the separation from family is almost more than I can stand sometimes. Why does God ask us to such hard things? Is it because we'd get complacent and stop trusting Him so intimiately? I'm not really sure ...

    Blessings, Lisa, for sharing this! <3

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your heart, Shannon. I love your last line about maybe why God asks us to do hard things. I think you are so right. I want to trust him intimately as well!

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  4. Lisa, I can't imagine how tough it is. May Scott and yourself especially sense the Lord's presence in these days and weeks. I'll sure be praying for you both and your 3 kiddies. Grace and peace ...

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  5. Appreciate so much your comment, Ian and your prayers as well!!!

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  6. Sorry I have only just been catching up on reading your great blogs, Lisa. This one is so timely for me this morning to read about your experience with "no turning back". I sure do understand your feelings as only these last few days have been praying about seemingly both my husband and I accepting too many appointments, especially his preaching ones to churches with no ministers. Many involve travelling what used to be distances that once did not make us very weary as they do now we are so much older. I too have sung that song, earnestly meaning every word so many times. I decided to follow Jesus when in my teens, and knew then and been reminded again today this is still for a lifetime of "no turning back" - including ONLY going where HE wants me to with Him. Sometimes the difficulty is to be sure it is following Jesus - and not my own desires. I understand your grief so much, dear Lisa, and if we mere humans do, how much more our loving, every faithful Heavenly Father does. Am so comforted this morning by your thoughts and the comments here also. Thank you all."

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  7. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Mary. They were such a blessing to me! I love being surrounded by people who encourage me to never turn back. Thank you!

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