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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