I remember that final stretch of Senior High School; the swelling, almost numbing tingle of things to come. The future moving us all forward whether we liked it or not. I remember not knowing where I would land that coming Fall. I hadn't chosen a college, let alone a major field of study. Meanwhile, forget majors, my good friends were all exhilarated about their vocations. I couldn't begin to imagine my life's calling. My heart ached watching them know. I loved Jesus and wanted to do something grand and pleasing to Him. I wanted a plan with bragging rights. Most of all, I wanted God to tell me what was up. All of my friends were being called and sent. And I...
...I watched everyone leave. And off they went: North Dakota, bible camp, YWAM, Ecuador, New Mexico, California, Iraq, Germany, Africa, New York, Chicago, and India.
A tinge of bitterness accompanies my memory of this time of my life. I balanced my joy with my loneliness. I wondered how to make a choice when pulled in no certain tack. It was a good spiritual practice for me to learn that when we seem directionless, we must only move into our closeness with Jesus.
Which for me meant continuing on with my regular routine and enrolling in community college. I remember one particular day during the 'summer of leavings' that God spoke to me. I was walking across the patio of the coffee shop I worked at, about to start my shift. Maybe it was that warmth of the summer sun, or the smiles from familiar customers that inspired it but I thought of God. Instantly I felt joy and peace. The words 'delight yourself in Me, and I will provide you the desires of your heart' flooded my mind. I felt secure. Renewed. Direction didn't matter if I was always headed toward Him.
Here I am ten years later, so secure in where God has me. And it is time for another season of 'leaving.' Our worship pastor has been called to lead at another church, where I know he will do great things for that community. My friends Katie & Stephen have moved to Thailand one week from today to change the lives and impact the communities of the Thai people on God's behalf. Here I stay, again, as others passionately chase our Jesus to uncharted terrain.
"Everyone leaves." I chuckled while talking to God the other day. That phrase, an echo, now a decade old. I noted that while it was once my aching cry, it is now wisdom's joy. I'm so gratified to watch them go - for great is the call of the Lord. Beautiful are the feet that bring good news.
God spoke clearly then: You are a home for the world changers. In this you change the world.
In that summer of 'leaving' I met my husband. Two years later we married. Soon our home became my teenaged brother's home and then the home to our three daughters. And then a home with my father. A temporary home to the Thailand bound. A monthly home to our church potluck. A someday home to our adopted child. An always home to anyone who walks through our front door.
Yes, yes. I exaggerate. Not everybody leaves. But some do, and I am so humbly glad to be a resting place - a home - for them.
To many happy returns.