He does this. I know He does this. He shakes up my life. Turns it upside down. I clutch and claw at roots, convinced that if I let go I will free fall into that black space.
So there I am, dangling, hanging, staring into the darkness, arms shaking from the strain. I flirt with depression. I question my faith.
When I can no longer hold on, hold it together, I fall. And then He does what He always does…He catches me. It's a soft landing. A coming home. But it's not a dead stop. I am lifted and carried along to a better place. To the place He intended for me all along.
I know I've written it before, but this move to Singapore has been hard. On so many levels. As much as I thought I wanted to move internationally, it has been a fight. I was going to write "struggle," but that seems too flimsy a description for my experience.
I fight to stay positive. I fight tears every time I brush my hair and watch gobs fall to the floor (too much chlorine in the water some say…we'll see what the doctor says next week). I fight ridiculous traffic and frustrating language barriers (yes, most people speak English, but I'm telling you, some things are still lost in translation). I fight feelings of hopelessness about an active future when the bulging disc in my back throbs (guess it wasn't a good idea to try to lift that giant box of books in the garage just before the move). I fight to stay awake during the never-ending bedtime routine (bath, pi's, teeth, potty, books, bible, prayers, songs) to ensure the kids have consistency and quality time, especially since Daddy is traveling so much. I fight to build relationships with others who seem so different from myself.
Tonight I went to dinner with two relatively new friends. One is leaving Singapore in a few days to go home (to the U.S.). I was jealous. I knew she was excited, but as we were hugging goodbye, her smile didn't reach her eyes.
"Enjoy Singapore while you can. I feel like I missed out on a lot."
She had regrets. She had spent most of her time here being miserable. I saw my future in her sad smile.
I believe God speaks to us in many ways, often through others. My friend was my wake-up call. It wasn't like a slap in the face. It was a kind, gentle reminder.
I.put.you.here. I have plans for you. Good plans. Better than the ones you could have come up with on your own. So stop fighting. Let go of your insistence on American ways. It's going to be different. Trust me. Rest in me. You have a purpose here, but don't worry about that either. I'll let you know the plan one baby step at a time.
And just like that, it was back…peace. It is a joy I have known before. After being baptized, after moves, after babies. It is the calm after the storm. I know now that the storms are all part of the plan.
I know, too, this peace can be fleeting. God grants the peace, but it only lasts as long as I'm willing to stay connected to Him. Like the Israelites wandering in the desert, I fluctuate between complacency (worshipping my own golden calves) and desperation (crying out for relief in a dry land). Thankfully, He never lets me suffer long. If I don't wake up on my own, He shakes things up enough to get my attention and turn my heart back to Him.
So that (all thanks be to God) is where I am. A heart filled with gratitude, a soul at peace. I'm finally ready to embrace Singapore and share the joy of the Lord along the way.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7