One Sunday morning, when Will and I were back in the US last fall, we sang a worship song at our church. The song was “King of My Heart” by John Mark McMillan. In the bridge of the song you sing,
“You’re never gonna let
Never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let
Never gonna let me down.”
While Lucas, our worship leader, was singing this song, I started sobbing at these lines. The truth was, in the wake of evacuating South Sudan, having a miscarriage, being uncertain of the future and not knowing if our friends in Mundri were safe, or even alive, I felt very let down. So much so that I couldn’t bring myself to sing those words. They didn’t feel real to me in that moment. Life had hit hard and I was angry and felt confused and a bit abandoned.
Fast forward to this past Friday. I was in the car traveling from Arua, Uganda to Kampala to begin our journey for our next transition. Everything we own in Africa was in the car with us and we were on the old, familiar journey of moving from one temporary home to the next. I was listening to a podcast from our home church in Bloomington, IN. At the end of the message, Lucas’ familiar voice (with beautiful accompaniment) starts singing the song that I had heard in church several months earlier.
As he was singing the bridge, I immediately started singing along. The amazing thing was that this time, my heart believed those words to be absolutely true. It was about 8 months later and I could see more of the story. We are 2 months from giving birth to a baby girl, we now have a plan for where we are settling next and we have been in consistent communication with our friends in Mundri.
You see, when I was unable to sing these words 8 months ago, I was trying to judge and unfinished story. It was like looking at a half painted piece of artwork and calling it “ugly” before seeing the end product. All I could see was that life was difficult and I felt let down. I didn’t have eyes to see at the moment that the story wasn’t over yet and redemption was yet to come.
What I’m not saying in all of this is that we should expect only good things to happen because we are Christ followers. That’s not true at all. We are told to expect trials and difficulty. What I am saying is that God uses the hard things of this life to strengthen us and prepare us for what it is to come. When we judge His work while it is still in process, we are not being fair to the Artist. It’s not fair to call life “bad” when we’re stuck in a hard place. Part of life is allowing it play out and seeing where God is working in the midst of the difficulties.
Here’s a little more of the picture that God has been creating in our lives.
We will be in Spain for our company conference for the next two weeks.
We will then travel to Nairobi on June 4 and will be there through giving birth to our baby girl (sometime around July 12)! We will stay there for about 6 weeks after the birth.
Once I recover from the birth and we are able to get our baby girl’s passport, we will fly to Uganda to transition to our new ministry field.
|A view from Fort Portal, Uganda|
Will and I just accepted a position as the new team leaders of the Serge Fort Portal, Uganda team! We are so excited about this new opportunity and are looking forward to seeing what God has in store! We will be the team leaders for a woman who has lived there for several years and has many years of experience serving in Uganda, a family of 6 who will be joining the team in the fall, and a single woman who will be coming in the winter. The team will all be doing different work within the realm of community development. We will all do this through ministering to single moms through the arts, children in a Children’s Home, work through a vocational school, teaching, etc. We are so excited about the way God has been piecing this team together and the work that He has prepared for all of us to do in Fort Portal.
Looking back, God had not let me down in the fall. Life had, yes. But God was still in control and was using the difficulties of life to prepare me for what was coming. I believe if I had been listening in that moment at church when I couldn’t sing the lyrics, that God was whispering, “Just wait, my daughter, the picture isn’t finished yet. There is more to come.” I’m grateful for a God who doesn’t let His people down. I’m grateful that even when life is hard and we feel abandoned and let down, the story isn’t over. He sees us in the pain and is holding us in His strength.