Allow me to be transparent with you. Let’s get real and honest with each other. If we truly are the Church this should be a frequent occurrence anyway. Let’s talk about decisions. Often we make decisions. We weigh them and pray over them and analyze them from every angle and talk about them and mull over them and pray more and analyze more. But at the end of it, we make the decision and that’s what we have to live with.
For us the decision was whether to stay in Haiti or come home. We spent months praying about the decision. Do we stay serving in Haiti or go home and serve with another organization (which we would later find to be Children’s Hope Chest)? After some time we came to the peace-filled decision to come home and not extend our time in Haiti. It was a bittersweet decision, but we felt it was the best decision for us.
We moved back to the States on Tuesday, November 26th. Our arrival back home was surreal. My family picked us up from the Birmingham airport and we made the trek back home. Our transition back into America was much smoother than we anticipated. It was something we had been praying about since moving to Haiti only because we had heard so many bad stories of other ex-pats whose transition back into American culture was less than graceful. Their bitterness propelled us to hit our knees often in prayer that whenever we returned we would be grateful and not bitter, humbled and not resentful.
Since our landing on that Tuesday we have moved to Colorado Springs where we are living as Resident Advisors for Joel Home, a transitional living home for boys aging out of foster care. We’ve found the church we want to serve in and we’ve both found full-time jobs (thank you Jesus!). Our days have been filled with trudging through the snow, discovering the trails in our area, meeting new friends, investing in our Joel Home guys, and re-learning how to balance a life of marriage, ministry, friends and work.
Some days present challenges and some days are filled with laughter and adventure. We truly have no complaints to offer…this life is easy.
In fact, compared to those who are born and grow up in places like Haiti, this life is a cakewalk. We have all of our needs provided for. If we need food we go buy it; if we need shelter we go home; if we crave adventure we go find it; if we need solitude it’s easily found.
This is not to say there are no struggles here. We all know too well that regardless of location life can be skilled at finding our Achilles tendon, that soft spot that’s far more vulnerable than we would like to admit.
But we made the decision to come back here. We came home. And now life is very different. Instead of waking up to spend 2 hours in prayer and reading the Bible before breakfast, I wake up and prepare myself for the workday with a hopeful 10 minutes of Bible reading and prayer time during my commute. Instead of preparing to sweat all day I bundle up and let my car warm for several minutes before leaving for work. Instead of having a panoramic view of green mountains and an impoverished countryside I have a breathtaking view of Pikes Peak and busy downtown Colorado Springs.
I don’t believe I’ve traded up or down, but I do believe I’ve traded. We made our decision and we have experienced joy and sadness from it. But the Enemy has seen my soft spot and has found pleasure in poking at it constantly.
Instead of hearing the voice of God speaking peace over me I hear whispered “Did God really say come home?” The same ploy Satan used to mislead Eve (Genesis 3:1) I find him using on me. Have you ever heard that question or thought it to yourself?
Friends, whenever we hear, “Did God really say…” we can be assured the Enemy is about the business of creating doubt. Anytime Satan can get a child of God doubting the guidance and Word of God he will do so.
For me this is coming in the form of nostalgia for Haiti. Yes we had an incredible experience, I grew closer than ever to God, and I met people I’ll never forget. But we also had struggles. We knew going into our position that Haiti was never to be a long-term move for us, but we didn’t know how long our period of time there would be. So we made the decision to come home and serve in other ways and Satan has taken this and decided to guilt me into believing we made a mistake. Instead of recalling all the difficult moments of Haiti I’m often reminded of all the good moments that made Haiti the life changing experience it was. I don’t say this in a bad way; I hope I always recall the beautiful moments from Haiti. But when those are the only moments I can recall and those memories are being used to draw my heart away from being fully present where I am, that’s when I can know Satan is scheming.
How have you seen doubt creep in and cause you to question your obedience to God? Have you noticed moments of feeling your heart pull from something you know it should be fully in? Is Satan currently using his old line, “Did God really say…” to create hesitation and uncertainty?
Dear friends, my prayer for you is you would recognize the schemes of the enemy and run hard toward your Savior. I pray Satan would fail in his attempts to distract you from being Christ’s servant right where you are. I pray you would fight against the paralysis of doubt, confusion and ambiguity.
Our God is not a god of confusion, but the God of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33).
In those moments of uncertainty I pray you would recognize the character of God and realize that while He provides conviction, He never provides condemnation. As you make both small daily decisions and larger decisions, I hope you will prayerfully seek the heart of the Father and pursue those things that He would have you run after. I pray you would seek His loving wisdom (James 1:5). And once you’ve come to your decision, I pray the peace of Christ would reign in your hearts.
Once again, I am forever grateful for you and overwhelmed at the prayer support I receive from so many of you. Please continue to pray for our guys of Joel Home and that they would make the decision to give their lives to our loving God.
“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” – Jeremiah 29:12-14a (ESV, my emphasis added)
“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” – Isaiah 58:10-11