With only 3 weeks left in the States I'm trying to read and cram as much wisdom and advice and knowledge into my brain and heart as I can. I think I have this idea that the more I read and learn, the more ready I will be for whatever is coming as we touch down on African soil again. One of the books I'm reading right now is called "A New Kind of Normal" by Carol Kent. This title jumped out at me from the library shelf because I have been trying to prepare myself for a new "normal" when we return to South Sudan. To be honest, I don't even like the word "normal".
"Normally" when preparing for a new term on the missionfield, I would spend time beforehand praying and thinking about goals for the next three years. Personal, spiritual, ministry - goals that I hope to see achieved in my life or through my life. I feel like I can't really do that yet. We are heading to Kenya first off on February 15th and from there we will meet with our field director and talk about when we can fly into Melut, our home town in South Sudan. We aren't sure how soon we can go. So instead of setting goals and having expectations for this year, we are walking forward in faith, trusting in our Good Shepherd to guide us one step at a time.
I am also a "To-Do List" person. I love having a list of things I need to do because then I know I won't forget (hopefully) and it's always so rewarding to cross that thing off when I've accomplished it! Right now I have a doozy of a to-do list that I've been working on this last month to get everything done that needs to be done before we go. Do I have any idea what we will need to do upon arrival in Kenya? Or upon arriving in South Sudan? Again, I think I need to adjust to a "new" way of doing things...for now. Taking one day at a time.
Basically what I'm trying to say is that I have realized that we are going back to a much different country, a different home, different friends, even a different team. And rather than feel bad about that, I want to jump ALL IN and EMBRACE this new whatever-it-is. I can't use the word normal because i already know - IT WILL NOT BE NORMAL! ;)
So as I work on embracing what is ahead, admitting that I don't even know what I'm embracing, I am also giving the Lord, one. more. time. this thing, this idol in my life that is stability. I just love stability and I often catch myself wishing for it, craving for it. But if I look for stability in my circumstances or in people or in a job/ministry, that stability won't always be sound. I must fix my eyes on Jesus and recognize that HE is my stability, my only stability. Is stability possible in the midst of so much change? Absolutely! If I keep my focus fixed on the Rock.
Something I've been asking myself is, "How do I react when life throws unexpected changes at me?" I can look back over the last 12 months and tell you, I don't react very well. This book by Carol Kent is encouraging me to hold on to hope even when life takes a sharp turn. There will be plenty of twists and turns ahead so I'm trying to get a good grip.
I know I won't be able to handle all this change perfectly. I won't always be as flexible as I wish I was. But I'm so thankful the Lord is showing all this to me now in preparation for what is ahead. In the Lord's loving way, He gave me these verses this morning from Hebrews 6:18-19:
"Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls."