Thursday, September 6, 2007

Living in a Foreign Land (No pics... sorry)

For the last several weeks, the lyrics of a hymn keep occupying my thoughts:

"This world is not my home, I'm just a'passing through;
If Heaven's not my Home, Oh Lord, what will I do?
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open shore,
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore!"
As I've said before, I love the feeling of being a foreigner. I relish the unfamiliar. I crave a good challenge. Curiosity pulls me to discover what's around the next bend. And then I stand in wonder and awe of the whole experience.
My children inspire me. A few weeks ago, the children played on the playground across the street. A short while later they came through the door, their cheeks flushed, sweat on the backs of their necks. A couple of them grabbed water bottles, gulping refreshment without so much as closing the refrigerator door. Eli sat down on the couch next to me.
"Mom!" I closed my book and set it aside. "Mom! We were playing tag and the word Christian was brought up. One of the boys on the playground asked what that is, so I asked him if he knew Who Jesus is." Eli's bright eyes and animated motions revealed his emotion. "Since the boy said no, I told him all about Him."
"That's awesome!"
"So then I asked if he wanted to pray and ask Jesus into his heart. He said yes, so I just prayed with him."
See, now that's what I'm talking about! More days passed and Eli announced another career to his already long list of things he's going to be when he grows up. "Mom, besides being a Navy Seal, a physical therapist, and a professional athlete, I'm going to start my own radio station. I want to start a Christian radio station here in Germany that plays worship and praise music both in English and in German." See a need, fill a need. (Except for on Sunday mornings at church, we haven't listened to any praise or worship music since we arrived as we don't have any of our CD's and the radio stations are all in German -- and they don't play worship ... as far as we can tell.)
Last night a friend who I met two weeks ago came over to say goodbye as they were leaving this morning to return to the states. I just had to know about her relationship with Jesus. So, taking my cue from Eli, I asked her. We had a wonderful conversation. She told me that my children are kind, respectful, fun and that I had mentored her in our few short visits. She said she didn't know why, but "there was just something different about you and your kids." (I always shoot up an arrow prayer at this point because I hope, oh how I hope, that I've mentored on what to do and not what not to do!) We talked some more about Jesus and she said the "difference" made sense to her then. I asked if I could pray with her. We prayed. Thank You, Jesus!!!
This past year has been quite a journey for me. Last spring I sensed God telling us to streamline our lives. "Take stuff off our plates." I started purging our material belongings. I even started to go through hidden away spaces, organize, and pack as if getting ready for a move. I felt like I needed to get ready because something huge was on the horizon. Around January I started to question what this huge adventure might be. One of my dearest and best friends inspired me, "I've told my kids that we need to pare down so that when God says to go, all we have to do is put our shoes on and go." Our family experienced growing pains from a house too small to accomodate growing boys. I wondered more. Are we going to go through something painful? Perhaps it will be something dreamy! I called the City Foster Care program. Maybe, I thought, we'll finally buy another house, do foster care, maybe adopt a child.
I sensed God telling me to "be still." Time and time again, I read about how God expected people to "be in position," before He performed a miracle. Whole passages of Scripture were devoted to detailed description of how God "positioned" people before taking them through something huge, miraculous. II Chronicles 20:17 is just one example, "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you." Further down a few verses, Jehoshaphat instructs the worship team to go ahead of them, "After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying, 'Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.'"
We took up our positions... We waited; We stood still... And God did the miraculous! God brought us here to what seems to us a piece of paradise. Everyday I wake up expectant, wondering what great and mighty things God is going to perform that day. Every breath I take, I "praise Him for the splendor of His holiness." I am desperate for Him and I am desperate for others to know Him. His goodness and His faithfulness never fails.
Life is short. I'm a foreigner enjoying a foreign land. I know where Home is and I look forward to Heaven. In the meantime, I long for more of Jesus in my life, in my home. I feel God's pursuit of my heart, His love toward me as we explore another castle, mingle with the locals, try to pronounce foreign languages, laugh with new friends. My prayer is that God will reveal to my children the boundless, endless love and delight He has in them. My greatest hope is that the moments of our days will be spent living a full-on life of worship; our laughter, tears, dreams, and inspiration all offered up as living sacrifices of the One Who gives us the very breathe we take. Since our arrival, I'm often at a loss for words to describe what my heart is experiencing. All I can do is whisper, "I love You, Jesus. Thank You."
May the moments of your day be filled with praise for the splendor of His holiness as you give thanks to Him. His love endures forever! My prayer is that you, too, will relish the countless reminders throughout your day that you are a foreigner who isn't Home yet. ...And I would love to hear about your experiences as a foreigner on a day to day basis!
I love you! But Jesus loves you More!!

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