Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Transitions

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined--and everyone undergoes discipline--then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Hebrews 12:7-13

     This 33rd year of my life has been a challenging one. It has been a year full of transitions, and there are more transitions yet to come. I've transitioned from living and working in a hot, humid environment in Impfondo, Congo to living in cooler, less humid Indiana. I've transitioned from working in a culture not my own, speaking daily in a second or third language, and struggling with finding the right words, to working in the US, in my own language, but in a job less fulfilling. I've transitioned back to another culture, similar to the one in Impfondo, but yet different, in Nyankunde. I could at least speak French and some Lingala, but now limited by lack of speaking Swahili, and struggling with another language barrier.
     During all these transitions, my faith has been challenged. I've been forced to re-evaluate many things.  I feel as though God has been breaking down certain barriers I have built up over the years so He could either create new doors, or rebuild the wall in a structurally sound manner, rather than my feeble human-erred attempts.  He's calling me to draw closer to him, to put aside any distractions I've had in the past, and step out in faith.
    The question remains-step out where? I am not yet sure. I have some ideas, but I am not yet ready to share them with the world, and they require much more prayer before things are clear. I was hoping that during my three months in Nyankunde, I would have a clear direction as to the next steps in my life. However, the only thing that is clear is that I must trust God and depend fully on him. Jennie Allen, author of the book Restless, writes "He likes his kids completely hanging on to him for dear life more than he cares about the perfect plan being executed. He is after us, and uncertainty is usually what keeps us glued to his side. He is in the trenches with us. In the fear. In the uncertainty. He is in the unknown-knowing and leading and working. What we don't know yet is meant to lead us to dependence."
     Every time I read that last sentence, my mind wants to read "What we don't know yet is meant to lead us to independence. Which is exactly the opposite of what she is saying. Learning to be dependent is very difficult for this independent woman (ask my mom, I've wanted to do things myself since I was a baby. I wouldn't even take solid food until I could feed it to myself). But through these last three years, God has been asking me and teaching me to be dependent on Him and others, rather than trying to do it all myself. I've found through many mistakes and cultural faux pas that being independent often hurts ourselves and others-it deprives us of community and the ability to truly bear one another's burdens, and it causes undue fatigue and stress on ourselves.
  There are no words to thoroughly express the thankfulness and joy I have for my friends and family who have been by my side during this time. There has been some laughter, and many, many tears in the last year. I'm so thankful to have them nearby to wrap their arms around me (literally or virtually) and love me without condition. It's been exactly what I've needed.    
  So I ask you to gather round, pray for me as I pray for you, that we may bear one another's burdens. Pray for guidance for my future, and that I rest comfortably in the Savior's love for me. I will be praying the same for you.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 
Hebrews 12:1-3


2 comments:

Leera said...

I pray for you Laura everyday. I know God is creating wonderful things for you.

Leera said...

Dena Tiefel