I'm not done reading yet (a few more pages to go!), but I know what I want to post about this week.
"Is there some part of your life which you are refusing to surrender at his behest, some sinful passion, maybe, or some animosity, some hope, perhaps your ambition or your reason?" (67)
This line stopped me in my tracks this morning. Don't get all excited; I don't have some huge sin to confess. :~) Actually, it's quite the opposite. Those of you who have known me for a while know that one of my biggest dreams is to teach third culture kids in an international school in a developing nation, possibly with missions. Because I grew up in such an environment, I feel like I can relate to those students in ways that many adults cannot. On a more selfish note, I want my kids to know that life. I want them to grow up in that domain, where simplicity is acceptable, where childhood lasts a little bit longer, where innocence is preserved, and where making the right choices isn't always uncool.
Obviously, the Lord hasn't taken us there yet. And as hard as it is for me to write these words, maybe He never will. I have a really, really hard time accepting that. In fact, when I think about that being the truth, I actually start tearing up.
Recently, one of my friends wrote this in her family's prayer letter: "We are learning to put down roots where we are while still keeping our eyes on the goal of overseas." She is a French teacher, her husband is a pilot, and they have two small children. They are in Seattle, working with Moody and Wycliffe, preparing to return (eventually) to Africa, where they both grew up. I've taken these words to heart. They're even written on my kitchen whiteboard, where we keep our special prayer requests for family and friends (so we'll see them every day). Not once have I considered that maybe it isn't God's plan for me, for our family, to live overseas.
When I read Bonhoeffer's words this morning, though, I was hit with the thought that even dreams need to be surrendered. I asked myself, "Am I refusing to give up my dreams in exchange for the unknown that He has for me?" Frankly, the answer is yes. I've always been of the persuasion that God puts dreams, ambitions, and passions in our hearts for a reason. When the subbing life got unbearable, on those days when I'd come home and cry, my hopeful reminder to myself was that this was not what God had prepared me for, that my "real" teaching career was yet to come.
I don't know that it isn't in God's plan to send us overseas, but I don't know that it IS, either. I guess the key is in contentment with where He has us in the present and trust for where He will take us in the future. It's a bitter pill for me to swallow, but I know I have to give it up to Him.
"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner