This year has been a year of God stripping me down to my core at times. It has not always been a fun year - in fact many times it was down right rough. Between some intense counseling that was required to go the next step in getting to S. Sudan, the death of a young friend, the moving of our family (again), the adjusting to not one, not two, but three jobs (counting fund raising), and the re-entrance of an old relationship that was not always healthy and easy into my life recently, I feel like I am stretched to my limit. Yet in it all I see God's fingerprints.
The counseling that felt like another hoop to jump through was a time of acquiring real health and wholeness again. I gained not only a clearer view of myself and God, but I also developed a new friendship with a Godly woman whom I trust and who "gets me." (That feels hard to come by, sometimes!) The death of one young man lead to the eternal salvation of another and the chance to tell of what the amazing change in his life was about. The moving gave us a wonderful house where we have been able to invite people over and develop new relationships and spend good time together. (Our house is always open - come visit - or even stay a while!) And the three job thing - well, God is faithful and supplying all we need in it. The two churches are growing and being stretched themselves, and fund raising is a time of being able to share our heart for Africa over and over and over again. And that relationship that has re-entered after all these years? Well, how does one say no to a person who repeatedly asks you to tell them about Jesus and what that means for his life? I have noticed that as I have prayed for this person and God has given me a real love again for him, that I am (once again) feeling more healthy and whole. I can't imagine how heaven will feel, when all of these earthly hurts and circumstances are gone - I have felt free and able recently in ways that I haven't experienced before.
In all of those big things God has been faithful in the little things, too. And he continues to pursue me, lavish his love on me, show me his plan bit by bit and moment by moment, and astound me with his love and mercy. So, for all my dear friends whom I have recently talked to that are feeling overwhelmed, tired, alone, and hesitant to believe in His faithfulness I say, "Stand strong and persevere." He has a plan for you - one with a hope and a future. And believe that in all of it he will continue to carry that plan out. For your best.