Since moving out of our Irvine home right before Christmas, we have been traveling to visit family and friends across the US (from MN to GA to NY) and have spent a few days in a temporary home in Rancho Cucamonga, CA (thanks to a generous family who is letting stay in their condo). We’ve been living out of our suitcases, each day unravelling its own adventures, with two days never being the same. One word describes it for me: unsettled.
And it has been killing me inside.
Let me explain. I’m a person who thrives on schedules and routine. I function the best when each day is predictably organized. So this lack of schedule and forced flexibility has grated my nerves. Damon and I have jokingly called it our pre-field training, as we know well (and heard from others) that flexibility and adaptability is key when living overseas.
But I admit that it’s been a challenge for me because it exposes my very weaknesses – the ways in which I find comfort and security in the routine, the convenient, and the familiar; the ways I seek control in those very things; and in the end, the ways in which I cling to my self-reliance through that very control.
I first noticed my struggle in the fastidious care with which I attended to my suitcases. I would get genuinely upset when Damon rummaged in a bag to get a t-shirt or if my girls pulled out a toy from one of the packed suitcases. My severe reaction made me take a step back to think about why I was obsessing over the order of our suitcases. I saw that those suitcases had become my only realm of control (and thus, my security and peace) to which I clung dearly as a drowning man clings to a life boat (!!).
Then one morning, I read in Romans 5 that “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” and then a cross reference in Hebrews 6:
17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
I was reminded: my anchor is not in schedules and routine, or even in my well-organized suitcases (!). Rather it is in the salvation I have in Christ; my refuge is the Lord. This hope of heaven given to me does not disappoint – so rather than seeking security or stability in my circumstances or things, I need to find my refuge and anchor in Christ alone.
Once I began to hold onto this reality by changing my perspective, I had tremendous peace and joy. I began to see all the blessings the Lord has given us during this time of transition; I began to have a thankful heart. I saw that the Lord is in control, and He will provide for all my needs in a particular day. When I relinquished my control, the Lord gave me peace in the absence of routine and structure.
I need to remind myself of this truth continually, because I’m forget it every day. But I hope this truth gives you comfort and strength in whatever circumstances you are facing today. In what things are you seeking your security? What is your “domain of control” that you are not willing to let go? To what are you clinging as your anchor (it could be as menial as a bunch of suitcases but it could also be greater such as your job, financial security, family, material comforts, etc.)? I hope you will re-order your perspective to find refuge in Christ – the salvation He has given you and the hope of heaven in which we live.
Thanks for reading,
Japan Preparation Update:
- Thank you for your prayers! We had a wonderful trip to the east coast to visit family and friends. We also got the necessary document to get our visas quickly! Praise God!
- We have our departure date: February 17, Tuesday.
- Commissioning Service: We invite you to join us on Sunday, February 8, at 1:30pm at BayCities Community Church (2043 Lomita Boulevard, Lomita, CA 90717). Dinner will be served after the service.
- Increased faith and trust in God – personally in each of us, in our marriage, in parenting, in relationships with others. For joy, peace, and grateful hearts during this transitional time.
- Guidance in homeschooling Aliya (as she finishes out the spring semester of kindergarten)
- Japan: wisdom in deciding our girls’ schooling options (which includes the possibility of an international school which would require additional fundraising for both our girls to attend); for our housing (that an apartment larger than 700 sq ft would open up); for settling in smoothly with flexible and trusting hearts