July 21, 2011

If You Come to the Party, I'll wave a Flag

I remember waiting on the front porch of our home on Linwood Avenue on July 4th one year while growing up in California. This was going to be special! Our family friends were coming over for the afternoon and evening to swim, eat and 'do' fireworks. My middle brother, Marc most-likely provided the fireworks for his little brother (he was always doing nice things like that for me), and no-doubt mom had been working hard getting the food ready. I can't remember exactly, but I'm pretty sure it would have been her amazing chicken for the BBQ, or her even more amazing shish kabobs. There's good reason to suspect that we would have already worked hard cranking the vanilla ice cream, and it would have been hidden in the chest freezer (with the squeekly lid--that darn parental-alerting-lid that would announce when we were stealing quick pre-dessert time tastes). Everything was ready. The house was clean, (yes, my room too), and Dad would have made sure that the pool was spotless, the breezeway was swept, and the 'cool deck' around the pool was washed down. Everything was perfect. Yep. And so, there I sat. Waiting. Waving my little American flag. Hoping they'd come soon, so that when they came in the driveway I could mark the perfect beginning to the perfect party for the perfect Independance Day.

I'm like that, you know. I really do like things to be perfect. And so I waited for a perfect two hours. Burned in my memory. It might as well have been 2 years. Two hours is a long time to wait when you're trying to make sure that you're ready to wave the flag, just right when they drive in the driveway. But arrive, they did, and I think I did wave the flag. At this point I can't remember, and I suppose that's the point--so much of my life I live in this realm of "wouldn't it be perfect if?", and it never is. I'm learning to live with the reality more than the perfect these days. 45 years later, I'm getting pretty good at it. I’m learning how to trade my perfect for His perfect.

In the days following our acceptance with ReachGlobal, we were told that God would teach us so much during this time of support team building.  They spoke the truth. We do seem to be in the fast lane of all that God wants to do in our hearts and minds as we journey toward Lyon, France. Some of it is amazing. Some of it is painful. Some of it is humbling. Some of it is I'll-never-go-back-life-changing.

I suppose one of the hardest things so far is coming to the realization that the journey won't be ‘perfect’ by any stretch of the imagination. And so we've had to put away our 'wouldn't it be perfect if we were able to raise the support needed in a very short time and make it all fit in our neat little world?' tendency and come to grips with the actual reality that we are now looking at being here for another 12 months.

Although we would love to packing, sorting and doing all the steps needed to move to another country, we are not yet near that part of our journey. ReachGlobal has lots of great training requirements for each family unit heading to the field. We’re not able to attend some of these training events until we have a certain percentage of our support raised. One of these crucial sessions is meant to help prepare us for the cross-cultural changes we’ll face on the field and are best attended as close to departure to the field as possible. There are 12+ weeks of online sessions that lead up to this 10-day live session, which is only offered two times a year. Due to the current level of our support, we will not be able to attend the live session until next April 2012. With this in mind, we’ve decided the kids should stay and complete the school year.

It’s hard for us to live in two worlds – continuing our jobs & schooling here while preparing our hearts & minds for serving in France. At the same time, we’ll just trust in HIS perfect plan:  Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. (Prov. 16:3)  To choose His way over my way reminds me of a song that we used in a Christmas production a few years ago

"If I had my way about it..." 
If I had my way about it I'd dance in grassy fields and fragrant meadows.
I would rise up in the morning to hear the robin's lovely melody.
I would live in the wide spaces far away from hurting places
I would bear a cross that asks much less of me.
I'd never sail in troubled winds or on the raging seas
If only You had left it up to me.
But if I'd had my way I might be wading through the rivers
When You wanted me to walk upon the seas.
And if I'd had my say with all of my wants and whims and wishes
You know how weak, how shallow I would be.
If only You had left it up to me.
And if I'd had my way about it I would only know Your majesty and glory.
I would pass my cup of sorrow to someone far more willing to receive.
I would pen the grandest phrases, I would sing such lofty praises
I would sail above my own humanity..
The wounded would never die and hearts would never bleed...
If only You had left it up to me.
But if I had my way I might be wading through the rivers
When You wanted me to walk upon the seas.
And if I had my say, with all my wants and whims and wishes
You know how weak, how shallow I would be...
I trust Your wisdom over mine because You've proven over time
That in my narrow way of seeing things I leave the best behind sometimes...
I might not have stayed close to You, Lord
If I'd had my way.

I'm trying to give up my way for His way.  It seems to be better.

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