Backpacks, Stories and Faith

It’s been two weeks since we left Oregon for Skopje, Macedonia, our home for at least the next six months.

It’s a crazy thing to do: pack your family’s life into seven checked bags and six carry-ons and move to a country you’ve never been to, where you don’t speak the language and put yourself in the hands of complete strangers.

It only took long enough for us to hit cruising altitude on our flight out of Portland for me to wonder, ‘What the hell are we doing?’.  The fact that we were on a redeye, I’d hardly slept the night before and the kids were restless might have had something to do with it, but the thought crept into my head and stayed with me for the rest of our travels (which was a total of 30 hours – I don’t know how we survived).

Why would we leave the familiarity of our home country, move far away from our kids’ grandparents and give up access to anything we could ever want to live in a tiny country in Eastern Europe?

Sometimes I’m not sure. But I know this is where God wants us to be.

God is writing a story and our lives are the words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters.

Just like when I read Eleanor a new book for the first time and she is anxious to know what’s going to happen next, I want God to tell me the exact point and purpose of us being here. I want to read ahead. Yes, I know it’s so Ryan can do an internship to finish his master’s degree, but why are we really here?  What is God teaching us? What is he preparing us for? What difficulties and joys will we experience? Why does it have to be here and not in the US or even Western Europe (or anywhere with fitted sheets*)? Is anything meaningful or worthwhile going to come out of this crazy, transient life I lead?

I know the answers will become clearer as time goes on but I get impatient. I want the Author of my story to tell me how it ends now.

But instead of skipping pages, he looks at me and asks a question, ‘Do you believe I can do it?’ (Mt. 9:28).

Right now my answer is a tentative ‘yes…’ but I can already see the areas where my faith is weak, the areas of my heart and life I don’t want to trust God with.

Seeing my weakness helps me to remember what’s God’s purpose for my life is: to be made more like Jesus. And for some reason God has moved me to Macedonia for that. I just have to remain open to whatever it is he doing and let him do his good work.

It’s not easy but, even still, I’m glad we’re here. And I look forward to reading the next sentence in my story.

* Since writing this I found fitted sheets – guess it’s not so rough here after all!

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