I've traveled long
I've been quick to judge
So now I'll walk a different road
Don't want to live without
I have been listening to this song a lot this summer, but now that we're back home, it's taken on a vastly different meaning for me. I'm experiencing a deep peace right now and it's a huge source of strength. I honestly don't remember the last time I've experienced God's peace at this deep a level.
I think with this peace comes a big responsibility on my part. The responsibility to not fall back into my old ways and if I find myself doing that, to have the strength to quit in light of the fact that's not the way life should be anymore.
Right before we left for Sri Lanka, we had an email come into the house which was offering Mr. Cinder an opportunity to take a job back in the city where we moved from last year. It's really interesting, in terms of how you handle a situation like this one. Things are up in the air a tiny bit at work right now for Mr. Cinder and so essentially, this could have served as an "easy" way out of having to go through a potentially difficult trial in the future. It would have brought us back to friendships which were already three years in the making and pretty concreted...bring you back into a comfortable place, where you're not necessarily the "new" person or the person people don't know nearly as well.
Mr. Cinder emailed the person back and let them know that we felt very led to be where we are. As good as the job sounded, we would be staying put where we are. As hard as it might have been to face and close the door to the past yet again, I think it was the only course of action. I spent a day back in our old city this week and it was so awesome and comfortable to be back with my friends...I miss many of them terribly, even now after being away a year. But the the truth of the matter is this...God had plans for leading us where we ended up. I think Sri Lanka was only a piece of that puzzle. He has worked in our family heavily this last year and we have grown a lot and I know we are going to continue to grow in relationship with Him, with each other, in ministry and simply in life.
I need to apologize, as this post is going to fly all over the board, but that's how my head's working right now. I have written a fair bit about how I don't really "fit" in any boxes...I fit the box of my family, but to people around me, I don't necessarily "fit" the roles in their minds. I don't really "fit" when it comes to living life in this world...or so it always seemed to me. I like to work hard, be very thorough, do honest work, etc., but I also like to take breaks and rest at more than one time throughout my day. I want to share a little secret with y'all...I found a box I "fit" in. When I got to Sri Lanka, I felt at ease a lot of days, in a way I hadn't for quite a while. Some would say, "Well Cinder, you were on vacation, so that's why you felt that way!" But I was on vacation last month in our country and I didn't experience that same ease. In Sri Lanka, I was able to throw away my watch and even though there were structured times, depending what was on the agenda, there were also plenty of times where things were wide-open and unstructured. There weren't rigid timelines and deadlines which needed to be met. I was able to simply be myself. I didn't feel the self-consciousness that I experience on almost a daily basis here. I didn't feel an incessant need to please people or to meet invisible standards, because they were simply happy with where I was, at that time and place. They didn't have any hidden expectations, weren't always on the go...they simply offered fellowship and potential friendship...they showed me what I need to make important in my life and what I need to remove from the list perceived as important. Then so very quickly, the time came to say goodbye and to return home. Now back home, I'm homesick for the place where I felt like I "fit". Don't get me wrong...I'm extremely grateful to reunited with my family and to be experiencing freedom and security. What I'm feeling inside right now...it's very weird for a lack of better words to describe it and definitely something I really did not expect to feel at the levels I am feeling.
The other secret I came back with (Mr. Cinder knows about it)...the last Sunday in Sri Lanka, when our team was still split in two, so Mr. Cinder and I were traveling in different circles, something pretty remarkable happened. I somehow managed to get a hotel room for just me, while all the other team members had to share rooms with people. I think God had a hand in making this one happen. He and I entered into a really rich time of prayer...He brought me to a place of shedding tears for my friends of Sri Lanka and for my friends back home. He brought me to a strong place of surrender. That night, while laying on a bed in a Sri Lankan hotel, I surrendered my life, my marriage and my family into the Lord's hands completely. I said that I would be listening for His guidance and that I would go wherever He leads us, without question and with a happy heart, no matter how hard it might be to pack up and leave the roots we are setting down.
We have started small discussions with our kids since being back, about the possibility of eventually going onto the mission field as a family. We're still instilling the fact to our kids that we are on the mission field everyday that we wake up and do life, but want them to know that mommy and daddy are feeling a small prompting to explore going away from the comfortable mission field of home. Do we know where we will be led to go, if led to go at all? No, but we are vowing as a couple and eventually as a family, to be prepared...so that if that call comes, we'll face it with happiness and gratefulness vs. anger, sadness and apprehension.
Things are different in our house and I pray they'll continue to be...that it will grow, blossom and strengthen each and everyday!