I cannot tell you how many times I sat down to write in the last year.
My drafts column is littered with posts that were churning in my mind, but my heart could not seem to fan into flame the words my mind was too clouded to connect. Knowing God is good in all things, I accepted this as a season of simply being quiet amidst so much change that came in many forms I did not welcome.
I have a mostly written post about the temporary home we had when we returned from YWAM and a visit to the dentist that was a literal gift from the Lord, which through my fear of the dentist, ministered to my soul deeply. There is a post about the elders of my church spending a chilly Saturday morning to move us in a swift hour and a half, then to pause, hand in hand, in my new living room, praying over us. There is another post expressing the desire to get Francesca here for the summer and my fear of asking such a preposterous question to her mother, that God was obviously too small or too busy to hear.
There were more posts, but I simply could not find the words I needed that came from that place that is good and right when inspired to write. When the words are right, they feel like a nice, warm sweater on a chilly fall day - this is a gift of the Spirit at work. To me, every word seemed forced and flat; I would lose my point as I wrote, as if it slipped further and further away, like chasing a boat on a foggy sea. The more I moved to catch it, the further it went, and I couldn’t see where.
So I let it lie.
On December 26th, I began to write, but could not finish. This time, it was because it hurt too much as the fog turned to cold, winter rain.
It is now winter, just one day after Christmas. It is calm, cloudy, and still outside. The streets are wet, and light rain continues to fall. The gifts have been put away, and the house is clean. There is a stillness here, in our little house that I never intended to become a home.
We are putting up the suitcases and putting our things in a dresser - for the moment.
In late August, after a full spring of fundraising, and a whirlwind summer in which our dear Francesca came to live with us in Texas, I was called to the church for what I thought was a simple check in.
I had no idea I was going to be asked to pause our long term plans for Italy.
The meeting itself is a blur; I was so shocked as I left the church, I felt as if in a daze, like a soldier in a film on D-Day. I couldn’t even find my car. I think I cried for a solid three days because I simply didn’t understand. I remember at one point I was completely asleep, yet woke myself up because I was crying, again.
It has been an extremely hard season. I grieved quietly, way into November, then December, and into January. I continued to grow into teaching art at school, learning to create a program, and to lead. I fought through the rain that turned back to fog, but more importantly sometime in late February, I began to answer the hard question my counselor asked me months before: was I asking the church to approve of me, more than I approved of myself?
In short, the answer came in a very timid, whispery and surrendered, “yes.”
And in the long days that followed the fruitful summer we spent planting seeds, not only for ministry in Italy, but also in the hearts of Francesca, Amelie, and myself, here is what I know: God is faithful - on mountaintops, in valleys, and especially, the depths of desperately foggy seas.
In fact, he walks on them, too.
Francesca has made a profession of faith and we continue on toward Italy.
More to come - and soon.