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I think that in the back of my head, I expected to live in the Philippines during my “give a year and pray about a lifetime” while life in the States was on pause. At the end of the year, Alex and I would return, slip back into old friendships and old positions “just like normal.” Halfway through our term in Manila, our professional, church, and friend communities in the States have experienced significant organizational, administrative, and policy changes. New administration is in place. New requirements have been added. Engagements have officially coupled some friends. Weddings others. Still others have given birth or announced firstborns on the way. Friends have moved to new homes. To different states. Friends of friends have passed away. Much has changed. And so these seven months have been a reminder that I am not in control. That there are no guarantees. I must follow the Holy Spirit’s direction to invest in the people God has placed around me right now, without pining after the past or the future. Besides, this Earth is not my home. Not the Philippines. Not Metro Manila. Not America. Not the Midwest. Not Chicago.

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God continues to challenge me to be where I am. Where He has placed me. In my classroom, that may mean answering the same question a fourth time. ; ) During the passing period, it may mean listening to a student’s story about his dog instead of rushing to prep for the afternoon’s class. Praying with a staff member instead of making copies for later in the week. At home, that may mean acting as a sounding board for Alex as he processes a new project. In our neighborhood, that may mean spending time with the little girls incessantly ringing the doorbell and calling out our names. They, like me, long to be known. I long to be known by my Father. The One who never changes. The One who will never leave me or forsake me. The One who longs for me to turn off my phone, shut my computer, and be His. The One who wants to know and be known by me, you, all.

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