This week, we’re all struggling.
Much of it is just the accumulated transition of now. Mary Hannah has been gone nearly a month, and we have settled into a “she’s not here” routine that feels normal to us in the day to day, but is still always looking for her smile, her laugh, and her cheerful enthusiasm for life. Birdie just had her birthday, and Christopher’s is barreling towards us in a handful of days. There’s the new-to-us experience of a weekly co-op for some of the kids, an intense focus on Phineas’ schooling, an infant who is seconds away from being a baby (and all that entails), prayers for a visa for Babita, and Christopher’s upcoming trip to bring relief funds and assistance directly to Christians in Nepal.
A year ago this week, we said goodbye to everything. Our beloved home– the one that was supposedly “too small” but fit us all just so. The green, beautiful place we had come to feel was “us.” The church we had been an active part of for 12 years. And the people. Oh, the people. The friends who had become family. The babies who had grown into teenagers. The folks who knew our hearts and celebrated and mourned with us, cheering us on as we stepped out into another adventure.
We thought we knew what we were walking into, and we were wrong. We thought we saw God’s plan so clearly laid out before us. We thought we knew how and when we’d be serving, and where, and what it would look like.
We never saw coming home in just a few month’s time as an option. And you know, still … a year later … the thing that gets me through is that God did. It’s all I’ve got. A year later, and it’s the only assurance that makes sense in the mess.
A year is a lifetime in the news cycle, even amongst those who know you best. A good number of folks have forgotten what trauma it was that deposited us here, stunned, on the wrong side of the continent. And that’s o.k. We live by the promise of Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing!” We do not dress in sackcloth, we do not pile stones as memorials to our broken places. We wait quietly, sometimes even patiently, for God to heal the hurt places, and we go on.
Even this week.
Even as we look around, one year later, and we think of what was and dream of what could have been.
People– good people, dear friends, those who have had their hearts broken alongside ours– ask if we would do it again. Knowing what we know now, would we go to Nepal? They ask for us, and they ask for themselves. Would you still follow, knowing the cost? Is it worth it to follow the radical call?
Even now, yes.
We have been broken and reforged. We have lost and we have gained. We have been stripped bare and forced to bloom in His time, in His way. Without the yes that cost me my comfort, I would never have held my Nepali daughter as we sobbed in the kitchen over the loss of her birthmother. Without leaving behind all that I knew, I never would have stood in the presence of eager young church planters and encouraged them with cookies, coffee, and the Names of God. I would have missed worshipping alongside Nepali believers and seeing the darkness of Hinduism firsthand. How can I regret any of this?
As hard as it is to say this week, as low as my heart feels with the what ifs… I have counted the cost, and the answer is still yes.