June 15, 2012
So it ends. A year of my life has been spent in this most unlikely of places, in this most extreme of lands. In some ways it has passed quickly. But in other ways it has been an eternity. There have been days I thought would never end; times when I knew I could not last one moment longer–could not do this work, live this life . . . and yet I have.
My ladies’ group this year has been doing a study on “Living beyond Yourself,” and even before it began I knew it was going to hit home. It did. God has, in so many ways and on so many levels, brought me to the end of myself and then carried me further on from the point at which my strength failed.
So here I stand now . . . or rather, here I fall on my knees.
I have packed up my library, packed up my home, and flown out of the country in which I have lived–lived feeling as it it is with gritted teeth and clenched fists, much of the time. Yet somehow there has been joy in the midst of it: the joy of community, of we’re-in-this-thing-together; the joy of unexpected beauty–a perfect rose; a snow-capped mountain; a hug from a child.
Yes, I have learned much of Him this year: much of His faithfulness, His care, His love. He does deal with me gently. In a land of violence and of hatred, of fear and of harshness, His hand is gentle.
In this morning’s sermon, Dave admonished us to always be ready to testify [and to remember!] God’s faithfulness in our lives. He spoke of our worship as needing to be pure. Yes, that is my prayer now as I head forward, on from this chapter of life: let my heart be pure, in pure pursuit of Him.
At the end of the sermon, during the closing song, a little girl dressed in her Sunday [Friday?] best, danced. Oblivious to the grownups “properly” worshiping around her, she twirled and leapt up and down the aisles. I stopped my own singing and watched her, smiling. That is what I have felt like this year, in my moments of joy. They have been few. But they have been more intense than at any other time in my life. They have been moments of oblivion to the reality of the world around me: moments when I have simply twirled and leapt in childlike glee.