Our first attempt had ended in an outburst…sharp words and hot tears. Things deeper than dollars and maps and calendars surfaced ugly. One turned to the TV, another to a book.
How we needed a new channel. A fresh, clean page.
Deep breath. Confession times two. Forgiveness. Begin again. Because that’s what families do. That’s what families are for. Second chances. And third. Fourth. Fifth. As many as it takes.
We’ve had our share these past five years. It happens when you share the same church, life group, school, small town, last name.
New leaves turn over as hard as old habits die. So we start over with a prayer. From the Top down this time. Together. Offering our little back to God with thanks in faith that He will make a miracle and there will be enough. Enough for a clean break and a fresh start.
We sat at the dinner table and planned. Come late summer three will drive the span of the continent and then two will return.
I’m going north while my brother and his wife are staying south. These dear ones who said dream, go, do, try…why not. The ones who poured living water and sunshine on my mustard seed faith. They will be far away.
But no matter how far, family always finds a way. I know that now. There are some bonds distance cannot weaken and time cannot erode. God tied us together and He will keep us. That was my prayer when parents moved to Africa, and now me moving to Canada in pursuit of art and ministry and new life… God, bring us closer together though we are farther apart.
I’m still afraid to move. I’m still haunted by words like “alone”, “forgotten”, “left behind”. But the paralysis has been cured by deciding faith is more important than fear. Walking with God is better than staying safe and secure.
The path of righteousness can wind right through the valley of shadows. There is evil and there will be enemies. But always, the rod and staff deftly guide. He is High King and Good Shepherd. Always, there is a table and anointing for the choosing. A bed of green grass waits and still waters restore, soul-deep. Goodness and love will never stop pursuing. All days. Always. All the way across that border into unknown places, two years of more studies and student debt.
He is with me. With. To that word I hold on for dear life. The essence of who God is. Emmanuel, God with us. He’s been there. All along. He is here, now. With us. For us. From the beginning and forever. Eternally with us.
God is like the wild card you can count on in this crazy life. He is not tame or controllable. You can’t predict how or when He’ll show up. But you can bet your boots He’ll be there. For His name’s sake. To stay true to who He is.
Not because I am full of faith but because He is faithful. Not because I am strong in trust but because He is trustworthy. Not because I am loveable but because He is Love. Not because of anything I am but because He was, is and always will be the I AM. The God of Abraham, Jacob and Moses is the God of you and me.
“…the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
your very great reward.” (Gen. 15:1)
“There…stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac…I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” (Gen. 28:13-17)
“And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.” (Exodus 3:10-15)