If you read my blog regularly, you may have noticed I seemed to have fallen off the face of the cyber world for the last 3 weeks. I would explain my mental state over the last month as paralyzed. Wanna know why? It’s a long story, so if you really want to know, here’s the whole deal.
I re-purposed this blog back in March because I had a new vision. I wanted to write about making intentional choices toward a life of passion and meaning. About actively working to do what God has put on our hearts instead of passively moving with the flow of our culture. About making difficult choices if it means fulfilling our mission.
Of course, I should have expected that God would want to know how serious I was about all that before he’d give me a voice to write about it.
I thought we’d already made our difficult, intentional choices. Stepping away from stable jobs, starting our own business, homeschooling our kids. Those were choices we made because God gave us a glimpse of a different future. They were hard and scary moves. But now I see that those steps of faith were not an end in themselves. They were simply that – steps. Steps toward the next big move God had for us. Preparation, really.
The image I have of our family, which I shared with them a while ago, was of a hot air balloon tethered to the ground. (If you’d like a more complete visual, Josiah said the balloon should be red and Abby said it should have a butterfly. So there it is. Our red butterfly hot air balloon.) Over the last couple of years, it seems like God has been cutting some of the ropes that tether us down. Dwayne’s job. My job. The kids’ school. We were left with just a couple of ropes tying us to the ground. Strong ropes, mind you. But as we started to consider options for our future, we found ourselves asking God if he wanted us to tie down with more ropes, or cut the remaining tethers and fly.
So my prayers the last few months have been peppered with questions. Waiting expectantly for direction. Full of longing to spend my life extravagantly on Jesus. Desiring to reach my maximum redemptive potential. (Shout out to you RvA. If you read this blog.)
But my prayers have also sounded, at times, like pleading. Pleading for God’s financial provision. Pleading for peace in my own heart about fulfilling God’s call on my life. And pleading for Dwayne to find work that would give him a sense of purpose and contribution again. It hasn’t been an easy couple of years for him. And at this point, I’d be willing to go anywhere in the world for my husband to be reminded that he is a great teacher with much to offer. That he can provide for his family and contribute to the lives of students he connects with. That he can be used mightily by God in his work, just as he is in his home. (Because, let me tell ya, he is the world’s best husband and father.)
So, I expected God’s answer to my requests for provision and direction and peace and purpose would come in the form of a job offer in Langley, where Dwayne currently works as a TOC. But instead, God laid in front of us an opportunity to go to Abu Dhabi. It’s okay if you don’t immediately know where that is. I had to look it up to double check when I first saw the posting. “Is that the capital of Ethiopia?” Yeah, that was my first thought. “Or is it in the Middle East?” Hey, I got it on my second try! Well, a month later, I know A LOT about Abu Dhabi thanks to the world wide web. And in another few months, I’ll be able to write about our first hand accounts there, because we’re heading there in August. Dwayne has accepted a two year teaching contract with the Abu Dhabi Education Council, so we’re off to live in the desert! Even though there are many things about this process that are painful, we are super excited for the adventure that awaits us.
In many ways, this journey feels like too much to share in one post. My journal entries, since February especially, are full of underlined and circled thoughts that I see were all leading to this decision. One in particular really stands out to me. On February 13th, I wrote, “Jesus can use all of us to tell his story. He takes ordinary men and women and says, ‘I’m going to unleash you.'” I circled and starred and underlined “I’m going to unleash you,” so many times and didn’t really know why, except that I felt God was really preparing me for a big change. Then came the image of the hot air balloon. Then came this offer to move across the world. And although I believe I’m still only seeing a small part of what’s to come, I can see that God has been orchestrating this situation for a long time. In his grace, preparing our lives and our hearts to say yes to his prompting.
So we’ll spend the next couple of months preparing to let loose the last tethers, and off we’ll fly!
PS. Stay tuned for many more blog posts, because one of the things I’m most excited about in all of this is the chance to write about it, and the chance to photograph it!