Month: October 2014

Expanding My Repertoire of Beautiful

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Fall is my favourite.  The way it looks.  The way it feels.  The way it smells.  Mmmm, it’s the best!  Although, I also love the first snowfall of winter!  Oh, and I adore new blossoms and the promise of spring!  And I really appreciate a relaxing summer day at the lake.  So, actually, I guess I’m more of a changing seasons girl.  Must be the Canadian in me.

I’ve been told the 4 seasons of the UAE are “hot, hot, hot,” “hot, hot,” “hot,” and “fly season.”  Soooo not super encouraging to my seasonal heart.  But, even though the landscape is not changing here, and I can’t mark the new seasons by the view out my window, I can feel it in the air.  It is cooling down enough here to brave the outdoors, even in the daylight hours.  Last night I heard it even got down to 25 degrees.  People….I might need a hoodie!

So, although I can’t take snapshots of my kids amongst the changing leaves this fall, I decided I could explore and share the beauty we do have around us here in Al Ain.  Because if there is one thing I learned living in 4 Canadian provinces, it’s that there are all kinds of beauty, and it can be found everywhere.

Here are some shots of us in our own sandbox.

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We’re finding our way, friends.  There is much to appreciate here.  Beauty all around.


Called Me Deeper

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Somewhere along the line I became a doubter.

When I was a teenager and young adult, I made decisions with great confidence and never second guessed myself. So why is it that as I’ve matured, I find myself analyzing every recent decision and wondering?

Perhaps it’s because there is more at stake now. Or maybe there was always lots at stake, it’s just that I’m more aware of it now. Or there’s always the fact that I’m married and responsible for two little humans now, which means my decisions have at least three times more impact than they used to. Whatever the root cause, the result is that, from time to time, I struggle to find the peace I once had.

For example, we recently moved across the planet. In the first six months of 2014, God was so very clear to me. He was clearly preparing us for a change. He was clearly calling us to a deeper challenge and commitment. He was clearly leading us to a new place to do a new work in us. But now that we’ve gone to that new place and are feeling the deep challenge, I doubt.  I don’t doubt God. I believe with all my heart that God is good and his ways are best. I believe in his provision. I believe in the sustaining power of his Spirit. I believe he is the same, wherever I am, and that whatever he has in mind for me is better than what I could ever come up with. I don’t doubt God at all.

I doubt myself.

Did I hear him right, in those months of seeking? Was I searching for something and therefore reading too much into what I was hearing? Did I make something out of nothing? Did I sense the Spirit rustling or was it really just the wind? I was the first to entertain the thought of uprooting our family. Dwayne and I made this decision together, and had much affirmation from people close to us, but what if I’d just been focused on being content where we were and hadn’t even suggested we explore this option? What if I’d just kept my head down and pushed through? What if this whole big mess was a mistake and it’s my fault?

Because I could have carried on. We could have continued to find ways to pull things off financially. Sort of. And Dwayne could have waited things out in his job for another year and eventually landed a contract. I could have ignored the promptings to consider another path. I could have assumed that God’s call to something deeper meant staying where I was and doing basically the same things. And I’d be preparing for a Thanksgiving feast in my lovely home with my friends nearby and my family on their way. I’d be deciding on Halloween costumes and be talking about taking down the trampoline. I’d be watching the Seahawks game today and we’d be expecting Dwayne to get a subbing call. The tears roll down my face even as I write about what could have been.

called me deeperBut that’s not my present reality. Instead I am slowly building a life here in the UAE. Establishing our homeschool routine, finding new community, learning a new language, settling into a new home, embracing a new church family, struggling to be patient with everyone and everything. And because my present reality is hard, I doubt. Did we make a huge mistake?

It would have been so much easier to have stayed. To have ignored the promptings. To have justified the reasons. And sometimes when things are easy, they feel right. But, I have learned that sometimes hard is right.

In the days before we gave up possession of our home – right about the time things were starting to get hard – my friend Karen sent me a link to this song. I hadn’t heard it before, but as I sat on the floor in Abby’s empty bedroom, I cried (surprise, surprise) and let the commitment of it sink deep into my soul.

I could just sit
I could just sit and wait for all Your goodness
Hope to feel Your presence
And I could just stay
I could just stay right where I am and hope to feel You
Hope to feel something again

And I could hold on
I could hold on to who I am and never let You
Change me from the inside
And I could be safe
I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home
Never let these walls down

But You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I’ll go where You will lead me Lord
You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I’ll go where You lead me Lord
Where You lead me
Where You lead me Lord

Let me be clear: I don’t think God calls us all to leave our homes and our countries. I don’t believe that is the only way to go higher or deeper in our commitment to him. But I do believe that he calls us all to move. Move when he prompts us. Move to consider the thing that seems too scary or too hard. Move our hearts to follow his. Wherever that may lead.

So I doubt. I wonder if we heard wrong.  I wonder if we could have chosen something easier and still been faithful. But I cling, and I mean, I CLING, to the fact that in my heart I believed this was what God called us to. And our desire is to be faithful, to open our hearts to transformation, to be willing to go wherever he is leading.  And so I trust the God I know.  That if the best case scenario is true and we heard correctly and followed obediently or the worse case scenario is true and we didn’t hear correctly and acted rashly – either way – the God I know is with us and will transform us and will use all this for his glory.