Not Just a Postlude

One of the biggest challenges for me upon moving back to small-town USA was my life lost a sense of adventure. For over a decade, my experiences had been shaped by an array of cultural sights and sounds. We were nomads, able to travel frequently to other countries and our daily lives had bright snapshots of the crazy, beautiful world we lived in. The street I live on now is quiet. I take my kids to school in my baby-blue mini-van. We don’t have the finances to travel extensively anymore. It all seems so…ordinary. Facebook and Instagram show a life that is not ours right now—exotic locations, thriving food scenes, exciting kingdom work, etc.

I kick back against the ordinary. It doesn’t come naturally to me anymore. I want to travel and move around; there is so much of the world I want to experience. This past summer I found myself a bit angry and a bit forlorn that we just didn’t have the ability to travel like we once used to. “This?! This is where You want us right now?! Really? Come on, God. You have to have something bigger for us than the prairie.” After all of the experiences we gathered through our work in Asia, it seemed like we were at a stand still and it was frustrating.

Then I picked up a book by Russell Moore that completely re-oriented my thought process. In his book Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel, he writes:

If we assume that what’s waiting for us beyond the grave is a postlude rather than a mission and an adventure, we will cling tenaciously to the status quo, or at least the parts of it we like.

I had a fear of missing out, and I had unwittingly believed that heaven was going to be a “postlude” of sorts. What if I actually came to believe instead that what was ahead was an even bigger mission and adventure? Then I wouldn’t fear that I was wasting my life. I didn’t have to feel bad that I couldn’t travel to this spot or do this job—I was going to have an eternity to be on mission. Can you imagine the sights and sounds of the new heaven and the new earth?

Once I shifted my thinking of my life beyond the grave, I was able to re-orient my thoughts on the life I’ve been given to live right now. What was the ultimate point of it? Moore gave me some more to ponder:

The natural world around us isn’t just a temporary ‘environment,’ but part of our future inheritance in Christ. Our jobs—whether preaching the gospel or loading docks or picking avocados or writing legislation or herding goats—aren’t accidental. Our lives now are shaping us and preparing us for a future rule, and that includes the honing of a conscience and a sense of wisdom and prudence and justice. God is teaching us, as he taught our Lord, to learn in little things how to be in charge of great things. Our lives now are an internship.

My giftings aren’t just for this world but for the one to come. I know I’ve been taught that before, but this past year I’ve come to understand it in new ways. When I learn how to cook a weekly meal for 80 people at church, it is preparation for heaven. When I care about the immigrants in my community, it’s shaping me for heaven. Nothing is accidental. Our time here in Minnesota is not accidental. I have been freed from the weight of fear that I am wasting my life. Every skill learned, every hand I reach out, every thought I turn back to Him, is used.

I know you don’t have to be living back in your home country to feel this way. You may feel this way right now in your country of service. I know when I was at home with three young kids, changing diapers and just keeping them alive all day, it was easy to feel left out of the adventure. Be encouraged today that nothing is accidental. And remember what a great mission and adventure await us!

 

Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash

15 Comments

  1. Carrie January 7, 2018

    This was extremely encouraging to me! I came back to the States after eight years in China to get a master’s degree. After graduating, I was hoping to return overseas, but at least for now feel led to look for work in the States where I’ve been for the last two years. It was a struggle for me to see all of the pictures overseas friends posted of holiday travel to exciting countries, and as I’m looking for work some days it’s been a struggle to accept that I am in the States for now. Your perspective and words are extremely timely and encouraging to me!

    1. Danielle Krouch January 8, 2018

      Oh, so glad this was encouraging to you! I understand how it feels to realize you’ll be here for longer than expected. May you continue to feel encouraged that you are exactly where you need to be,

  2. Paula January 8, 2018

    Thanks so much for this! I am still in my service country, having been consumed with raising my family. Now I am itchy and not sure what I am to do. It is all prep for Home. Thank you!

    1. Danielle Krouch January 8, 2018

      I needed the reminder too! So good to remember that the real adventure still awaits!

  3. Sarah Hilkemann January 8, 2018

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Danielle! My life doesn’t feel adventurous compared to others even though I live overseas. I need this paradigm shift to see that the biggest adventure is yet to come! And really, why do we compare our lives so much anyway? God’s story is so unique and precious for each one of us, but I am quick to desire a different narrative than He has written for my life. This has given me a lot to think about. Thank you!

    1. Danielle Krouch January 8, 2018

      Oh yes! Comparison is the true killer of contentment and joy and I am so quick to see someone else’s story and feel left out. One thing living back here in the States has taught me is that no place or job solves our need for Him to speak the truth of His unique plan for us.

  4. Ulrike Byle January 8, 2018

    Great insight!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Danielle Krouch January 8, 2018

      You’re welcome!

  5. Hannah January 8, 2018

    Wow, this is beautiful, thanks! I appreciate the reminder of the exciting life ahead of us – the life that will never ever end! I was just asking God several days ago to renew my perspective of this, and your blog here is an answer! I am feeling renewed.

    1. Danielle Krouch January 8, 2018

      Your comments bring a smile to my face. I’m so glad you are feeling renewed and I’ll pray you’ll continue to feel your perspective renewed.

  6. Ellie January 8, 2018

    Lovely encouraging post. I have been thinking about this “not just a postlude” thing recently and the idea that our skills and gifts will be used in Heaven is totally new to me and totally encouraging and fits so well with lots of things I’ve been trying to piece together so thank you!!

    1. Danielle Krouch January 8, 2018

      It was a new thought to me too when I read it in Moore’s book! I love how God uses others to bring things into better focus. For me, it really helped many pieces I’d been struggling with to make more sense.

  7. M'Lynn January 8, 2018

    Danielle, I loved this post! Thank you for sharing your insight! I find myself looking forward to eternity even more after reading your post!

    1. Danielle Krouch January 8, 2018

      Aw thanks! I know we have similar experiences heading back “home” and trying to make it home. I’ve always looked forward to eternity due to it being perfect and being with God, but seeing it as not just a postlude has transformed my thinking on it.

  8. Casual Friday Resources | Paracletos January 12, 2018

    […] Is there life after the mission field? Is there life after this life? Sometimes the rush and adventure of overseas living can leave one feeling empty when it’s over. Danielle Krouch has some good words for those you know who may be leaving the field. […]

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>