My family and I are currently in between lives, the most unsettled we’ve been in… ever. Which is saying something because the life we’re wrapping up is one of extremely high mobility.
In June we went through every single item in our possession and more emotions than we had the capacity for. We took paper links off of a chain that started by brushing the floor and ended by lifting little people to the ceiling. We hugged a lot of necks, or legs for our deeply affectionate 3 and 5 year olds, and wiped a lot of tears in addition to our own.
In July we made trips to visit supporters and friends and family and tell our story, one of being called and called again and the ease and peace with which we have learned to say, “Yes! I’m all in. Let’s do it,” knowing some of what it will cost and fully confident that there is nowhere else we would choose to go.
In August, we are going through every single item that wasn’t in our possession, the ones in boxes and closets and garages at our parents’ and siblings’ homes where they waited for a decade. We’re booking a U-Haul trailer. We’re talking about who we will see and what we will do when we get to Pennsylvania. We’re imagining what it might be like to have a backyard and a grill, a library within biking distance, and to worship in a church with hundreds of fellow believers every Sunday.
But there are deeper things that won’t change for us. Knowledge we gained when we valued it over gold, a view of the world that is fuller and so painful it must be altering, deep and abiding love for Jesus first, Jesus only that spills out and out in tides of goodness and mercy.
None of us gets to know how long we have. We signed on for 2-3 years and it was quickly apparent that we had gotten ourselves into something we would do wholeheartedly until something unsettled us. We had nine, nine hard and holy years. We’ve walked with those who are counting decades rather than years and alongside folks who came in with a long view gone the very next year.
There is wisdom for us all in the words of Jeremiah when God gave him a message for the exiles. It is to trade in our tents for brick and mortar, dig in and set up a home, plant a garden or a window box and enjoy what it produces, and marry the locals. Just kidding, check your organizational policy on that one. Seek the welfare of the city by transacting in integrity rather than exploitation and pray for it. When it thrives, you thrive.
The point isn’t to know what you’re getting into or how long you get to do it. Instead, it’s to forsake all others. At first and at challenging times, your task for the day will be to survive. Sometimes having a place to sleep and food to eat is victory in Jesus. Press on, love, there is a prize ahead. Ponder and settle in your heart that you will forsake all others for the place you are for as long as you are there, and the settling that you do in your foreign land, your new home, will settle the Kingdom deeper in your own heart.
What do you find in your new context that helps you settle?