Wherever He Leads I Will Go, Maybe

I remember sitting in the breakfast lounge at the hotel, poking at my muffin. I don’t know why I picked it up and put it on my plate in the first place. My stomach was churning but not because I was hungry. Years of mental, physical, and spiritual preparation had now come to these last few hours. We were a hop and a skip from the airport. Our bags were packed. The time to move abroad was now. Who can eat a muffin at a time like that? Not me, apparently.

I watched my sister-in-law hold my 7-month-old son as they looked out the window, watching the planes take off and disappear into the clouds. I glanced over at my dad who sat quietly to himself. There wasn’t a whole lot of chatter amongst our family members. Everyone was preparing for the big transition ahead. This was no longer just a casual conversation over dinner. This was no longer just filling out forms and applications. This was it. Our family of three would be living on the complete opposite side of the world and we wouldn’t be coming back for another few years.

That was by far one of the biggest transitions we’ve experienced in the past three years, but it definitely wasn’t the only transition. There have been other ones sprinkled here and there:

Going from 100% fluent in a language to speaking like a toddler in another language.

Being a stay-at-home mom with a working husband to being a couple who stay at the house together most of the week while learning a new language.

Cooking with an electric stove to cooking with a gas stove. Anyone want a burnt pancake that’s still gooey in the middle?

Being a very involved person in the community to feeling like that strange, hermit person that always stays inside the house.

As if all of those transitions weren’t enough to keep me on my toes, there have been smaller (yet equally life-altering) transitions constantly happening with our children:

Sleeping through the night and then not sleeping through the night.

Teething babies.

Potty-training.

Starting homeschool.

Just as I get settled into a routine, it changes. Just when I feel like I have a rhythm to my week, a different beat is thrown my way. Just as I’m about to plop myself down into the comfiness of knowing what should come next, it’s pulled out from beneath me.

It’s exhausting. I’d be lying to you if I said I always handled transition with grace, beauty, and maturity. Often times, transition looks sloppy and ugly and I stomp my feet in protest.

In a weird sort of way, saying “Send me, I’ll go,” was a lot easier to do when we transitioned from life in America to life abroad. Since landing in our host country, I’m a lot less willing to raise my hand and volunteer for change. My cry has become, “Send me Your plans and I’ll consider going.” It’s a request rooted in selfishness, doubt, fear, and disobedience.

Before moving overseas, someone said to me, “Blessed are the flexible, for they are not easily broken.” As much as I’d like to think my stubbornness will keep things the way I want them to be, the truth is, my stubbornness will only break me. It will leave me disappointed and constantly coveting the way things use to be.

Maybe He’s leading you to homeschool your children but you’re terrified of having the fate of your children’s education in your hands. Maybe He’s leading you to start a small group study with some locals but you can barely say, “How much are these bananas,” in the local language. Maybe He’s leading you to pass over a ministry to a local believer even though you still love leading it yourself. Maybe He’s leading you to move somewhere else overseas but the thought of uprooting yourself and learning a language all over again makes you want to crawl into a hole. Maybe He’s asking you to move back to your home country but you fear the reverse culture shock will never go away.

Open up your clenched fists clinging to something you don’t want to let go of. Relax the stiffness of your posture that’s strongly opposed to the unexpected change. Soften the hardness of your heart and hear His promises:

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

Find your dwelling place in Him. Find your happiness in Him. Find your comfort in Him. When transition comes and things change, you won’t feel dismayed or discouraged. Your spirit won’t be broken and crushed from grief. You’ll move forward with confidence and great expectations because the Lord is with you wherever you go and in Him there is fullness of joy.

He drew me closer to His side, 
I sought His will to know,
And in that will I now abide, 
Wherever He leads I’ll go. 
— B.B. McKinney

What part of this spoke right to you?

21 Comments

  1. Amy Young May 12, 2015

    Kimberlynn, thanks so much for sharing with us! I don’t know how I got the idea that life isn’t, to a certain extent, one transition after another. I, erroneously, thought life would settle down at some point. Here’s to having our anchor be God and not the mirage of stability 🙂

    1. Kimberlynn May 13, 2015

      Yeah, I don’t know where I got the idea either, ha! Boy was I wrong… Thankful that He is our ROCK. Thanks for having me here!

  2. Lindsey May 12, 2015

    I was a single working girl for 15 years after college and lived in the same town with the same job for most of that time. There were many times during those years that I prayed for something different. I told God I was ready for my life to go somewhere amazing, to do something meaningful. I felt stuck and bored many days. Enter my future husband.  We celebrated only 3 years of marriage yesterday but in that time we have become parents, changed careers, and moved 4 times, the last of which was to the other side of the world. I get dizzy sometimes thinking of how different my life is and it feels like all my transition has been shoved into 3 years time! And all those other smaller transitions Kimberlynn mentioned are all now part of my new everyday as well.

    I love that flexible quote in the post because that has been what I sometimes chant to myself when my Type A, planner self is close to losing it. “I CAN be flexible, I CAN be flexible” 🙂  This new life is all about constant change. But I also know that I am relying on prayer and trust in a MUCH different way than I ever did before.

    1. Kimberlynn May 13, 2015

      God definitely answered your prayers 🙂 I’m so thankful the Lord has blessed us with two children so far who are very go-with-the-flow. We take them every which way and they just roll with it. Maybe because they think a life like this is normal? 😉

      I wish I could remember who shared the flexible quote with me. I’d love to go back and thank them for that little piece of wisdom. And you’re so right about relying on prayer and trust in a different way. Thanks for sharing, Lindsey!

  3. Melissa May 12, 2015

    I love how everyone seems to feel crazy for their amazing list of changes….  me too!  It’s nice to know I’m not alone and there are other brave parents out their carting their growing families along on God sized adventures!  And I am soooo thankful for a God who stays the same through the ages, the cultures, the stages of my little breath of a life!

    1. Kimberlynn May 13, 2015

      Such great words, Melissa. Thank you! The unchanging character of our Lord is definitely a much-needed truth when we’re constantly experiencing change all around us.

  4. T May 13, 2015

    Hey, all.  I find trusting thru transitions easier for myself than for my kids…so, after reading this, and feeling that, I want to pray daily for my kids to each find their dwelling place, happiness, and comfort in Him.  That is better than me worrying how friends moving away will hurt them.  If anyone has practical suggestions for helping my kids along the path to finding those 3 things in Him, then I’d gladly take them!

    1. Kimberlynn May 13, 2015

      This is such a good point, T. I will ask some of my friends with older kids how they’ve helped their kids during all the many transitions of this expat life. Thanks for bringing that up!

  5. T May 13, 2015

    They are 12, 10, and almost 8.

  6. Ashley Felder May 13, 2015

    Love the picture of stubbornness being hard and breakable, and flexible being just that–able to bend and mold to its surroundings. I was (and still am!) a stomper, too, when it comes to things being ripped out from under me. We’ve been in our host country for 4 years and some days I think I’m getting better in this area….just in time for God to give me another chance to practice it. 🙂

    1. Kimberlynn May 13, 2015

      Amen to that, Ashley! We’re headed to the States in less than 20 days and I’m feeling myself tensing up. I need to write “be flexible” with a Sharpie on my hand or something… 😉

  7. Jennifer Ott May 14, 2015

    Thank you!  I am finding it hard to be flexible in all that comes our way…so very against my nature.  But I am reminding myself that trusting Him, being open to His will revealed in His time, is a good thing.  Too often, my faith is weak and I fear (rather than delight) the revealing of His plans.  I don’t want to end up broken.

    1. Kimberlynn May 14, 2015

      So true Jennifer. I try to remind myself that His plans are far greater than the “good enough” to which I often cling. Praise Him that we can look back and see all the great things He’s done for us and look FORWARD to the great things He’ll continue to do. Here’s to trying to live life with open hands!

  8. MaDonna May 14, 2015

    Love this Kimberly! I was just reading in Ps 16 right before I read you post – NO joke! I love verses 5-6,8, too!

    “LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (vs 5-6)

    “I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right, I will not be shaken.” (v8)

     

    1. Kimberlynn May 14, 2015

      Oops, I accidentally responded to you with a new comment instead of clicking “reply”. (see comment below) 😉

  9. Kimberlynn May 14, 2015

    I’ve always loved the part about “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” So often we can think boundary lines are restrictive in a negative way. But “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Thanks for sharing MaDonna!

  10. Monica F May 15, 2015

    One of the things I have struggled with lately is letting go of my agenda, and handing over my plans and desires to the Lord. You’d think after being a Christian for over 20 years I’d have figured this all out!  I really thought we’d be headed back to East Asia this summer for another long stint, but it’s become very clear that we need to stay back in the States longer.  I kind of don’t know what to do with myself.  I have a role and ministry back in East Asia that doesn’t exist here.  Please pray for me to surrender, and unclench my fists—I know I’m just making it harder on myself when I do that!

    1. Kimberlynn May 19, 2015

      Lifting you up as you surrender your plans, trust His plans, and abide in Him. Thanks for sharing your struggles and being real, Monica.

  11. Emily May 19, 2015

    Kimberlynn, I loved this part: “[It] was a lot easier to do when we transitioned from life in America to life abroad.” 

    This was true for me, too. There was so much preparation for when we first moved overseas – years of preparation! We knew the change was coming.  I suspect there was also an unconscious expectation that that would be the one, big, final transition, and then we’d settle in to a new life here. Oops. Instead, this life has been one transition after another with very little settling, and not much preparation before each one. I know it’s not like that for all expats, but our story has been “the only constant is change.”

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Kimberlynn May 19, 2015

      “The only constant is change”. I love it. I’m going to have to write that quote down in my travel journal 🙂 Thanks Emily!

  12. Patty Stallings May 30, 2015

    Thanks, Kimberlynn.  So encouraging!  I am a much happier camper when I trust in His faithfulness rather than dig in my heels in stubborn denial of the realities of transition.

    Change always wins.  Resistance is futile! 🙂

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