Letting Go

The girls were barely out the door, heading off to school, before tears began falling. I padded through the empty house, my anguished sobs echoing in the silence. Worship songs played through my mind, reminding me that God was my rescuer, the one who sent His Son to die for me.

Yet, at that moment He was asking me to face a kind of death.

Bleak, grey clouds hung suspended over our paddock and the sky wept freely. I pulled a door wide open and breathed deep. The air pressed cool and moist against my skin, thick with the fragrance of grass and animals and a million happy memories.

God, does it have to be this way?

Like drops of rain, my words of protest fell, silenced, to the ground. Already I knew the answer. It was time to let go.

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“I think God wants us to move,” my husband had said. “To Sydney.”

Sydney. The place of my birth, of schooldays and family celebrations, mild winters and long, hot summers. Sydney, where I’d spent the first twenty five years of my life – till God had led me to the remote island of Tasmania to study. For two years, I had thought. Just two.

But two had stretched into more than twenty. And slowly my shallow roots had lengthened and spread till my soul was firmly embedded in the rich loam of this land and my heart was knit with its people – some who I counted as ‘family’.

Now, once more and despite my resistance, God was pulling me away.

At first I discounted my husband’s thoughts but a vivid dream came later that evening. God spoke to me clearly, confirming His direction and infusing me with inexplicable confidence and joy. This move was His plan – for all of us, for our good.

Over the following five weeks He continued to assure us, even in the most unlikely ways – yes, a new season was imminent and we would be richer for it.

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Words of challenge flowed steadily in those weeks as well. He spoke of surrender, of being uprooted and pushed out of the nest to free-fall. Part of me felt like wildly flapping, yet my heart was strangely at rest. He would catch us.

Then came the leaflet – a printed page dropped in our mailbox by a family seeking a home in our area. A home just like ours. Couldn’t I have more time, God? Yet again He nudged me in a direction I didn’t want to go. In a mere ten days, the deal was sealed. Our house would soon have new owners.  Instantly the tone of life switched from earnest prayer and contemplation to gathering boxes and sorting treasures. Oh, what a time of sifting!

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There are days in the midst of this season when faith soars and images of exciting new ventures fill my mind. And there are times – like this – when the pain of separation seems unbearable, even impossible to endure. That’s when I draw near to my Father once again and listen to His whisper.

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You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.

Later.

Later I will understand why He sold our house so swiftly.

Later I will see why we had to leave so much – and so many – behind.

Later I will be glad we took the risk and followed His directions, for we will be savouring the new life He has given us.

With red ink I recorded His words in my journal, adding them to the many revelations He’d been giving. As I put down my pen He draped a new layer of hope over my heart.

Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

I cannot see all that will unfold in the months ahead. But one thing I’ve learned from the  past – God can be trusted. Though this is a time of grief and pain, we will rejoice again. Perhaps, like sunrise after an especially dark night, joy will burst forth sooner than I think.

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Credit for first photo – Shaun Morrison.
Watercolour painting by E Brown, 2016.

A God’s Eye View

Have you ever wondered what your life looks like from God’s perspective? Ever considered what it’s like to lean forward from a heavenly throne and watch human history unfold?

I have.

Many times in recent months a picture has appeared in my mind. It’s a little like the puzzle image God has shown me many times before – where I discovered my place as one piece among many. Unlike the puzzle, though, this image has simpler dimensions.

It’s a line.

A time-line.

Long and slender, stretching out in both directions, this line extends along the span of human history. At specific points stand great civilisations, mighty rulers who have risen and fallen, seasons of rapid development and prosperity, periods of war, disaster and hardship.

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Studying that line with its mix of joys and sorrows could stir fear and uncertainty about the future. Instead it fills me with comfort. The word tells me that every moment in the past and all the days still to come are in God’s plain view. Nothing is hidden from His sight. Civilizations may crumble, as they have before. Kingdoms may rise and fall. Times of prosperity may come, shining bright till seasons of hardship dim their glow. Always God will reign, working out His plan and staying true to His promises.

I lean in to look more closely at that line and I see people – brave explorers, curious inventors, politicians, educators, business people and others – all taking their place in the progression of years. Each figure has been given a unique blend of personality, desires and talents that equip them for their task. By choosing to use what they are given they bring life and change to the world around them.

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Then there’s us. God has a place for you and me in this unfolding story. We are not mere specks, unseen and insignificant in this enormous stretch of centuries. We have been chosen by Him to live in this current time period. He sees and knows the number of our days and all He has in mind for them.

When I consider this, I’m simultaneously struck by two reactions – an eager longing to fulfil my role and a sharp awareness of my own frailty.

Then I hear His gentle voice, You are not alone.

The same one who watches over nations also, somehow, watches over me. He who is Lord over all calls me His beloved, His treasure.

Amazing.

As I yield myself to Him, His grace fills up every empty space, giving me courage and power to do what I never thought possible. Gently He takes my hand and leads me along the path He planned for my life – my part in His epic story.

 

My view of the way ahead is limited. I can’t see what twists and turns await me. But when I think of the line I find hope that holds me firm, like an enormous anchor. The one who walks beside me already sees the future. And He will guide my steps – all the way home.

Revelation 22:13

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

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