It’s been forever since we’ve blogged. I’m really sorry about that. With Facebook updates, Instagram pictures, Tweets, newsletters, etc., sometimes our updates come out in small blurbs and we don’t get a chance to express the full picture of what’s been going on. So it’s time to get things going again, let you in to see the ups and downs of this journey.
We are in “overtime”. That means, February 4th marked one year that we’ve been in the States raising money, but we haven’t yet hit 100% on our budget, so we’ve been given a short extension. That’s good and bad. The good news is that we have more time to raise funds. The bad news is that complicates a lot of things here in the States as well as in Colombia. Stateside our lease is up. We have been blessed with a wonderful missions house over this last year and it has been a refuge for us, but a new missionary family is getting ready to move in soon. We have only one week left in this house. On the Colombian side, we have a summer packed with interns, teams, a youth retreat, plans in motion, etc. The longer we delay in getting back, the more rushed and chaotic the prep time will be.
This is one of those times where it would be easy to fall into a great deal of stress and anxiety, begin to focus on the calendar, the uncertainty, the dollar signs and all of the people and things waiting on us.
But we can’t. We won’t. Instead, we begin to pray… well, we’ve been praying all along, but we pray for peace and God’s timing in everything and we prepare as best as we can for whatever happens. To prepare, we begin the purge. The most basic purge is that of material items. Our belongings are separated into piles of what we will take with us, what we will store (those big sweaters and winter coats will do us no good for the next four years) and what we will donate or discard. We’ve begun cleaning out closets and cabinets. I recycled what must have been hundreds of plastic grocery bags the other day.
Apart from the material, there’s another purge that must take place, a sort of inner purge. Recently Alex posted:
We laugh often as our kids often talk about “Americans”, as if they are separate from that group, forgetting that they are one themselves. There’s some truth to what Alex wrote, though. Sometimes we begin to change and let our inner closets become cluttered with things we never even realized were beginning to take up space. Changes can be so slow and small that we don’t even notice until one day we see something we don’t recognize in ourselves. For us it’s been as trivial as realizing we can now sing every song on the radio in English or know what people are talking about when they mention the latest episode of a popular TV show. It starts to cut a little when we realize that we spent a day with our minds and mouths less focused on the ministry plan and instead discussing what color is the dress. If we really dig deep into that inner closet, we see that this year has been difficult. There have been a lot of transitions and stress and, like Peter, instead of keeping our eyes directly on Christ, we begin to let worry, anxiety and even sometimes depression creep in and we start sinking in the waters.
We have to purge.
We don’t want to go back to Colombia with a cluttered minds and hearts. It’s not even just about going back to Colombia. We don’t want to live each day focused on the clutter. We want to walk in confidence, knowing God is with us every step of the way, with faith to move mountains, with overwhelming compassion to help every person that we can and with abundant unconditional love to show Christ to every person who sees our face and hears us speak. How do we purge? It’s time to look inside the closets of our hearts and minds and remember what’s really important, to know who we are – and whose we are. To purge the thoughts about the color of the dress, the entertainment stories, the stress and anxiety and instead fill our minds with Philipians 4:8.
What about you? What do you need to purge either materially or mentally? How do you do it?