So here we are, settling down again in Porterville and waiting for the day that it feels like home again, realizing that perhaps God's plan for us isn't that we should settle for a sense of home or belonging. Perhaps He is more glorified through our longing for Him and the way it tends to set our eyes far above the challenges and even blessings life brings. I am not sure if "home" means quite the same thing to me anymore. I think "home" is peace in Christ...not that I always fully experience that, or even believe it is what I need in one moment or another...but no amount of stuff, warmth, familiarity or safety can truly give a heart the total belonging that we find alone in the presence of God. Don't get me wrong, our love for California, our church, our friends and family is stronger than ever...but HOME is at the feet of Jesus no matter where on the earth my feet tread.
We are readjusting and slowly considering how God is leading us to serve Him. The layers of feelings and experiences are harder to sort out than I thought they might be...but we've only been home for a week or so now, and I look forward to some sense of normal, maybe. God is good and He has all the time He needs to sort us out, to make us what He wants us to be, to use our humble selves to be a precious blessing to himself. We are made to be strong and courageous and so we continue in the courage and strength that comes from Him remembering that we aren't home yet. And for those who have a longing for home but haven't found it yet, we are going to love them into the kingdom...send them into the arms of the God who sees...
"She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me." Genesis 16.13When I find myself trying to define all the terms of my life, our missionary journey, my identity as a believer I have to stop and imagine Christ there listening to me and telling me I (we) don't see as He sees or love as He loves...not even ourselves. For some reason it is hard for us to separate our performance, achievements, possessions, and physical self from our lovability. I guess I see some things a little differently now and see all the pressure we put ourselves under to be worthy, to give some definition to ourselves and lives... We need to remember who we serve and who among all others truly loves and knows us... We love because He first loved us. He is literally the alpha and omega... we musn't live only mildly acknowledging that. I wish I were worthy of His crazy love for me, but I am glad I don't have to be. I am thankful that he is the best at loving, providing and peace... full of grace and justice. He is the BEST! And He isn't done with us yet!
***Check out our PHOTOS! I have uploaded a ton more, including the first service at the Ibarra church plant!