Several weeks ago, I decided I would move away from hosting my blog on WordPress. I had researched several other options and decided on a host with a good reputation. The reviews I had read made it seem like the transition would be easy peasy lemon squeezy, like the saying my five-year-old has recently picked up. I filled in the forms, gave consent to make the switch and almost immediately regretted my decision.
After furiously reading more in-depth about transferring my domain to a new host and my website to a new server, I was still grasping to understand what I was attempting to do. It felt like it was a big mess and I began to doubt my decision to move. I looked up the 30-day refund policy, while still communicating with the technical gurus at the new server.
It took some time, lots of calming essential oils and tweaking but it finally seemed like my website would happily survive in its new place.
Just over a week ago, our family made an international move from our place of service, and my husband’s home, in Thailand, to my homeland of Canada. We both felt led by the Lord to make this move and had peace despite many details that were not yet clear. We had good goodbyes, a lovely send-off at the airport, fairly uneventful flights, and warm embraces when we eventually arrived back on Canadian soil.
The messiness of adjusting to something new can be uncomfortable or confusing or both. But if the Lord is in it, we trust Him that the outcome will be worth it.
I remember that when I first moved to serve in Thailand in 2005, I was so overwhelmed. On the drive from the airport, through the busy city to my organisation’s office and guesthouse in Bangkok, I felt panicked and flooded, like the streets, flooded from the late afternoon’s deluge. Days later, after sorting out my visa and work permit in the capital, we drove north for a few hours to Lopburi. I felt like a fraud. There I was in Thailand, where I felt for YEARS that God had called me to be, and I DIDN’T WANT TO BE THERE.
There. I had said it – in my head, at least.
We were orientated to our new city and language school, and my roommate and I were given the keys to our new home. I cried each day. Wept quietly. But I knew, without any doubt, that the Lord still wanted me there. He still wanted me to follow Him. He still wanted me to serve Him in the on-going work in seeing the Lost come into His Kingdom in S.E. Asia. He was still with me. But it was uncomfortable, lonely, and I was still overwhelmed.
Years later, another female colleague shared with me her story of when she arrived on the mission field. Our stories were very similar. She wept regularly in that first year. And, like me, she pressed on. In fact, both of us, unlikely missionaries, ended up marrying nationals and forever entwined our hearts and lives with Asia.
Sometimes the move to something different, to somewhere new is as easy as changing your shirt to bear the cooler weather. Sometimes, it’s as difficult as clinging onto the Lord’s hand as you, begrudgingly, inch forward. Sometimes, there is immense joy as you enter into a season of change. Sometimes, there is unexpected grief. Sometimes, it’s a combination of all of these things.
Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission (CIM) in 1865 once wrote, “I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize the Lord is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest positions He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult, His grace is sufficient.”
Just as the sun paints an everchanging picture on a landscape, so will we grow and adapt in whatever it is that He has called us to. There is beauty in each new scene, even though darkness is not absent.
As Paul gave encouragement in his letter to the Roman believers, so I include this verse to encourage you and me both: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (15:13).