Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An Ever-Present Help

I thought I would write something about what we are currently facing because it is confusing.  It is a continuation of the process of obtaining our visas to be legal residents here in Italy.  The steps to obtain that status are simultaneously complex and easily mishandled, which is a source of constant frustration for Dave and I.  But as of today, the end looks to be in sight. 

By tomorrow we should receive what are called "Nulla Ostas." Having those means we have the permission of the Italian government to apply for a residency visa.  And we have to apply for them at the consulate in Houston, leaving the passports with them for a week while they get the visa ready.  Was there an easier way to do this?  We think so but that is in the past.  So, the girls and I are scheduled to fly out on Friday at 6 am.  There is a lot of consternation as I'm 6 weeks out from delivering the baby, so an overseas journey isn't exactly advisable by medical standards, especially given that I have a unique situation that makes my pregnancy a little more high risk (I'll spare you the details). 

To say this is coming down to the wire/last minute/hail mary is pretty accurate. 

(If you are one of those people, like me, who asks, "What happens if the nulla ostas don't come before you are supposed to leave?" Good question.  It won't leave us with a lot of choice - we either stay or go.  There is too much to risk if we are illegally here and have a baby to try and get back to the States at some point.)

So, I've been in this weird spiritual and mental position that I've mentioned in my devotional writing.  I've been wondering if perhaps the Lord is unhappy with our decision to move here.  That we are living out of His Will because we jumped at the chance to come here without checking enough with Him.  I've begun to think all of these obstacles we've faced have been the result of that.  It has been weighing very heavily on me - so much so that I've felt really down, easily frustrated and just about ready to throw in the towel.

To think we've gone and done this outside of His will for our lives tears my heart to pieces.  It is anathema to me.  It makes me want to rip my clothes and pour dust on my head, literally.  To think at this point in my spiritual walk I have screwed up THAT BAD, that I've let God down in such a huge way about kills me.

But this morning the thought occurred to me: if I am giving that much power to myself, that means I'm not believing enough in His power to resolve this situation the best way possible.  

I think of my Bible in a Year reading from Genesis (my New Year's commitment) about how Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife not once but TWICE and God was still on his side.  The Lord still protected Sarah and made sure His promise wasn't messed up.  The Lord STILL blessed those crazy kooks, despite their failings.  Yes, Abraham was THE Patriarch, but he wasn't perfect.  God was patient, kind and loving with him.  The Creator of the Universe gave Abraham plenty of room to screw up and still had the power to fix it - which He did, for His glory.

So why must I keep insisting that my situation is any different?  Do I really think God loves me any less than Abraham and Sarah?

The answer is no - I know He doesn't.  I have the proof He loves me: all I have to do is look at the Cross and into my 6 year old cancer survivor's face.

Beyond that, I think I got the message today that coming here is not in fact out of God's will for our family.  In three separate readings and in multiple ways, the message was clear: GOD IS ON OUR SIDE.  I quote from one in Jesus Calling (January 9th entry):
I AM WITH YOU AND FOR YOU.  When you decide on a course of action that is in line with My will, nothing in heaven or on earth can stop you.  You may encounter many obstacles as you move toward your goal, but don't be discouraged - never give up!  With My help, you can overcome any obstacle.  Do not expect an easy path as you journey hand in hand with Me, but do remember that I, your very-present Helper, am omnipotent. (emphasis mine)
There it is - smacking me right in the face.  That was the second time in 2 entries Psalm 46:1 was quoted.  Plus the story of Abraham's servant finding a wife for Isaac the way he did in Genesis 24, gave me the reassurance of God's love, provision and power to see us through any situation.  It was my invitation to joy, renewal and peace.

Nothing is yet resolved - we won't know till tomorrow if the Nulla Ostas will actually show up.  I have another 36 hours to wait until our course of action is set or if we have to scramble again.  Yet the fact remains that my trust is not in the process or the people - my trust is in the Lord.  This spirit of heaviness that has plagued me has vanished for today.  That is all I can ask for - one day in His presence at a time.  Whether the paperwork comes or not, I know this to be true:

But, what then, shall I say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

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