Friday, January 18, 2013

View from Houston or Bless the Lord - Italy Update

When the Lord brought back His exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream!  We were filled with laughter and we sang for joy!  And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”  Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!  What joy!  Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert.  Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.  They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest. 

That is Psalm 126 and I have lived every word this week.  It’s always remarkable when the words of Scripture feel like they are written just for you.  I’ve also lived Psalm 42, after a shocking phone call on Monday – an hour after we’d completed our applications for our Italian visas.

As I mentioned last week, that’s why we are in the States in the first place.  So, we came back, expecting to leave on January 22nd.  But on Monday, Dave was told the contract was ending and they were sending everyone back to Houston.  So, we had to get over that shock and switch gears to start thinking/preparing/dreaming of re-starting our life here in the States.

We didn’t get very far.

On Wednesday, things changed again – we were told everything had been worked out and the project was proceeding as normal.  Ok, great, except you can’t stuff that kind of revelation (and the insecurity it brings) back into Pandora’s Box once you’ve opened the lid.  I, for one, was freaking out.  I felt like I couldn’t return to Italy knowing any time before the baby came, during my recovery (I’m having a C-section) or while waiting on her passport, things could change and we would be left out like laundry on the line in a sudden gully-washer.

Lots of discussions ensued.  I had at least one full-blown panic attack and made myself sore with all the crying.  The girls, I’m sure, felt confused and disappointed; especially after the 180 of being told they would join their friends back at school.  We decided to put an offer to the company and based on their response, we would make our decision to come or go.

That’s what all those Facebook prayer requests have been about – because really, God was the only one we could depend on.  He was the only one who could help us and change minds.  This project has been a real struggle and many times, we’ve felt like we’ve been taking all the risk for extremely minimal reward.

So, after we had our plan and Dave hit send on the email that would either curse or bless us – we had to wait.  That was as much as I had been doing all week, beyond praying constantly for the Lord to intervene.  That’s when Psalm 42 became my prayer.  That’s when I had to get really, really honest before God; when I had to admit I couldn’t accept His will if it meant going back. 

Sleep was fleeting for us both, and probably for our parents as well. 

(I have to give both my parents and in-laws a lot of credit.  I know I will find out one day, but it has got to be so hard to have to watch your adult children struggle with decisions you have no influence over.  It has to be so difficult to turn over their decisions to the Lord and trust they will be ok.  Thanks Mom, Dad, Wilma and Terry, for doing that.  Thank you for trusting Dave and I with the fate of your grandchildren – born and unborn.)

The Bible says that those who wait on the Lord will gain strength.  They will be able to run, walk and stand when the going gets tough.  I don’t know I would say I felt strong this week.  What I do know is that He carried us– again.  I had to choose to trust Him and His promises that He works out EVERYTHING for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, even when everything in me told me not to.

I got down on my knees this morning to pray before I called Dave.  I had psyched myself up that we were going back; that I would have to learn how to deal with the anxiety.  I dreamed all night of walking through airports and trying to make flight connections.  I was not prepared, but as I prayed, the Lord gave me peace.  I felt so loved, so comforted and I know the Lord was in the room as I dialed the phone.

When Dave answered and gave me the news – I was floored.  Not only was he coming back, but they were keeping him on the project just like if he was in Italy.  They would provide all the financials as per the project contract, even while he was back here in the States and would like to bring us all back when it was safe for me and the baby to travel.  (Not to mention when it is warm in Italy!!)

That wasn’t an option we even remotely considered – we thought it was either come back or go home.  Leave it to the Lord to open the storehouses of Heaven for us.  Why?  Because He is so good; He wanted to show us how reliable He is.  We prayed not just to have assurance but proof of His power and Spirit at work (1 Thess 1:5).  I will not admit to having any part of this resolution – I have to give the Lord all the praise, glory and honor. 

This outcome – the best possible – is all God.

My faith – as puny as it has seemed throughout this week – has proved to be true.  I have been honest with my God and He has not forsaken me.  He is the same God that I have been reading about in Genesis – full of mercy and abounding in love.  We have been obedient and kept our trust in Him – but friends - this has been as hard a week as any we walked through with Sophia in treatment.  At least then we had a plan and could address whatever came up.  We had no clue this time what direction to go in.  If you talked to me, the insecurity, despite my bravado, was palpable.  I was weak.  But in my weakness, God demonstrated His strength.  This is a week I will remember my whole life.

I won’t remember it because it is a happy ending that keeps us all safe.  I will remember it because it gave me another opportunity to lean into the Lord and find Him so much more than capable.  I will remember it because He answered our prayers in the way only He could.  And I will remember it because it encouraged me to continue to believe in Him, even in a world full of problems, pain and trial. 
He has and will always be faithful.
Bless the Lord, oh my soul.  Oh my soul.
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before – Oh My Soul!
I worship Your holy name.

You are rich in love and slow to anger.
Your Name is great and Your Heart is kind.
For all Your goodness I will keep on signing.
Ten Thousands Reasons for my heart to find.

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