Many of our friends have asked us the inevitable, "How are you doing ... being back home?"Most days, I'm unsure of how to answer. Honestly, it changes moment to moment. It's surreal, and wonderful, and painful to be back home. Allow me to explain ...
Last night, I nearly cried. Of happiness.
I slept on a bed - a REAL bed, off the floor, soft as a cloud after months of sleeping on the floor. I was wrapped up in a feather comforter, with cotton sheets cool against my skin. The temperature was kept at a constant 74*.
Most of all, I felt safe. I didn’t have to worry about venomous spiders crawling on my neck at night, didn’t have to worry about strange people that might be staring at me when I woke.
Despite all this, there was a pang in my heart as I thought of my two precious friends in Vietnam. I pictured their faces as I thought over all our conversations. I wondered how they are doing - Has he filled that hole inside his heart -- or is he still plagued by self-doubt? Does she still think she doesn’t want Jesus, the God of "The American War of Aggression"?
I thought about Cambodia, where hope grows slowly and is often drowned in a sea of liquor. I thought of this little one -- and I wondered if her sweet grandma had enough food for her to eat today.
Before we left,
I made a map with pins in each place we would visit. It’s now a map of my heart, charting little pieces scattered across the earth.
Even during the months I prayed would end quickly, the places I could never see myself living, the moments I wondered if I was making a difference -
I didn’t realize my heart was slowly growing roots downward, into the soil that I walked over.
It hurts to be divided - to know that now, no matter where I live, someone will be missing. But more than hurt,
I feel the weight of what a blessing, an undeserved gift this year was.
What a privilege -- to carry Jesus all over the world, and to find him in the most unexpected places. What a joy - to stand on the Himalayas and pray the people would lift their eyes to the mountains, and find their help in the Lord. (Psalm 121)What delight I found in Uganda - to look into baby Elijah's face every day, and in it to see the face of God. To encourage his mom, a destitute woman that has given up everything to serve the church.
And now, to return home -- to the comforts of home, the joy of family, the sweet friendships we missed so deeply. Yesterday, I drove through Houston. I came to an elevated highway overlooking downtown - one of my favorite spots. One of my favorite worship songs played over the speakers, and I sang over Houston --
Like water covers the sea, Let the earth be filled with your glory, Till the prayers you prayed become reality and the earth looks just like heaven
We won’t be satisfied, until the Earth looks just like Heaven
Wake up, you Sons and Daughters, we were made for so much more! (Earth Like Heaven, Jonathan David & Melissa Helser)
I sang over the city, becuase we were made for more.
I prayed over the broken-ness I know is hiding behind our walls in Houston. I prayed for the father that feels like a failure, for the single moms desperate to raise their children right. I prayed for our secret porn addictions, our pride, our love of money, our endless cycle of working ourselves to death to buy things that don’t make us happy.
I prayed all of us that know Jesus, but still have a hard time gulping from the fire hose of grace without feeling guilty about it.
This year, I woke up. And I can't turn around, I can't go back. God is taking me on a journey of waking me up to more. (I actually suspect he’s been trying to shake me awake for years.)I have a hunger -- to see the Earth look just like Heaven. This year, I got a foretaste of Heaven, watching his Kingdom come. I’ve been ravenous ever since.
Beloved friends, take a taste with me;
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)
Wherever you find yourself, I pray God would give you hunger pains to see the Earth like Heaven.
If you ask him “how?” -- if you keep asking -- and in the stillness wait for his answer … I know he will show you the more you were made for.