In A Little While

“Pray for patience to be willing to wait on God. Wait a little while so that God may work something unexpected beyond imagining.” This was a challenge to us in a devotion we listened to by British Jesuits at pray-as-you-go.org.

Yes, we are willing to wait, and God is already working beyond our imagining.

Here is the sermon I preached on July 28 when I announced our call to my congregation.

Coffee, Tea, or Diet Coke

I’m not much of a caffeine addict, but I do like Diet Coke. 

When I was in college, I didn’t drink coffee. I remember my mom on occasion would tell me, “You’ll probably learn to like it someday–to be polite and social and to stay awake.”

Now, this was before caramel mocha frappachinos, dirty Chai tea lattes, iced vanilla macchiatos, and all such expensive, sweet and creamy coffee options.

The coffee of which my mom spoke, the coffee of the mid-twentieth century, was Folgers, or for those with highbrow tastes, 100% Columbian Yuban. Yuck! I refused to drink that to be polite.

I always took pride in the fact that her prediction did not come true. I married a coffee connoisseur, yet thirty years later I had never drunk a cup of coffee. I think I still managed to be polite. I drank water, herb tea, lemonade, milk, and Diet Coke, and I got along just fine in social situations.

Now that we are going to Bahrain, I revisited that prediction. My mom’s prophetic voice has come back to me. I am reminded that I am going to a place full of new cultures. Bahrain is an Arab country with many different peoples living and working there among the Bahrainis. I’m sure there will be all kinds of possibilities for drinking coffee and tea “to be polite and social and to stay awake,” as my mom said.  I’m looking forward to participating fully in any hospitality and kindness shown to me.

And so, I did it. I drank my first cup of coffee. It was sweet and creamy and coffee-like. Keith made me a vanilla latte, and I drank it all. I even took a photo to commemorate the event.

No Turning Back

Because of the flood we had at the end of May, we have stored some items from the basement in the garage.

As our call became more evident, we began adding more and more household items to the growing mountain of this life we are leaving.  Stuff

What do we do with all our stuff? There are just too many of this and that, plus boatloads of memories to sort through. Stopping to read an old letter or look at a picture or imagine reading that book to a toddler have been tender diversions.

For the most part, this purging has been good. We are encountering shelves and closets long overdue for a major cleaning.  We are convicted about our over-consumption and buy-ological urges over the years.

The grip “stuff” has on our lives is loosening. It’s not always easy, but it’s good.

Today in church we sang “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.”

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back, no turning back.

~Lyrics by Sadhu Sundar Singh

 We haven’t even looked back over the last three months. I know God has made our call so clear and certain that we won’t turn back. However, this morning, singing that song reminded me that we are having a garage sale next weekend. Then we’ve asked Zestos, a local nonprofit, to pick up the rest. Most of our worldly possessions will be gone after that.

Hmmm…no turning back is right.

But singing that song also reminded me that many people give up much more than my measly worldly possessions to follow Jesus.

Books We're Reading

Some new possessions we’ll be reading over the next few weeks.

 

 

We Will Follow Him

Our journey began on April 28 when the retiring chaplain challenged those qualified in the congregation to consider whether God was calling one of them to take his place.

I had always thought Keith would be a great chaplain, and I immediately thought he should consider it. Katie leaned over and told me, “You and Dad should do that.” Keith, sitting at the front of the church, had the same thought at the same time.

Dozens of circumstances and all we read and prayed that first month pointed us to the fact that we were being called to go to Bahrain. We have never looked back.

When we watched this video, used in a devotion we read on leadership, we both laughed and cried. It has become a theme for us:

“We will follow him, follow him
Wherever he may go…
There isn’t an ocean too deep,
A mountain so high, it can keep,
Keep us away, away from his love.”

From “I Will Follow Him” by Little Peggy March