When the Israelites had been freed from their bondage in Egypt, and after wandering in the desert for forty years, it was time for God to take them into a new promised land. But, in those forty years of wandering in the dessert, the elders all died and the young who had lived their whole lives in the dessert were the ones left to go on this journey into the promised land. Moses spoke to Joshua, their new leader, and gave him all the instructions from the Lord for his chosen people. Because you see Moses couldn't go into the land with them. No, only the new generation would enter this new land. I can only imagine that these young men and woman must have had some uneasiness about what was ahead for them. They must have wondered how life would be once they stepped out in their journey to possess the promised land. I am sure they thought it was a wonderful blessing to be led by God, but I am also sure many had doubts and fears.
But God told them to be strong, courageous, and not discouraged or afraid because he would be with them wherever they went. As I reread this story, I was encouraged in my journey. This past year the Lord went with us to Pennsylvania and he remained their with us. Then after Jeremy resigned his position and we waited to see what the Lord had for us next, I wondered many things. Would he take us back to Decatur, IN to be near Jeremy's family? Would he move us to a whole new place to be apart of new opportunities? Would he take us back to Michigan, and would it be in the same area? Or would there be an opportunity for us to remain in Lancaster, PA? As we prayed, planned, and waited to see what was ahead. I became anxious and unsure. I became angry and discouraged. I became overwhelmed by it all. Then finally we had an answer. Jeremy would have his old job back in Jackson, MI. Jeremy said he was glad to go back, Jeremy seemed relieved and even excited. I wanted to be happy, I wanted to be encouraging, I wanted to be submissive and supportive. But I WASN'T. I was mad, I was disappointed, I was selfish. Why? Because the whole time we were in Lancaster, even though life was very hard, I felt like we as a family had a vision and goal. The weeks were long and hard, often I was home with the kids Monday through Saturday with no other people ever visiting or connecting with us. But, we grew during these times, and Sunday's would dawn with great encouragement from the church people. Everyone at the church that I would come into contact with each week, in some way or another encouraged me. Even the children and the worship team singers would encourage me each week. So, why was I mad? I felt like everything I had been going through this last year was over. All the work the kids and I had done would be for nothing. I felt like the support I had from the church was being ripped away from me, just when we as a family were really starting to connect. I felt scared.
Why scared? Scared that if we would go back to Michigan, I would just fall back into our old habits. Could we take what we had learned from our time in Lancaster and apply it to our lives in Michigan? Would we be able to find a place to rent again? Would we just go back to the same life we were living before we left Michigan? I like this new confident husband. I like the leader he had become. I like the lifestyle in Lancaster. I liked that more people in our community lived a simple, conservative life. I liked not feeling like an odd ball.
Those Israelites must have felt like real odd balls, as they walked around the walls of Jericho. They must have wanted to trust God with all their hearts and want to step out in faith. And they did. They did as their leader, Joshua instructed them. They had to trust Joshua, and the way they did that was by trusting that their God to speak to Joshua. So, like those Israelites. I found myself in a place where I had to trust my husband, even when I wasn't sure, even when my feelings said differently. I found the only way I too could place my trust in my husband, my leader, was to place my full trust in God.
So, like the Israelites, who returned to their forefathers promised land, I know have returned to my homeland (so to speak). The Israelites where completely changed from their time in Egypt and the dessert. I too am completely changed from my time away.
So, even though I don't feel excited and overjoyed about my return. I do know that the Lord is in control and he leads us forward. I am not sure where exactly he has for us to call home yet. But, I know he will show Jeremy the best place for our family to continue to grow and serve the Lord with all our hearts, soul, and strength.
Today, as we look at a rental home in a new town. I trust God will make it clear if there is a place for us to serve and minister and grow here. I trust even if we make the wrong choice, God will do what he always does for those he loves. He will bring glory to himself and good to our lives. So, we journey on.