Letters Home June

 

Letters Home

On the Fields of Harvest

June 2009 

Lord, I pray that every day, every hour of every day, I would listen to Your voice for leading, and in the face of the opportunities you present for sharing Your name, let me shush my own voice and let me speak Yours. I want to be worthy of this call.”

 

Knowing God’s Will and Doing It

 

Dear Friends,

I include the short prayer above because it was the prayer of my heart that I wrote down a few days ago under very different circumstances. 

Today, I read this prayer and apply it differently.  Emotions have been running high ever since last night when Todd and I announced that we would be moving on to the proctored testing appointment that our eldest son has in Indiana next week.  Some time ago, we had decided not to move on unless May’s bills were paid (which they are not); we clearly felt that this was the leading of the Lord for that time.  What has changed has been the summer weather and the growing closeness of neighbours here on this field, and with that closeness, there has been and we are aware of a greater degree of partial nudity typical of a Quebec youth hostel atmosphere with which we are not comfortable living in close proximity.  Most of you we know would feel similarly.  So as many, many long talks and much prayer began to push us towards a sacrifice for the sake of principle (again, something many of you are familiar with), we decided to leave mid-week for a very quick trip west, dipping into personal monies, and in so doing, feeling freedom from any impending millstone-around-one’s-neck.

Finding God’s will in such a situation is not a slam dunk process for those who choose faith missions.  There are often conflicting values (two options with equally valid biblically based principles that could drive either one) to consider. We have had an ongoing commitment to not move on when our bills are not paid –that is one value—and we have had an ongoing commitment to not putting our family in harm’s way –that is another value.  So we have logged countless hours in prayer and in discussion.  This past Thursday, Todd and I spent the better part of the late morning talking about it. We had a drive  to the far islands, and along the way, while there, and the entire return trip was consumed with this discussion:  we want God’s will so badly.  Our desire is palpable. And once we are certain of His leading, we want to be willing and ready to follow Him.  It is so easy to read His Word;  it is the following of His Word that presents a glitch in our lives (James says that we must be doers of the Word and not hearers only – I think he understood well the common plight of fellow believers).

Todd came up with a list for us to consider as a family:  a list of what might be holding back the provision of God from our lives.  He asked each of us to write down all the things that might be keeping us from being fully prepared for whatever lies ahead once we are on the road.  He recommended prayer and fasting. He asked us if our hearts were fully clean, with no hidden sins. We discussed our commitment to the proctor in Indiana for the seven hours of testing that have been set up for our son.  We considered the increased cost and decreased availability of the ferry once high season starts. We thought about our mail waiting for us in Maine, and of the appointments ahead that we were having to erase from our calendars. And we reviewed the long list of preparedness tasks that were more easily done here than once we were on the road: things like fixing the u-joint on the vehicle, which would have been exceedingly difficult to fit into an already tight schedule.  On the other hand, we had a couple of medical needs to consider, which need attending to on the mainland.

Lord, I want to feel the difference between contentment and passivity, between resting and resignation.  Make your way clear to us for we are frail and our thoughts are too often cloudy with self.”

You can imagine the strength of the link between what we have been experiencing – both contentment of the road thus far and questioning of the way ahead—and the message we bring everywhere we go.  If our message is all about the heart, and getting our hearts right before God, then the message applies to us first, as foundational to being able to communicate His love, His grace, His salvation to others. If we do not live God’s love at home first, we will venture into public to represent Him with hypocrisy in our hearts. Our hearts then, become the crux of our preparation. 

Back to the Scriptural drawing board we go, back to biblical principles and examinations of our lives for that which we are holding back from Him.  We looked for relational cracks, for lack of thanksgiving for what He has given us and for how He has faithfully led us.  We headed back into earnest prayer for the manna He has promised.   We considered the purpose He gave us in being here, and the purpose He gave us in our summer work.

At times, my prayers felt like word salad. They were raw and crunchy with uncomfortable bits of self strewn throughout; I vacillated between saying “I’ll go anywhere, do anything You want” and “Lord, I’m feeling wickedly impatient”.

My mother’s heart winces when the child who sleeps on the wooden bed slats must climb up into this hard bed yet again because we do not have the padding available on the islands (my heart is for that moment shopping at Target).  My commitment to frugality takes a blow every time I shop for flown-in groceries, and the part of my heart that cries out for healthier ingredients remembers that they are just an ocean moat away. My prayers are impeded by my focus on self’s way of making plans. 

God says that His ways are not my ways.  

His infinite, caring, undeserved grace washes over me so that I can feel gratitude towards Him again. He picks the “I” out of my word salad, and replaces it with “Christ”.  He wants to give me a heart so full of genuine gratitude that it does not squeal “unfair” or second-guess Him when the place God chooses for us charges $8 for a load of laundry, or $5 an hour for internet. 

 In His grace, He erases human number crunching, and dread of the public “bloc sanitaire”, and shows me the beauty of the sea, the tender greys of the clouds upon the distant hills, the white mist blowing across the field by our little home on wheels. He shows me the mass of dandelions waving in the breeze, and when the fierce spring winds pierce my world, and every wisp of hair is blown out of place, He reminds me that I have hair and I have breath and I have sight and I have family and we have a deep, abiding love for one another.

 In His grace, he pries the carefully crafted itinerary out of my clutching hands, one finger at a time. That itinerary preys on my mind more often that I would like to admit.  It is dreadfully difficult to excise sections of it, and to sit at the kitchen table revamping entire weeks.  We feel the urgency of the work off-islands as much as we feel the urgency of the work here, and the only conclusion that we come to is that we must BEG almighty GOD to send out more workers.   He reminds us that we are not indispensable to His work anywhere.  He gives grace to our tendency to emotional ups and downs in this stretching process.  He understands.

 And so, unless He shows us otherwise, we will remain here for a few more days, with Todd ever in the throes of endless counseling – in the auberge, on the islands, with unbelievers, with believers, from the keyboard and on the telephone in our vehicle-turned-confidential-office.  There is abundant energy for us to keep on working, an energy of urgency for island souls in distress;  the feeling of intense need continues to propel us to daily action.  Your  prayers support us.  Your emails and telephone calls uplift us, move us, encourage us. 

 We are especially buoyed by recent contact with mainland Quebecois believers, who have conveyed their immense understanding of the depth of the work to which God has called us.  Thank-you to these faithful friends whose encouragement never wavers – our hearts are with you, and we are already greatly anticipating our visit with you next year.

Yesterday, as I began this letter, the rain was drumming on the tin roof above us. Ibby was standing just inches away from me, doing dishes carefully, heating water in our trusty kettle to get them clean, humming a little tune and I thought, “we’ve made the transition to the trailer”.  It usually takes a while, but this time, all hands on board seem to be making the work extra light.

 She and I had a sweet talk tonight after dinner and now all are in tucked into bed. It is late. Todd has another full day tomorrow.  I came here to the auberge to type the last of this letter, but have spent much of my time interacting with the new group of souls who have come for the week.  What a privilege to represent Jesus to others!

Please keep us in your prayers throughout this summer.  And a letter now and then would be warmly welcomed.  You are dear partners, and we thank you for your commitment to stand by us.

With love, shushing our voices to let His be heard,

Colleen for the Adams clan

 

 

 

 

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