Sunday, February 10, 2013

a nomad's journey and prayer

A couple weeks ago I had the privlege to hear an author speak about her experiences living in Afghanistan for 5 years.  I hung on her words because they resonated deep within me. And although so many of her experiences were very different and she endured trials I have no idea about she spoke my language and I ended the evening in tears. Really not much of a surprise but I felt like a scab was ripped off. One that I have been trying to ignore for months.  Because I do not want to be that girl; the one always talking about what we experienced in Africa (yada yada) because I understand not everyone has a place to put that and I know, I know just get over it and move on. But here is the thing; I don't know what to do with it.  I don't know how to fit that in with this life now except for that I know for sure I am not the same.  And I never want to be the same again. I want to be changed again and again to learn more about what it means to follow Him and I saw His Word come alive and His spirit move in crazy amazing ways when we said yes to something small He was asking of us. And I want that for others because there is more.  The kind of abundance I have only scratched the surface of. Even though I am certain as I take my last breath (whether that will be next week or years from now) I will still understand only a fraction of His kingdom I want to live the small part I understand.  I have been spoiled for anything ordinary.  Any life that is not aflame with His presence. I do not know what that will look like tomorrow or two years from now but that I want to search and ask and fail and grow to do whatever He says and go where ever He directs as I become who He intends me to be. And I know I will screw that all up again and again but His grace will be enough.  I want to hold all my and our plans loosely and only grip tight to His will and His character.  But all this "I have no idea what is next" stuff has me feeling a bit flaky some days always. I feel like a nomad but as I looked up the definition today I felt the need to embrace part of the definition: any wanderer. I am a wanderer.

Yesterday as I was reading the Word I came across this passage in James:
Look here, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year.We will do business there and make a profit." How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog-it's here a little while, then it's gone. What you ought to say is,"If the Lord wants us to we will live and do this or that." Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans and all such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16

It hit me like it was the first time I had read it. This is the concept of inshallah or God's will.  A word so common in our lives over the last four years that anytime our friends would speak of the future they would use it.  They taught us that we cannot know for sure anything will happen and for Westerners who like to plan and know and be in control that was a great lesson.  Totally submission to God is central to everything they believed. We can make plans but only if they are in line with God's plan for us will they truly succeed. In some ways this can lead to a kind of fatalism depending on your view of who our God is.  But the God I know has good plans for me and you.  Not easy ones but good plans.  Inshallah is a concept we have embraced and it is Biblical.  Clearly, we should hold our plans very lightly. This is easy to say, hard to live because I like to know, to plan, to have stuff figured out.  And it seems a bit of an irony as we move forward in our Foster Care journey and plan homestudy visits, trainings, and talk about what is next for us.  But although we want to prepare and plan we hold those plans loosely.  We know that while there are pieces He has revealed to us much remains hidden and that is ok.  That requires trust in His plans and His sovereignty. This concept is the balance between planning and letting go.  Between holding fast to Jesus and releasing my plans. But as I learn more about Jesus; His ways, His love, His power it does become easier to trust and let go.  Easier to embrace being a nomad on earth.  

A friend sent me this poem and it spoke to me.

Can a nomadic heart be stilled?

Can it ever exchange tent and peg for stone?

Can it cease from retracing the paths it once walked

in an endless effort to fit the pieces it left behind?

Will there be a day when tears no longer flow

at the mention of the life it lost?

Will reconstruction mend the scattered roots?
Countless horizons beckon come,
and yet this heart fears
Memories shattered,
by realities that followed,
leaving an unfamiliar mark,
on paths that once meant home.
Emotional meanderings reflect
the trail marked in the sand,
reaching far and wide
yet never resting.
Distant voices echo
the cries of this nomadic heart,
uniting across the distance
what often seems in part.
And though culture may be shared
each path serves to remind
of the memories and dreams
left behind or yet unreached.
Be still oh my soul and see,
you were planted in a flowerpot,
perhaps without a home
but your roots are still in tact.
For someone knew,
the tender root would not survive
the frequent change of soil and light,
remaining either stunted
or giving up instead.
With your roots in tact,
blossom and see
the beauty of a heart
so colourful and free.
A unique creation
raised
through strategic
cross-pollination.

(from: Globetrotter)

Sometimes others say it better. Praying I can embrace the unknown because I follow the One who has made Himself known. May we who search and we who ask find peace on the journey as He directs our steps. Inshallah.
  RoxanneSignature

2 comments:

jkww said...

Rox, thanks for posting this. I've been thinking of you and praying for you since we talked last week. And just today, Les and I were talking about the delicate balance between "making plans", which, let's face it, sometimes you have to do and of course LIKE to do, and keeping open hands about every piece of our future. There can be a lightness to giving up the control, especially if you do trust that the Lord has your good in mind. That can be tough in itself. And we don't want to have a zen detachment from the world or the desires of our hearts. The adventure, I guess, is what comes in between the hoping plans and the open hands :)
Love you,
jkww

Janet Rose said...

Your words spoke to my nomadic heart like none others have in a long time, if ever. (And, the poem made me cry.) God has used you and is using you still!