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Are You Ready? Again?

From the series Are You Ready? Again?


It has now been well over a year since the big exodus from China began. Although many are still leaving for various reasons—including now, with the coronavirus crisis—we thought it would be good to take a look at where those who left earlier are now and what their journey to get there looked like. It is easy to see where they are physically; some have moved back home, some have moved to a new location overseas, and others are still in transition or in the unknown.

Let’s stop and take a deeper look into how they are really doing. How easy is it to really trust God again? The first time when we who serve overseas prepared to go and serve him, we were eager and excited. But having faced trauma, deep disappointment, and hurt, it may be harder to raise your hand and say, “Here I am send me!” “Me, me, me . . . please send me!”

The word “again” indicates that you have done this before. Maybe you are tired and disappointed . . . maybe your faith was really shaken. Are you ready to trust God again? Are you ready to go again? Are you ready to work hard to see it happen, again? Think of all the preparations and the work before you can go again. Are you ready to learn a new language and to be the new kid on the block both in the team and outside in the new culture?

Or are you ready to trust God enough to give up your lost dreams and settle down back in your home country? And if you do, who are you? What happened to the identity you had for many years? Are you ready to throw yourself into the fire of uncertainty? Again? Are you ready to take the risk of being burned and disappointed . . .again? Are you ready, again?

And what does it take to get ready, again? Since the beginning of last autumn, the words “are you ready to mend your tent” have been ringing in my head. As I have had the privilege to journey with some individuals, share insights and experiences with other care providers and organizations I am starting to see a few patterns and similarities.

Before you are ready again you need to be fairly whole and healed from your past experience, otherwise it will be a dark cloud hanging over you, a feeling of something breathing down your neck, or a part of your unhealed heart which will slowly eat you from the inside.

In this series “Are You Ready Again?” we will look at what it takes to get ready again. What it took for some people to transition into new teams and a new country. And the journey it was for someone to return and settle in her passport country. We will also look at some pitfalls during transition and what we need to do to guard and look after our relationship with God through transition. This and many other things. We will have some amazing guest writers contributing,

At a time when I personally faced transition, change, and uncertainty, and was about to lose what I had poured my heart into for many years,  I found myself at a crossroad with several options but also many questions. I listened to the song “Lead Us, Lord (dream again)” by Brian Doerksen over and over again. It was my alarm clock every morning for that season.

Here we stand
At a crossroads again
Like you said
In time the seasons change

Looking back
We recall the blessing and the pain
But now we turn our hearts toward
What is still to come
We want to dream again

Lead us Lord
Into a life of fruitfulness
Prepare our hearts to risk again
As we trust
Taking simple steps of obedience, we know
That you will lead us Lord”

There is so much truth in this song and in these words. When we look back at our time in the country we loved so much, what is it that we remember? Is it mainly the wonderful times? Or is it only the time of leaving and the hardships experienced? As we look back in order to look forward, it is important to recall the blessings . . . and the pain—to have a sound perspective. In order to have that sound perspective, we need to be able to recall both the blessings and the pain, and have a healthy relationship with respect to both. If we have that we can turn our hearts to what is still to come. Because here is the deal, here is the good news: God has more in store for you. There is more waiting for you.

I remember the time when I returned home and the season which followed. I was bruised and hurt, I was tired and fatigued. I wanted to look forward; to dream again. But no matter how hard I tried, although I could say the words people expected me to say, but I wasn’t dreaming. My heart and soul were not in it. I remember so clearly the moment it happened, the moment when I was able to dream again. We were in our car, my husband and I back in our home country, and suddenly I felt that long lost, familiar feeling of bubbly excitement in my stomach. Suddenly my thoughts and my words were full of excitement and I felt like I was flying like a balloon up in the air. Just taking off. “I am dreaming again!” A feeling of great relief filled me.

Sometimes we do want to dream again . . . but how? You need to set aside time to purposefully look after your wounds just like you need to fix your tent before you go on a new camping trip in order to be safe when the weather turns windy and rainy. As you mend your tent, as you look after your outer and inner being and maybe get help to do so, it is good to be reminded of some scriptures.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

Jeremiah 31 is full of promises:

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;  I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. 
I will build you up again, 
and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt. 
Again you will take up your timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful. 
Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria;
the farmers will plant them 
 and enjoy their fruit.

They will come with weeping;
they will pray as I bring them back.
I will lead them beside streams of water
on a level path where they will not stumble.”

And my personal favorite, which has carried me through many ordeals over the years and where I often turn, Psalm 91, especially verse 4.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Join us over the next few weeks as we explore where those who left earlier are now and what their journey to get there was like.

Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash.

Image credit: Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash.

Lisa

Lisa (pseudonym) has spent close to twenty-five years in Asia, serving China and working in the area of member care. She moved with her family to be a light among the people God had put on their hearts. After more than ten years the dream suddenly came to a halt and …View Full Bio


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