Okay, here we go. Last night I twisted my ankle when playing ultimate for the first time since I got back to the states. I haven’t had an injury that’s made me miss more than a couple weeks of ultimate in…years. I’ve been tremendously lucky at this age. But now I’m limping like crazy when I need to be going up and down hills to get our property ready to sell (and I mean hills). Then, as a special bonus, my son vomited spectacularly at 3AM.
I’ve got some heavy posts about transition and following Jesus in our current climate that have been swirling in my brain, starting to take shape. But I think I need to write a different post first.
I got to do Alex and Jameson’s wedding in Austin seven days after I arrived back in the States. They flew me to Texas, put me up and treated me to a glimpse of their city. It was one of the best ceremonies I’ve ever done–and I’m pretty out of practice these days–for which I give all credit to God. It was a blast. I’m not in my mid-20’s nor a newlywed, but it restored my hope in being young and newly married, because they rock and will have an incredible, God-saturated life together, spreading the love of Jesus and learning to live by grace!
Our friend Erinn is visiting from Maryland. Erinn and Jeff were our best friends in Nicaragua (in a series of best-friends who-then-moved-back-to-the-US*). I’ve got I-don’t-know-how-many friends from the US whom I’ve never seen in the US. We’ve been introducing her to our world here. There’s something odd but satisfying about bringing disparate parts of your world together, even as it reminds you that your life is so scattered now it will never come back together. Certainly not here.
At the beginning of the week, our friends J and A gave us a car! I’ve got to say a few things about this. First, moving back to the States is incredibly expensive. It’s a great chance to see God’s faithfulness because it appears that a ladle is dipping money out of a very small bowl, very rapidly, but somehow the bowl doesn’t end up empty. We gave our van to our friends Juan Ramon and Amada. We were told we could probably get $2,500 for our van. J and A were asking $2,500 for their car. Then she felt God told her to give us the car.
Doing what we’ve done–I would say following God’s calling the way we’ve understood it–we decided a long time ago that when people choose to share with us, we receive it with gratitude. It’s not very self-made-and-autonomous U.S. Archetype Man of us, but missionary life wouldn’t work if we could’t receive. Likewise, returning-from-missionary-life. It’s humbling, but not in a bad way.
They gave us the car in response to a request I made to borrow a car while we tried to buy one. We got six different offers to borrow a car in addition to the Toyota Camry we were given. Six, in 24-48 hours.
This move is hard, and my heart still feels torn not to be in Nicaragua, but our community here pounced on the opportunity to share with us. That helps. I don’t know why I’m back, but I feel loved and welcomed back. And I see God providing, even as the bill to replace the hot water unit so we can sell our house costs more than the car we didn’t buy (Man, that’s a big ladle!).
One more thought on that, especially if you read the above and thought, “I would never take a car from someone!” We’re able to be generous because we know God will provide for us. I mean, we were able to give seven years of our lives because we knew God would not let us or our children go hungry. One reason we came back, probably my least favorite but a legit one nonetheless, is to reenter working toward retirement. As Jesus followers, we walk in faith and trust God while using discernment and acting wisely with what we’re given. Wise doesn’t mean, “Mine, all mine!” Neither does it mean, “I don’t need to worry about my bills!” I think wise means we walk close to God, with open hands, giving when we see opportunity, receiving when we see opportunity.
Finally, as I’m trying to let myself be here, not wishing I were back in Nicaragua, not questioning or arguing with God or even forcing the inevitable grief and culture shock that I’m still waiting to engulf me,** I’m reminded that God meant it about “For everything there is a season.” I loved being in Nicaragua–I mean, after I got over hating being there–and that makes it tempting to cling to what was. I don’t know what this new season is yet. I don’t even know why this new season is yet, though I could explain the reasons we moved back, at least somewhat convincingly. I simply know this is a new season and that means God has purposes for it, most of which I can’t yet see. I could feel guilty for being back here where so much is easier–life works easier here, in so many ways. Instead, I’m choosing, and I mean minute by minute here, to walk with my hands open for this season itself. I don’t know what God is giving us. I don’t know what we’ll be giving, of ourselves and what we have.
I just know seasons change.
*Jacques and Amanda, Jeff, Jeff and Aaron.
**As someone who deals with depression, I’m daunted that re-entry is a phase in which most people experience depression.