the sick heart of hope deferred

 It really was a good year. I am rotten. He is faithful.  Lord, help my unbelief.

It really was a good year. I am rotten. He is faithful.  Lord, help my unbelief.

I am home. I didn’t intend to come home and thought I would remain in London and look for work until June. I went to Africa so full of faith and expectation and hope and didn’t expect the unexpected, I ran out of money.  And now finding a job in the UK looks almost impossible. Through this life of faith or insanity or whatever you want to call it, I have trusted God to light each step. I have pushed on doors that refused to open and learned something. I tried that trip to Brazil in 2015 and my Passport was lost in the mail and then conveniently found weeks after my flight. I endured the grand foreclosure of my house in Atlanta. I applied with every NGO, aid, relief and development organisation in Tennessee. Crickets. I took a retail job and I waited. I waited on God to move or something to happen. I waited on a door to open. The door to London opened and although I was hesitant at first, it was love at first sight. It is far from the Tennessee hills but a little closer to Africa, and just so lovely. I have friends there who I have told you about, the world travelling kind and a sweet little church with a huge history. I love it there. I want to be there. 

I returned there in early December on the heels of that incredible trip back to Mozambique. I am still delighting in getting to do that, to be there, to see those boys at work and those women sewing and praying. But the instant I hit Western soil, I was bombarded with fear and doubt. Every well-dressed human who walked past me on the street was a success, a health insurance card carrying, pay check drawing success. And I was a failure with no money left. The thoughts were so all consuming and so heavy and so oppressive, I left. I needed to be home, in the security of family and in a nation where I can legally work and at least be doing something to help. It feels like failure. It also feels a bit like I am whining. And maybe I am. And maybe we will all look back at this in just a short period of time and have a good laugh. I sure hope so. But now I am back to the old stand-by of a former policy analyst turned broke philanthropist, waiting tables. It is work for which I am grateful. It is work. It is a step in a direction. I am with family and friends who feed me, physically and emotionally. It is what home is all about and supposed to be, a sanctuary and a safe place and nest from which to fly. 

Like London’s Big Ben, my little bell of delight in life has hushed and the deafening silence is unbearable. But feeling sorry for myself has gotten me nowhere. I sit and surmise and come up with a plan and then it all seems impossible so I cry and start over again. Plans to stay here seem sad and daunting and plans to go seem impossible. A friend who knows my darkness gave me a self-help book from the Christian bookstore. It is one of those you would never want to carry on a plane, titled something like You are Not Really a Loser, Jesus Likes You. I’ve almost finished it. There is a prayer in the chapter titled Hello, My Name is Trust Issues (no joke) that if I could see straight and get past my own fear I could have written myself:

Lord, You are teaching me so much about trusting You. Fully. Completely. Without suggestions or projections I’m choosing to embrace the very next thing You show me. I’ll take this first step. And then I’ll take the next.

I finally understand I don’t have to fully understand each thing that happens for me to trust You. I don’t have to try and figure it out, control it, or even like it, for that matter. In the midst of uncertainties, I will just stand and say, “I trust You, Lord.” 

I visualise me taking my fear of rejection from my incapable clutches and placing my trust in Your full capability. And as I do, I make this all less about me and more about You. I replace my fragile efforts to control with Your fortified realities. 

You are the perfect match for my every need.

I am weak. You are strength. 

I am unable. You are capability. 

I am hesitant. You are assurance. 

I am desperate. You are fulfilment. 

I am confused. You are confidence. 

I am tired. You are rejuvenation. 

Though the long path is uncertain, You are so faithful to shed just enough light for me to see the very next step. I now understand this isn’t You being mysterious. This is a great demonstration of Your mercy. 

Too much revelation and I’d pridefully run ahead of You. Too little and I’d be paralysed with fear. 

So, I’m seeking slivers of light in Your Truth just for today and filling the gaps of my unknown with trust. from Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

 I was able to spend so much time with Veronica whist in Mozambique. I love her faith and her heart. I cherish her. My family gave her this cement floor for Christmas. She was overwhelmed. I was too.

I was able to spend so much time with Veronica whist in Mozambique. I love her faith and her heart. I cherish her. My family gave her this cement floor for Christmas. She was overwhelmed. I was too.

There isn’t one single To Do mentioned here and that drives me nuts. There is no list of jobs for which to apply. No three month, five step plan. There is no calendar with a time frame. There are no tips on writing a better CV. No ideas on how to get a work visa or work from home or what I am supposed to do with my life. Starting all over again raising support on a mission field far away seems horribly lonely and not what I am supposed to be doing. Starting over again in the States feels like failure. I feel as if I have reached the very end of my rope. I am like my Mozambican students who come to me with no solution to the problem. It is bad. My life and wardrobe are there. I am here. In my parents house. With my suitcase in the corner with little stacks of treasures from Target just dying to go back to London. And yet, I am complaining about simply not getting my way. Is this another lost Passport or is this the vile plans of the devourer to thwart all good and perfect things? I don’t know, I’m asking. And then this prayer. It puts it all into His hands. Hasn’t He always been good? Didn’t I just months ago dance in the house of sweet Veronica and delight in our friendship? Wasn’t I just sitting in the centre of This is Your Life as student after student came up to me to thank me for what I had done for them? And wasn’t that all directly from His hand? It was all blind trust. If He had shown me that plan I would have ran so far ahead I would have missed the 88 bus. So I just get to sit here and look for those slivers of light that come in forms of dollar bills left on the table I need to clean and meals around the table with all of you and Granny's biscuits. So for this day, I am here, hourly placing it all in His hands, pulling it down for a bit, panicking and putting it back again.  XO, Grace

 They are all my favourite. This is my favourite Cesar. 

They are all my favourite. This is my favourite Cesar. 

 In the middle of my unbelief, here they are. Solid rocks of hope. 

In the middle of my unbelief, here they are. Solid rocks of hope.