God at work, even then

God at work, even then

We moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming fresh from our years of living and working in the very colorful and social culture of West Africa. It was a culture where it was considered rude to just pass by someone you knew and casually toss out a hey/smile/nod/how’s it going. You stopped, shook hands, you would always shake hands, ask how they were, how their morning was. You wouldn’t stop there, you’d ask about their family, children, how their job was going, you’d ask about their home, their rice meal, and even how the grandparents, and garden were. “Not too many weeds?” “How was your rice last night?” “Did it sit well with you?” “And grandma? How’s she?” You never really ever stepped out of the house without a handful of conversations or social greetings and interactions. There’s not much privacy in a culture like that. Even I, a social butterfly of sorts, felt overwhelmed by it. Sometimes I just wanted to walk to the boutique down the road and buy matches and eggs without a million conversations. But then fast forward to living in America again and it was like, “WHERE THE HECK IS EVERYONE?” We went from feeling like we lived in a fish bowl where everyone knew everything about our lives, comings and goings (especially in the village), observed how we lived, ate, talked, and what we did, to pulling down our street, opening the garage door, and going inside without seeing a soul. It was lonely. It was too far the other direction. I hated not seeing a familiar face who at least knew my name, and I theirs. So what did we do? We started praying for community wherever God would lead us next. We knew Cheyenne wouldn’t be where we’d be for long because, well, we’re nomads, but also because we knew Shawn would soon promote and when presented with that option, we’d accept wherever that position was. When they said, “How about San Angelo, Texas?” We said, “Sure! WHERE IS IT.” And here we are, four years later, with friends enough to come celebrate at a karaoke birthday party, watch your 2 year old at a moment’s notice because your baby is fighting for her life with RSV in the hospital, and friends that know they’re on call for the day a rattle snake appears in your yard and your husband is at work. Here we are with friends and neighbors who help you fix your garage door when your husband is out of town, friends who watch your kids when your flight is delayed and you have no babysitter lined up for that afternoon, friends who check in, friends who ask how your daughter’s class trip to the pumpkin patch went, and friends (framily) who go to the beach with us.
If we hadn’t known loneliness in Cheyenne, would we have even prayed for community at all? If we hadn’t experienced loneliness, would we even look around at these friends and neighbors and see that God picked them as a gift for us? If we hadn’t known the heartache of infertility, would we have ever known the goodness of God in the story he brought our way, even if His timing wasn’t our own? If we hadn’t known infertility, would we be able to relate to and have compassion on those who are suffering in silence? If we hadn’t ever experienced grief, would we have ever been able to fully experience the comfort of God, His embrace that surrounds us in a supernatural way?
Don’t forget that God’s at work even when things don’t look like you think they should! If you’re feeling rejected, discouraged, lonely, lost, grieving – God is still at work, even then. But I also want to remind you to not forget to turn around and see how far God’s brought you. If, dare I say WHEN the situation is better, when it’s what you’ve prayed for, I hope you see that it was GOD who saw you through, answered your prayers, provided a way. He always provides a way. It just might be a path you didn’t foresee, His leading might take you right next to the edge of a cliff, or up a rocky, slippery slope. But He’s working, He’s leading. It’s what He does. Ask for eyes to see it and you might be pleasantly surprised.

2 thoughts on “God at work, even then

  1. I love reading your blog. This one especially resounded with me since we moved from NH to TX 4 years ago. This time of year makes me really homesick and sad. I try to think about what I am learning from this experience. Thank you for giving me a new perspective:)

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