We are not perfect. We’re messy, broken and struggling to find familiarity amidst newness and uncertainty.
We’ve fallen apart on more than one occasion – glimpses or bursts of our sinful selves on display for our 40+ new friends to see as we live in this close community, side by side, all of us dealing with transitions of our own.
We know that God is with us. We know He hasn’t left us or given us more than we can bare but it’s felt heavy and burdonesome because we’ve sought, at times, to do it on our own.
In seeking familiarity, comforts and ease, we have, at times, forgotten that God sent Jesus far from familiarity so we could have something better, something richer, something fuller, something consistent and non circumstantial. Jesus relinquished and released every single one of His rights so we could have freedom. Freedom to walk in His Spirit and to exchange sadness, jealousy, anger and discontent for love, patience, kindness, faithfulness and peace.
I am trying to see that this incredible freedom is available to me here in Papua New Guinea – far from my friends and family, far from familiarity, comforts and ease.
Freedom in the midst of my mess because I do believe that, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Freedom to experience comfort as I cry our dorm room missing those I love.
Freedom to experience peace as I rock my baby girl whose body is fighting off sickness.
Freedom to experience contentment when so many comforts have been stripped away.
Freedom to emanate patience when our three year old cries and screams daily at the thought of being left in the nursery.
Freedom to speak in kindness to our seven year old whose listening struggles in school were not left in Canada.
Freedom to show love and meet the needs of our 5 year old even if I’m absolutely exhausted and altogether too sweaty for hugs or snuggles.
Freedom to demonstrate faithfulness to the three little pairs of eyes that are watching how we deal with these changes.
Freedom to experience peace even when I am anxious, nervous and uncertain.
Because, you see, when I stop and think of these low moments, these messy, raw, real experiences in light of my Saviour and what He wants for me, I notice something distinct, something real, something raw and amazing.
I notice that every single one of these moments has, nestled within it, something greater, something special, something sacred.
An opportunity to release my child’s entire being to the care and protection of a Heavenly Father.
An opportunity to get to know the God of peace and comfort on a new level.
An opportunity to find comfort that is not dependant on temporal things.
An opportunity to encourage a cautious and scared three year old and show that precious heart that he has nothing to fear.
An opportunity to affirm a strong willed seven year old in those areas of transition in which he excels while spurring him on to seek God’s help to make better choices.
An opportunity to give more hugs, pray more often and be the very needy recipient of an unending, incomparable peace.
Opportunity after countless opportunity to lay down my perceived rights and comforts – things that, when taken away, release those oh so human reactions of sadness, jealousy, anger and discontent. To lay those things down and, in giving up our rights, to gain freedom. A freedom that can carry us all through the toughest of situations and, in the process, through the Holy Spirit, enable our messy, broken selves to reflect, instead, the love, patience, kindness, faithfulness and peace of our Father.
That is my wholehearted desire and I didn’t have to come to Papua New Guinea to learn that but oh how this new place, new language, new home, new food, new climate and new culture have amplified my need for freedom.
May I continue to look to God for this freedom and may we pass on to our kids, that no comfort or existing right can ever act as a substitute for the freedom we have been granted in Christ.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1