The In-between

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Our lives swing violently between turbulence and tranquility. I’ve been amazed again and again at how drastically a life can change in a matter of minutes. Like the time I slept & dreamt that we moved to South Sudan… only I actually woke up in South Sudan.

Our days are filled with the unexpected and nothing ever happens the same way twice. This starts at traffic laws and is true all the way to the pizza at my favorite cafe in Uganda. Some days it’s illegal to make U-turns in certain areas of town and other days we find ourselves trying to define what a U-turn is to the police. We have to deal with petty laws like “misuse of vehicle” (we had suitcases in the seat of our truck instead of passengers), “driving illegally by wearing sunglasses,” and oh how dare we drive our truck while wearing flip-flops! Not to mention, we have a right-side drive Land Cruiser, but now live in a country where we also drive on the right side of the road [think U.S. postal trucks]. We had to throw out all of the acrostics created to help Americans learn to drive in previous British colonies when we moved from Uganda to South Sudan. Nothing is the same. Ever. And do not even get me started on the issue of consistency, because sometimes your garlic pizza will have no garlic and your basil pizza will have no basil. And don’t go back tomorrow with high hopes just because they said they will have both garlic AND basil tomorrow, because “tomorrow” can mean anything from next week to never again.

When we lived in Uganda, our days followed no rhythm. A day that was pretty mild in events last year ended by Robert finding our gardener dropped dead in the mud. One sunny afternoon, Robert was driving to town with some short-term volunteers and found an almost dead suicide victim in the bushes. One night a hysterical woman from the neighboring village pleaded with us for a ride to the hospital because she had dropped her 4-month-old baby in the fire. That ride-side drive Land Cruiser has transported two dead bodies between hospital and grave and has been contaminated with every bodily fluid known to man. But the urgency was there because the death all around us was swallowing people up and Sheol just laughed.

But those are the days when we can be sure that Jesus is worth it. We keep busy during those days being His hands and His feet and His gauze pads and His cup of water and His hearse and His voice to ears that would rather listen to the lies. We feel fulfilled when we can DO and SAY and LISTEN. Because it really does something to a soul that cries to the God of heaven for rain on a shriveled savannah and He pours it out. And then the physical rain seems so little a thing when those deceived ears first listen to the Christ beckon and hearts repent and hands take up their cross and feet follow Him.

But how can I be sure today that Jesus is worth it in the in-between? Because today we are sitting, waiting in a lodge just 3 hours from the people group God called us to years ago. Our house isn’t finished and who can know when it will be?

I can be sure that He is worth it because Jesus is in the rest, too. It’s easy to see Him in the chaos, but the water gets muddied in the rest. Muddied with guilt, misplaced expectations, and entitlement.

Please pray today for missionaries to be content in all seasons of ministry. Pray for protection against discouragement and distraction. Pray for the humility to accept the much-needed times of rest. Pray especially for Echelon to be salt and light among the expat community during the wait and transition.

Oh, that our focus be made clear, our vision be corrected. May we rest in Him, enjoying Him all our days.

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8 responses to “The In-between

  1. Love this, and if I could, for security reasons, repost your prayers for M’s I would in a heartbeat. You said it SO well. Love you!

  2. Becca (Thomas) Brown

    Lifting you all up in prayer now! Thanks for sharing. It’s always sobering to hear/see ministry through another’s eye.

  3. So well said! Thank you for such a real and heartfelt post. Really love you guys.

  4. I have been missing you this week. I am happy to have this small window into your life around the world. Keep it up!

  5. Wise insights, sweetheart. God gives good gifts to His children, which include rest and sleep. Don’t feel guilty if you aren’t “busy” all the time; even our Lord took periods of rest.

  6. Praying for peace and passion during the rest. Love you guys. Constantly encouraged by your love for Jesus.

  7. Thanks mamma mare!! I miss you and love you. I am so encouraged by everything I read from your team. Oh, that I would labor for the Gospel like you and your family. Thanks reminding me that sitting back is never okay. LOVE YOU!

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