Sunday, December 31, 2017

Czech New Beginnings

I have moved to the Czech Republic. Wow. Christmas has now even come and gone, and the new year is just about to roll around, with many new chapters about to begin. 

Here's to new beginnings, the constancy of the Lord, and the beauty of what he promises in His Word...

“Behold, I am making all things new.” - Revelation 21:5

Moving to Czech may be a "moving back", but the Lord has changed my heart since I last lived here. I'm grateful that he is unchanging, but that we change. I feel small and sinful next to him in his holiness, yet so safe and known by him as he receives and forgives constantly. And he is forming and shaping the church here, just as he was able to continue drawing us, his church, to himself all the way in Chicago. His hand is ever reaching out to us. 

He is Imanmuel, God with us, just as we sang in church this morning.

This song has been playing on repeat in my thoughts and heart these past couple of days. May we sing it ever more loudly in this next year! 

I lift my eyes up to the hills
This my morning song
Where my strength comes from

I lift my eyes up to the hills
This my evening song
Where my help comes from ...

This is the hope of every land
Just as the universe expands
Your love is reaching
You're holding everything

(Gravity of Love, The Brilliance)

Monday, December 4, 2017

With Two Weeks Left

November slipped rather quickly into our memories, fading into the stories of life and ushering in a new season marked by wreaths and boughs and red ribbons. The last leaves that bravely clung to the tree are also being blown away by the winds of change, echoing unknowingly the very thoughts swirling past my mind as well. 

Last week I said goodbye to the kids I have had the privilege of praying with every week for the past ten months at a church in Wheaton. We have gathered weekly for a time of play, worship and prayer and it has been a highlight of every week to see the Lord at work here. Proclaiming alongside these kids that, "We're like stars burning with love so bright, blazing with hope and life, bringing him glory, showing the world that we love Jesus," never gets old!

These kids and the children's ministry director at the church had a mini-commissioning (sending out to Czech) service for me on Wednesday, and my heart burst with gratitude to the Lord for these kids. He is working in their hearts in such a way that the presence of Christ in them blesses me so greatly too. I am humbled by their prayers and their faith. And I will miss these kids greatly.

A few other bittersweet goodbyes happened this past week too. These goodbyes bring great hope for the future, great rejoicing in what the Lord has already done, and great thankfulness for the blessing of relationships and the body of Christ. They also bring sadness. I lacked words this past week to express all of that paradox, yet moving forward always involves leaving something behind. And it's ok to grieve those losses.

The Lord is near. Great things are yet to come.

And for now, as autumn fades, so does my time here in the United States for the time being. Two more weeks. I look forward expectantly, look back gratefully, and look at the present with joy and sadness wrapped up together in one.