HE GOES BEFORE! Be this thy consolation!
He goes before! On this my heart would dwell!
He goes before! This guarantees salvation!
HE GOES BEFORE! And therefore all is well.
--J. Danson Smith (from Streams in the Desert)
I didn't think that I would be able to do it, and I was right.
Coming here, to a tiny town in the Midwest, moving away from everyone, everything that I held dear--
I came here weeping.
I didn't think that I would be able to do it -- to be without the constant loving interactions with my family members in my day-to-day life--
Moving away from the home that I had called home for 33 years -- the home that I have lived in all of my life -- first as a baby and a little girl, then with my husband and children -- We lived with my mom after we married.
I didn't think that I could do it.
And I left with the physical ties cut, bleeding -- it felt like a death--
The death of the things that I love most, cherish most, hold the most dear--
Beloved family, beloved friends, beloved New England, beloved memories.
To come here where nothing was familiar. To come here where people do things differently -- where the buildings and the houses and the landscape are so different. Where everything is farther apart, where I can't find all the familiar things that I'm used to.
I didn't think that I could do it--
Do what the Lord had called me to do -- years and years ago, pressing a burden on my heart to begin a ministry here with my husband.
And before I left, my little daughter curled up beside me on blankets on our floor -- our bed was packed, ready to go -- I took comfort in the closeness of her little person beside me -- close to me -- and I held on to the promise that the Lord had given me months before.
That His Presence would go with me.
My brother-in-law pressed a notecard into my hand as we left -- a promise written in his beautiful calligraphy--
My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest.
And I couldn't do it -- but God could--
He could do His work through me--
He could give me the strength that I needed to face changes and separation and uncertainty and fear.
Because He promised to go with me -- and He is greater than all of these things.
Just before we made the decision to come here and the Lord opened doors in miraculous and unusual ways--
I was still pleading with Him not to go -- not yet.
I was listening to a message given by Ravi Zacharias -- about the missionary David Livingstone--
The Lord spoke to me powerfully through it; his words pierced me--
Zacharias shared a quote from David Livingstone--
God, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. And sever any tie in my heart except the tie that binds my heart to Yours.
The Holy Spirit spoke to me through his words -- Weeping, I surrendered my will to the Lord and knew peace.
I knew that He would go with me.
And I went.
The pastor at the church that we've been attending said this in a sermon recently, and his words touched my heart--
"The idea that God never gives us more than we can handle -- He does -- God gives us more than we can handle so that we can run to Him and cry out to Him, so that we can see His magnificence in it all -- when I am weak, then I am strong."
The Lord gave me more than I could handle.
Called me to do something that I didn't think that I could do -- so that I could see His power worked through my weakness and know His sufficiency in it all and depend upon Him in my loneliness and trust that His Presence has gone before me.
These months have been some of the most difficult for me and some of the most blessed. I have held on to His promises and He has held on to me. He has given me His strength and His joy -- an indescribable joy and peace in my heart -- through a Midwestern winter in a drafty rental house -- a knowing that I am where He wants me.
Joy. Strength. Peace. Only because of Him.
And when we surrender and feel like we are falling and losing and dying--
We find His arms beneath us,
We find our hands full of His promises,
We find His life.
As I keep explaining to my little daughter -- the trees lose their leaves during the winter so that they can be clothed in fresh new leaves and life in the spring--
Spring is coming.
And I know that I am here with Him,
And He is with me.
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