I had turned my thinking—my heart, my dreams—inside out and upside down in order to say “yes” to God and move to Africa. Deep down I knew His dreams for me were better than my dreams.
After only four months on African soil, I’d fallen in love with Africa and its people, and my husband and I were enthusiastic in embracing the new ministries God gave each of us.
And then it happened:
We learned our first grandchild was on the way, and I suddenly doubted, I questioned—
Why, God, did You have to send me so far from home?
But then I remembered.
With a leaden, hammering heart, I took a deep breath and remembered:
I had given God many months to clarify whether He wanted us to move to Africa, and He said “Yes.” Only “Yes.”
And I remembered the hundred times as much, those intangible, other-worldly bonuses and joys God was, even then, packaging up for me—and I didn’t want to miss any of them!
And I remembered:
… On our way to Africa, we spent a few days in England … in an old World War II barracks. A poster in our dorm room displayed Psalm 126:5–6, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping … will return with songs of joy.”
I pondered those words at length because I didn’t know what they meant for me specifically, but I did understand about tears. I shed tears on my way to Africa because I couldn’t see our children or parents for four long years.…
But, what about those verses about tears turned to joy? Could I believe it? Would I believe it? Would I believe that God could turn my tears into joy?
I thought about it for a couple of days and then, there in our dark little barracks room in England, I stood before that poster and told God I’d give Him time to show me songs of joy in Africa.… (from Grandma’s Letters from Africa, Chapter 3)
And so, there in Nairobi, I did what Priscilla Shirer said:
I raised my hands in surrender to my God, trusting Him for His best dreams and His best outcome for my life and that of my kids and grandkids.
I lifted my heart in surrender to God and recommitted myself to abiding where He had placed me and to the role He had for me in His Vast, Eternal Agenda.
I told Him I’d watch for His hundred-times-as-much treasures.
And I told God, yet again, that I’d give Him time to turn my tears to joy.
Some of you have heartaches—all because you said “Yes” to God and His purposes. Initially you had set out with conviction and enthusiasm, but then something happened, and now maybe you question God and doubt your decision to go where His finger pointed.
I know you struggle—you send e-mails, I read your blogs and Facebook messages, I receive your prayer requests.
Precious friends, what do you need to remember today?
Think back on your conversations with God. Remember how He confirmed His direction for your life. Remember what you committed to Him. Remember the Bible verses that inspired you to make that commitment. Remember your joy in setting out.
Friends, if you “see the Lord calling the shots and regulating [your] existence,” remember, fling up your “hands in surrender … and trust God to bring about His best outcome in life’s circumstances.” (Priscilla Shirer, Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed)