Common Cowardice

Last spring, as I was considering the magnitude of changes our family is embracing, the Lord did a sweet work of encouragement that made for a poignantly vibrant Full Heart Moment.  A copy of Marcia Moston’s book, Call of a Coward, came into my hands and drew me into the story of someone just like me who had been called to serve with her family out in the nations.   I was eager to walk alongside her struggles and triumphs as she traveled the path the Lord set before her, much of it riddled with pot holes, sharp drop-offs, and breathtaking views.

Lady walking in San AndresAs the pages turned, I began to wonder if she had lived in the same village that we had traveled to for mission work in 2006 and 2011.  Then Tim drove up on his three-wheeler, and there was no doubt.  I was treated not only to laughter and lessons pondered with a new friend, but with old ones, too,  as Marcia’s story twined with the Stromstad family during the early years of the Home of Life in Guatemala.  Hugging them all from my reading chair was a warm sunbeam of hope and joy in a season that had been looking rather gray.

Out of the overflow of the heart, this person writes.  My post, Full Heart Moment, was the fountain, dashed off contentedly in the quiet hours when the rest of the house was sleeping.  Basking in the Lord’s encouragement through the book and the satisfaction of a completed post, I assumed the blessing was complete.  Then Marcia Moston herself commented on TheGoodNewsFamily, and we traded emails in the days following.

When the Lord desires to do a work, the ripples often travel further than we can see.  Marcia was also touched by the common places and faces we loved, and wrote about how she discovered the connection in her post Counting the Cost on her blog.  As our family explored the grocery store in Costa Rica this summer, translating the ingredients to make meals in our cabina, she posted an interview with me, God is Able to Turn a Woman’s Heart about our calling and the way the Lord coaxed me back under the wing of His plans for our future.  I’m amazed by and grateful for her kind support of our family’s journey and for the way she is helping me overcome my own fears by the word of her testimony in her book and her blog.

Through the Front Gate, Guatemala

And that is the essence of why I write, spending hours playing with words and tinkering with nuances: yes, so that I can express my heart, but more so that the Lord might use it to be an encouragement to someone else in the steps of their walk with Him.  When we share our stories with their difficulties and victories, faith is multiplied and our common cowardice becomes a stepping stone rather than a barrier.

“They overcame. . .by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;” Revelation 12:11a

Full Heart Moment

My heart is full tonight.  The last two months have been a flurry of activity.  Remodeling the kitchen, preparing children’s items from our stockpile to sell at a consignment sale, finishing up the school year, fighting a three week cold, doing some long runs in training for the Lincoln Half Marathon, and discovering pinterest (oy vey).    It’s all added up to a big case of weary.  In a quiet afternoon of leisure at my in-laws’ pond a few weeks ago, with the sun shining down and the warmth of comraderie all around me, my heart suddenly felt a pang.  I was leaving this.  And a season of counting the cost began.

Okay, Lord, let’s do this.   Time with our parents while they are healthy and strong.  Sundays and Wednesdays with our life giving, passionately worshiping church.  Snowy Christmases with family and my mom’s signature dumplings and sauerkraut.  A predictable income.  The love, sweat, and tears poured into our home and gardens.  Game nights and birthday gatherings with friends and loved ones.  The confidence of knowing the language spoken in the streets.  And so on.

But just like the Lord, He had encouragement and joy waiting in the wings.  Call of a Coward, the book I had forgotten I’d asked to borrow, was placed into my hands, the transparent story of someone like me who followed the Lord out into the unknown.  So tonight, from the comfort of my reading chair, I was able to walk down streets in Guatemala, watch soccer matches in Costa Rica, and hug dear ones out in the nations from afar.  Tonight my heart is full with all that the Lord has in store for us.  The cost is real, but so is the blessing of trusting him more fully.