Knowing that our four years will be up in June of 2011, Kevin and I have been praying for the last year about what the Lord would have us do at the end of this school year. We had made an initial commitment to ICSB and to UWM for two years, and now we are finishing our fourth year here. But what next?
As many of you know, I first came to Hungary in 1998. I fell in love with Hungary on my first trip here and knew from that summer that I wanted to come back. I came back in 2002 to do my student teaching, in hopes that the Lord would either decrease my desire for Hungary or continue to put it on my heart if I was to return one day. My prayer since then has been that the Lord would keep that desire on my heart if I was to come back here some day.
Fast forward to the fall of 2006 and the desire to come here grows more and more. We move here in August of 2007. Seth was born that November. We knew that two years wasn't going to be enough, and we agreed to stay longer.
And then Kate was born in November 2009. It was in the months after her birth that I felt my love for Hungary and my desire to be here diminish. There are SO many reasons behind those feelings, but I felt that the Lord was doing what I had asked...removing the desire to be here in preparing me to move back home.
We started thinking and praying about it. We asked our supporters to pray about it with us. We have been blessed to have tons of people praying for us in this decision, asking that the Lord would make it clear what we were to do and that we would do whatever He asks.
And then we prayed and prayed and prayed. And waited and waited and waited. The Lord seemed so quiet to us during this time. But I kept thinking to myself that surely the Lord was using the removal of my desire to be here to help make it clear that we were to move back "home," wherever that is. And in the midst of all of the stress, I kept telling myself "You can make it until next June. You can make it."
We met with lots of godly people and sought their advice. We prayed with people. We were given this verse from someone last summer, and I have been pondering it for almost a year now:
Jeremiah 6:16, "Stand at the crossroads and look. Search for the ancient paths. Look for the good way and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls."
We were challenged to search the ancient path, and at that same time, I started spending a lot of time in the Old Testament and moved into some Advent devotions late this fall. I know that the Scriptures I was reading and the Advent devotions were ordained by Him for me to read when I did. The way I felt the Lord speaking to me during that time in his Word was unbelievable. I didn't feel him telling me that going home was the right choice NOR that staying was the right choice. I just felt him continually asking me if I trusted him.
Christmas came and went, and we thought for sure we would have a decision made by then. Ha! And then January came and went. I was so tired of being stressed about our future decision. The Lord continued to speak to me through his Word and still asking me if I trusted him.
I was reminded of what the same person who gave us Jeremiah 6:16 wrote to us, too. "The question to answer is....how you can best bring God glory? This is the ancient path. Rest comes in stepping into the decision you believe to be the best direction for his glory."
I wrestled with a lot of thoughts during this time. I kept asking myself "Is it worth it?" and "What am I even doing here?". I sobbed to a few tender hearts over these months. Very gracious people I tell you. :) I felt the Lord really challenging me in these thoughts and showing me that much of my focus was completely on me, not at all about what will best bring God the glory. And even in all of the time I spent with the Lord and him asking me if I trusted him, I managed to still keep the focus on me. What a shame!
I don't remember the exact day, but sometime after that, I was doing dishes in the kitchen and sobbing. I literally begged the Lord to tell us what to do. I told him that I did trust him but that I needed him to tell us what to do. I told him that I would obey whatever he told us to do and that I would trust him to help me do it with a happy submissive spirit if it meant staying (because even at the point, I still had no desire to stay). I put out a "fleece" like Gideon did in Judges and told him "if this, then that." I had never done that before.
And it was like THAT. I can't even begin to describe to you all of the things that happened in the next few weeks (and still are happening) that all CLEARLY pointed us in the direction to stay here in Hungary. Yes, you read that right. Despite me wanting to move back home more than anything and honestly thinking that is what would happen, the Lord made it clear that we are to stay. And you know what, I have incredible peace about it!
That peace doesn't mean that it has been easy, but I keep reminding myself that the peace comes from knowing we are doing what he has asked, because for this time, this is what will bring him glory. I know my attitude hasn't always been one that brings glory to God, but I see him working in my heart to give me a happy submissive spirit about it, like I had asked. Some days are easier than others. And when I worry and stress about how all of this will work (which I have been reminded is clearly a sin), I am learning to fix my eyes on Christ, because this is all about him and not about me, no matter how much I may sin in my desire to make it about me and what I want.
I don't really know how to end this because the thoughts in my mind whirl around with all that God has been teaching me and challenging me. So I write this with tears from a heart that is overflowing with gratitude for Christ's work on the cross, his work in me, and his clear direction for us to stay. Fortunately his work is not done in me because I've got a long way to go. :)