Can I write a more personal blog post here? More for my sake than for yours. I am constantly struggling with the decision to launch out in faith or pull back to home base. Yesterday I pulled back. I'm now back in London. I came back early . . not sure if i made the right decision or not.
I wasn't speaking at the Manchester event and my presence wasn't really needed, but i was hoping to catch up with team members from DAWN and other groups.
Now i am wondering if i should have pushed ahead and stayed up there. I think that by not going there, I might have disappointed a few people. Dang it!
Heres what happened, and i tell you because i am processing it for myself as I write.
We ran out of money a little earlier this month that we usually do and I took the last 20 pounds to use for diesel to get myself up to my meetings in Sheffield and Birmingham. i figured the family would be OK for a few days with what was left in the fridge. God was good and, as always, i had just enough diesel to get me to Sheffield and then to Birmingham. If the Drug Rehab centre that i was visiting had been a few miles further on, I would have been on the side of the road with my thumb out.
Anyway, i was able to advise them and help them in getting their web site going - (should be up soon), and they asked me what i needed and i replied "Diesel to get me to my next place". They gave me 30 pounds - which was more than enough to get me to Manchester for my next meeting. My thanks to them!
But i still had to decide whether to go on or return to London. I didn't have the address of the center in Manchester (someone forgot to email me with the address and there was no web information) - meaning that i might be sleeping in my van in Manchester. Even if i found the place, i wouldnt have any money to book a room and would probably be begging one of the missionaries to pay for my room and for fuel to get back to London. AND I HATE BEGGING AND BUMMING OFF PEOPLE. A loan would have done it. But even then, I am supposed to be more "professional" than this and turning up penniless without any means to get home did not sound very attractive to me. And i didnt really feel a sense of WELCOME at this event of which its location was an absolute mystery.
As for my family, my incredibly creative wife was holding the fort, making our pantry work overtime and keeping our 5 kids fed and well. The kids were in good spirits. I thought they might have been a little upset about being at home during the Easter holidays and not touring Scotland but they got to visit their friends in Chichester last week and that was the No. 1 thing they wanted to do.
It was also Friday night and i do like to be home on fridays for our families pizza night. I also had an extra 10 pounds that could possibly salvage the end of the holidays. So i drove back to London, and got there just in time to buy some Coke and rent a movie.
For almost 20 years, this has been the norm for me - running out, trusting God, seeing Him provide out of nowhere, building our trust and dependence on Him. But i am always aware that my kids might regret being brought up in a missionary family. And there are times when I long to have something i can fall back on - some property, a house, some savings, some kind of investment. Still, this is the life I have chosen and still choose.
Sometimes I launch out in faith and God catches me. Sometimes I just don't have the energy to launch, and I creep home. I don't sense any disappointment from God. He's totally cool with it. But people don't always understand. Missionaries understand. Sometimes the money is there and sometimes it is not. But the work continues.
My current situation calls for more faith. I have 4 overseas ministry trips to make in the next month. I havent got the tickets yet. Two of those will reimburse my airfare, two will not. I cant really buy any of the tickets at the moment, and will end up paying more because i am late.
Should I cancel some of my trips? Maybe i am overextending myself? Maybe I need to raise more support? Maybe we shouldn't be living in such an expensive country? Dang . . . am i even in the right place at the moment?
Anyway, thats where i am today. Maybe today, I am in the wrong place. Or maybe i made a good decision and chose family over ministry, a decision that one day my kids will remember. Maybe I invested in the sanity of my family instead of in the advancement of the church. I JUST DONT KNOW. I don't have the answer.
But I do know this . . . . that God is really proud of me, and cheers me on as i make my decisions. He thinks its great when i leap off a cliff and expect to be caught - and He always catches me. He would have caught me again in Manchester. I know it. I have been leaping for 20 years and He has been catching for 20 years.
But when I choose not to leap, but rather to retire and call it a day, then I feel God is also cheering, . . . but from His armchair.
God is my greatest fan, when i make the impossible leaps and land safely in his arms. And His applause does not die down when hang up my towel, pack my bags and head home to my family. I might doubt myself, and others surely will. But God will sustain his enthusiasm for me as I co-create with Him, as I partner with Him in reconciling all things to Himself, in aggregating all that needs to come home to Him. Everything and everyone.
Gutlessness? Maybe. But it doesnt change God's love and commitment to me.
Right. I feel a little better now. But not much. Thank you blog for a place to vent. And thanks to you- if anyone out there ventured out this far and this deep with me- for your understanding of me. I hope you are not too disappointed in me.