“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort, or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
The best way to describe the past year of our lives is that it has been twelve months of hang gliding, going from thermal to thermal looking for lift. In hang gliding, a thermal is a column of warm air rising from the ground, lifting the glider to higher altitudes. Hang gliders are continuously descending through the air, but reaching thermals and other areas of rising wind allows them to glide higher and higher, and stay airborne for long periods of time. That’s exactly what the last year has been like for us. We took a giant leap of faith when we left Austin in November of 2009 and moved to the farm, and have been airborne ever since. At times it has felt like we have been plummeting toward the ground at incredibly high speeds. But then we hit a thermal and we are called to new heights, we are swept back up in the winds of God’s movement, and continue to soar in Him. Many a time, those thermals have come in form of trials and tribulations, but as I heard a woman who had walked through far worse than us say, “there are certain things that can only happen in the atmosphere of crisis.” Certain lessons can only be learned, certain strongholds can only be destroyed, certain blessings can only be received, certain bonds can only be formed, certain skills can only be sharpened, and certain strengths can only be developed in the wake of hardship. And the winds of God’s mercy have taken us in directions we never could have predicted! It has been an exciting, exhilarating, exhausting, and daunting ride—a ride I am so thankful for!
Many of our loved ones, family, and friends disagree with the decisions we have made. David has gone from being an urban business man, with goals of climbing the corporate ladder and providing the “American dream” for his family; to being a rural farmer, climbing Jacob’s ladder, and aiming to follow the Lord in His provisions for our family. I have gone from a suburban housewife, raising two small children in the convenience of the city; to a rural homeschooling mom, with scopes reaching far beyond the parameters of our farm. The Lord has called each of us into new levels of commitment, understanding, trust, service, and relationship. For better or for worse, that often does not look like the “right” thing to do in the eyes of the world. But the world is not keeping us afloat. If we looked to the world for lift, these gliders would surely crash. It is only by the grace of God that we continue to be airborne. With Him as our Pilot, we will continue to glide higher and higher…farther and farther from the world we once clung to. We have been called to take yet another giant leap of faith, and at the moment it feels as though we are falling with no thermal in sight. But as James said, even when we fall we must be wholly joyful, and that in the fall we must prove our faith to gain steadfastness, endurance, and patience! As usual, we don't know where this leap is taking us...we thought we knew when we jumped, but it has already taken several turns (which is why I don't feel released to be more specific!)
My prayer for 2011 continues to be, “Take us higher, Lord!” We want to be with You, we want to be enveloped in You, engulfed in the winds of Your movement. We will follow You wherever You take us, even as the air seems to be getting thinner and thinner. We will not suffer altitude sickness, because You are our oxygen. We will remain faithful, and patiently await Your next thermal! We will persevere in faith, so that we may be perfectly and fully developed, lacking in nothing!
I pray you all have a very Happy New Year! I pray you soar higher and higher, closer and closer to our Father in Heaven! It’s an awesome ride!