After a week of feeling yucko, I finally dragged myself out of bed this morning and went for a run. The sun was shining as the honeysuckle scented my huff-and-puff journey. As usual, I prayed. And, thankfully, God spoke back.
I shared my desire to be present here in France. I beat myself up over not doing that. (I’m particularly good at beating myself up. My friend Hud always calls and says, “Hi Mary, this is your conscience speaking.” He’s helping me get over my hyperactive conscience! Thanks, Hud!)
The Lord answered my beratings. “Mary, I want you to welcome France as a gift.” I sensed His presence as those words washed over me. France is a gift. France is a gift. France is a gift FROM HIM.
Then I thought over the past two years and how much we’d endured. Underneath all that struggle and endurance (that continues daily), I’ve glimpsed soul growth—growth I wouldn’t have experienced had I not gone through the pain. I’m learning to thank God for the pain, for the wary adventure of life in France.
And so now, I need to not only accept the growth, but embrace the country that’s supplying the growth. How do you hug France? I’m not sure, but I’ll try.
When I came home, I read these verses which seemed a perfect ending to what God had been saying:
“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest” (Psalm 126:5-6).
I’ve planted many, many tears here. I’ve wept while I feebly plant tiny, pitiful seeds. I look forward to the day I can sing and shout as the harvest comes.
Help me endure, Jesus. Help me embrace this country You’ve sent us to. Help me to remember there is more to life than tears and weeping, that in the grand scheme of your harvest there are times of refreshing and cultivating and reaping. Keep me close to you as my soul enlarges and grows. Help us all to continue on, setting the joy before us like a great shining hope. Amen.