Moving to Germany for us meant stepping out in faith in a big way. It was a new level of trusting Jesus; we had moved internationally a few times but never with four little kids under 5 years old, and we did not make the decision lightly. We talked and prayed with our small group, pastor, and trusted family members for over a year before we even began the process to try to move here. Then it took another year to find a job and decide when and where we would move. This was no off-the-cuff decision. We left a thriving community of friends, mentors, and a wonderful, Biblical church. Not to mention leaving the stability of having a house to live in and being able to speak English!
For various reasons, we took that step of trusting Jesus. He opened the doors wide for us to come to this little village. Although we were exhausted from the move and all the stress that comes from that, overwhelmed by figuring out how to raise kids in a new country, and physically tired from just plain having little kids (who are not the quiet kind!), we came into this village gung-ho to share the gospel and work with people. I sent out a prayer email and had dozens of friends and family committed to praying for our village and our work here over a time period. We invited people over and tried to make friends. If you know us, you know that neither my husband nor I are shy or introverted. In fact, I err on the side of having no fear in approaching people when sometimes I probably should! So when I say we tried, we truly tried.
After 1 year of this, we started getting tired and I fell into a deep depression. The depression was not solely due to having no community, but that certainly didn’t help. Then as I started counseling and we continued to try building community, we felt the Holy Spirit leading us to pray about moving again.
We’ve been trying to move for a year and a half now and are still waiting on God’s direction. The last 3 years have looked nothing like what we expected. I’m plagued with questions and doubts…Why are we here when we’re unable to make meaningful friendships? Didn’t we ask God for wisdom and take our time so that we wouldn’t make a mistake? Didn’t we do what we were supposed to do and seek counsel and have many praying for us? Where did we go wrong? I feel that we’ve made a step in faith and, unlike Peter, we’ve sunk into the sea instead of walked on water.
Here I am still waiting. We haven’t moved, no doors seem to be opening, yet we are seeking God. Through this time, I’ve learned I have to trust in Him like I’ve never had to before. I have days where I don’t know what to even do, don’t know how to entertain the kids, feel that the hope I once had in God has withered.
Even my littles recognize that we don’t have a community and they yearn for it. I often hear, I want to move back to England, even though they don’t remember it well.
In each desperate hour, He shows up. In every prayer cried, God is with me. In every moment I have no words through my tears, He lifts me to Him. I may not have felt it in the moment, but He continues to be faithful. I see it in a moment of quiet with the children, a random text or email, or even just in a simple peace. He meets us where we are.
He has given me a greater thirst for His Word in this valley. I implore you, dear friend, with all my being, go to His Word. In the past 3 years, I have found no greater comfort than from His letter to us. It’s the first time in my life that I had no people to depend on. I’m 100% extrovert and even in my deepest sorrows I’ve had people around me. Not this time. I’ve learned that His Word is sufficient in the midst of sorrow and extreme loneliness. His Word will comfort your deepest grief and give you an incomprehensible peace knowing that He is good and sovereign.
Dear friend, if you are in a place that you didn’t expect to be, take heart and go to our wonderful God. If you are alone, know that you are not truly alone. I’m alone, too! But our Father who loves us is with you always. Keep telling yourself this so that you will not forget. Keep going to His Word until you do not go away thirsty. Dig into it until your thirst is quenched and your faith a little bit stronger.
Even though we stepped out in faith and had big expectations of spreading God’s Kingdom, our time here seems to have been mostly unfruitful. Now that may or may not be true, but what is true is that we can trust God and trust that He has us where He wants us to be or He would have us somewhere else. We can stand unshaken and wait.
As Elizabeth Elliott so wisely said,