Nearly eleven years have passed since the night I sat huddled with my husband on the floor of the sitting-room of our master suite in the Victorian home we built 8 years earlier and were about to lose.
Praying through tears, fear and uncertainty we called out to the Father. Words literally failed us as we struggled to articulate the pain in our hearts. We were exhausted from the fight to keep our financial heads above water.
More significantly we were emotionally and spiritually drained and longed for life with more meaning. We could not bear another day in pursuit of the American dream. We could no longer abide in the culture of mediocrity that defined our Christian life up to that point. On these issues our hearts and minds were in perfect accord.
One desire saturated our thoughts—to be used by the Lord and to live life beyond the ordinary. We longed for our lives to have eternal impact, to know that when the vapor of our earthly existence dissipates something of infinite value would remain.
Personally I couldn’t shake the vision of standing before Jesus, the fire having passed over the ‘wood, hay and stubble’ of my life, and leaving only smoldering ashes. The thought of having nothing remaining to offer the One who gave everything to redeem me was unbearable.
We were well into the wee hours when the Spirit spoke these words as clearly to my heart as if they had been spoken aloud:
Lay it on the altar and I will consume it with holy fire and it will be a sweet aroma to my nostrils;
We could not have known in that moment what the “all that I require” would actually entail.
Our new journey began with letting go of the home that we loved, followed by leaving friends and family to move across the country. It continued with stepping into the world of self-employment, a short term assignment in Siberia for my husband and son, and our current stint in oil-boom central of North Dakota. And those are just a few of the highlights.
Each leg of our journey from that time until now has required letting go of preconceived ideas and dreams in favor of His plan for our lives.
Today it appears that He may require the future we envisioned with our middle daughter. This is not altogether unfamiliar territory, as we have made several treks to the altar where she is concerned. At 24 years of age, she is in her sixth year as a missionary midwife. She is currently serving an indigenous group in the Sierra Madres of Mexico. Her calling has required us to let go of her by degree. Each step has tested our hearts all over again.
Last night my husband and I had no sooner drifted off to sleep, when our youngest daughter burst in to announce that her older sister had just confessed what we suspected for some time. She is potentially developing feelings for a young pastor serving the same people.
Once again, I found myself at that altar. You see this young man is a Mexican citizen. If she were to marry a national, visa issues being what they are, it could mean living out her life in Mexico. Of course it’s far too soon to predict the outcome. Yet the possibility demanded a reexamining of my heart.
My husband wrapped his arms around me. We held one another in silence, knowing that should this prove to be God’s plan for her, it will mean walking her down the aisle and literally giving her away.
Once again, I cling to those precious words spoken to me so many nights ago. What more may be required I have no way of knowing. But what treasure could compare with having the heart of Jesus? His love changed the world for all of eternity. Standing before Him on that day there will be no such thing as regret for having given too much.