It's not always pain that leaves us puzzling out the ways of God. 2011 closes, a year of sweet goodness and mystery.
We'd been providentially prepared for the leaving behind of 2011.
Fall of 2009. A family tragedy. After the funeral, we drive the back country roads of Virginia and West Virginia, the sky darkening. The children fall asleep, and Ryan and I wonder aloud if we're missing it. What was it that God really had for us? We commit to praying intentionally for 30 days about mission.
A month and a half later, we've pulled our kids out of school, set up a homeschool classroom in the basement. Ryan and I both have strongest sense that our greatest mission is the five children God had given us.
Homeschooling made each of us courageous in new ways. We would need that courage this year to leave our home, our families, our familiar.
I no longer presume to know exactly what God is doing when He is doing it. The steps we take lead in directions we don't yet know. The only confidence we have at all is in believing that His guiding is good.
This fall, the older three children have settled happily in their new school, each with bright confidence for meeting the challenge of learning French.
The twins attend preschool three mornings a week. Jennifer and Alana, their teachers, have stolen their hearts. In Colin's words, "I stare at Alana."
Ryan loves the job that led us to Toronto. He has strategic responsibilities he's never before had. The challenges invigorate him.
We feel deeply grateful for our new church home. The sermons are profound, and the worship is purposeful and reflective. Our new friendships there are a source of joy.
And finally, I can't help but marvel at what this new season has brought for me. It's in Toronto that I've begun unearthing what it is that I want, what it is I feel made to do. Maybe I feel a little like Zechariah. I've believed God in some deeper ways, and I've found words, a voice.
I trust that my words have echoed those that Zechariah first spoke after the birth of John.
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel.