On Monday evening I sat on an airplane that took me from New York to the Dominican Republic and I leaned my head against the window and I cried. I thought that saying goodbye would get easier as time went on, but it’s getting harder. I thought about how I wish the airplane were taking me back to Michigan.
The day before I was offered a job at Las Palmas a Teaching English ministry shared about their need for English teachers in Dayton, Ohio. I had done an ESL field experience in Dayton and enjoyed every terrifying, out-of-my-element moment of it. I fell in love with ESL in Dayton. So I checked in with God. Are you sure you want me to go overseas? I asked the same God who sent me to Mexico when I was eleven in order to plant a Spanish-loving seed in my heart. There are a lot of people here who need to learn English, God. I pointed out. I’m not going to apply to anymore schools overseas. If these last two turn me down, I’ll start looking for jobs in Ohio. I told Him.
The next day Alli called and offered me a job teaching preschool English at Las Palmas. I wanted to accept immediately but I played it cool and told her I’d let her know within the week.
When I first moved here I sat on an airplane that took me from my layover Atlanta to the Dominican Republic and I was so excited. This is what I have always dreamed of. This is what I have always wanted to do. I have my dream job and I don’t take that for granted. Not everyone gets to do what they love. I do.
But I was sad, then, too, because I was leaving a home I had built in Ohio. There I had a church, a job, a huge bedroom in a great house full of women I love and admire, a ridiculous amount of furniture for a college student, a routine, a ministry, a neighborhood – a life. And so I checked in with God during those first couple of weeks in the DR. Are you sure, God? I asked Him. Would I have been much more effective in Ohio? I asked Him. I was already established there. I reminded Him. Now I have to start all over. I pointed out. Shouldn’t I have just stayed there? I questioned Him.
Last week I saw Annie in theaters. It was adorable and another reminder of the so many children in the foster care system. It was another reminder of the pull I have toward foster kids, the desire I have to adopt, to bring in, and to care for children. So I checked in with God again. Are you sure, God? I asked Him. Maybe I should move back to the States. I could be a foster parent there. There are so many kids who need homes, God. I could be a home, couldn’t I God? This is what I said to the God who Sees.
Today I got a message from my mom. The worst kind of message. The kind of message that says Your friend died today and we don’t know where her girl is going to go. And the world has to keep going on. So I checked in with God. Uh, God? This sucks. I said. Why did you do that? I asked. What’s going to happen to our girl? I asked. God, if I were there I could be helping. I told the sovereign God.
I’m house-sitting for a family I really appreciate. They are animal lovers, so we get along well. I’m sitting in the dining room and over there on the wall is a little chalkboard that says, “When you don’t know what He’s doing, remember what He has done.” What a perfect reminder for my right now.
You guys, I have no idea what God is doing. I have no idea why I’m here and not in Michigan or Ohio or Texas or Spain. I have no idea why my friend died this morning. I have no idea why I get to live in a really adorable apartment that smells nice and comes with a free cat when there are people living under bridges. I have no idea why I get to walk around this pretty neighborhood in a t-shirt enjoying the breeze when kids didn’t go to school today because it’s too cold to be outside. I have no idea why I get two parents who love me and are awesome when more than 250,000 children in the U.S. enter the foster care system every year. I have no idea what God is doing. I keep asking, Shouldn’t I? and Wouldn’t I be? and Are you sure? and I really, really love these people. Couldn’t I live a bit closer to them?
And He keeps saying, Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
He keeps saying, Holy Father, keep them in your name… that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
He keeps saying, I will fulfill to you my promise… For I know the plans I have for you, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope, the very best plans that could ever be.
He keeps saying, Of course I know the desires of your heart, the pulls and the passions. I put them there.
He keeps saying, I see you, I see all of you and I love you.
So I’m doing what I always do. What Glennon of Momastery reminded us to do yesterday. I’m faking it till I make it. God is big. God is good. God is sovereign. He gives and takes away, but my heart will choose to call Him blessed. And if not, He is still good. It is well with my soul. Faith. Trust. Obedience. I’m repeating it till I believe it.
I have no idea what God is doing. But I know what He’s done. He has met Hagar in the wilderness. He has seen her and loved her and promised her. He has pursued Gomer to the depths of her sin and He has won her. He has entered into the place behind the curtain, surrendering His deity and life for me, for me, for me. He has provided a sure and steadfast hope, worth holding on to. He has gone before.
I have no idea what God is doing. But I know what He’s done. He has planted in me a seed of Spanish-love and child-love and Dominican-love. He has planted in me a seed of Go and See and Tell. He has guided me so, so clearly to this place at the time and He, despite all my Are you sure? has asked me to Wait and Stay.
I have no idea what God is going. But I know who He is. He is good, even when this really sucks. He is love, even when this really sucks. He is faithful, even when this really sucks. And you guys? This really sucks. I have no idea what God is doing, but I will remember what He has done. I will keep remembering and asking and checking in and reminding and pointing out because what choice do I have? What good is the dark if there is no promise of light?