I am beginning to discover that there is often a gaping hole between saying yes to God and the fulfillment of that yes. That gaping hole is dark and deep. Right now my family is inside of that gaping hole. We are in the in-between; no longer are we living off the high of the yes, and we have yet to see the yes fulfilled. We are just hanging precariously in the middle. I wish that I could say that since last summer, when we finally surrendered our yes to God to move to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia -when we stepped out in faith and accepted His invitation to partner with God by serving street kids - that our life has been rainbows and butterflies. But it has been anything but that. It has been hard, ugly grueling; we have fough tooth and nail to fulfill the yes. It has become a sloppy mess of intentional daily obedience. There is very little glamour inside of the gap where daily scratching out obedience becomes your battle cry. It's continuing to say yes, by putting one heavy, aching foot in front of the other and burrowing deeper into the gaping hole of the in-between.
Being completely transparent with you, I have cried buckets of tears, eaten my way through too many chocolate bars, questioned our sanity, doubted our call, and been more fearful than brave in every single step of this process. The in-between is hard. Some moments when I look at what is before us, and what is left to be done in order to fulfill this yes, I am more scared than anything else. It is inside these shaky moments, where my heart is panicked and terrified, that my soul knows that this yes has been and always will be God-ordained. Because the Tiffany that I know so well, would never ever set out to do something so big on her own. We know that this is where God works and moves. Sometimes He asks us to do hard things, to claw for that daily obedience after the initial yes, with no reality of that yes manifesting itself.
Sometimes He makes us wait inside the gap, and sometimes the wait is long.
The scariest part of the journey comes after the yes. Sure the journey begins when one courageously surrenders that yes and takes the leap of faith. Absolutely that is hard and scary, but to be suspended in the gap after the yes is frightening. It's a painful place to be to be caught between your yes and the dream of that yes becoming a reality. It is in this chasm that the enemy slips in, and we must guard our hearts. But it is also inside this chasm of the unfulfilled yes, that I think God intentionally backs us into, in order that we might see that there is no way for our yes to be fulfilled except from Him. Our desperation is just a way to set the stage for God to finish what He started in miraculous ways that only He can.
That's where I am right now - where my family is - inside the chasm between the yes and the fulfillment of that yes -we are waiting - wandering aimlessly in the dessert desperate for that Promise Land. But while we wait, I have to believe that God is working behind the scenes - in our hearts and on the details of the yes. We are in some kind of supernatural holding pattern. Somedays I am okay with that, and I am intentional about enjoying the here and now and building the Kingdom from here. Other days I am discouraged and confused and fearful and doubtful, and both kinds of days are okay. God can handle my questions and concerns and loves me through them. I am learning that every yes, every dream, has difficulties, and during this time where we wait, God is preparing us. I now believe that a year ago, our hearts weren't ready for the unknown reality of what lies ahead in Africa. Today, a year later, I believe that although we are not there yet, we are much more prepared for our future life. It is in this delay that our faith has been tested and we have grown. We have had to learn how to better respond to pressure, to stress, the unexpected, and disappointments, and how to continue striving for that daily obedience to our Jesus. All things that we will need in order to survive in Ethiopia.Things that I now believe we had to go through this past year, here, before we move there.
We are not alone in this waiting period. There are so many examples of Biblical precedent to where we find ourselves.The Egyptians always come to mind. When we say yes to God, there is no easy guarantee, there is a promise that we will never be alone and that God's way will always be best, but most likely it will not be easy. Saying yes, puts the reigns firmly in God's hands. I've surrendered control and yielded to Him. My yes offers everything back to Him - even this moment right here between the yes and the fulfillment of that yes - the in-between - He has it all. He's here now, in the in-between, and wants to do more with this than I could ever imagine. I trust that - even when it is hard.
A recent family photo - thanks to my sweet friend, T!