So I kept working, even though I knew it would look a lot like failing. Stumbling around blind, listening and feeling and smelling for the promised land. Knowing it could be just around the corner, or miles and miles away.
It's only been this year, this beautiful fresh 2014, that I've had any revelation about why I'm writing this book. I see now that being abroad has made our marriage untraditional and untied to American culture. I see how healthy it's been to be away, building a foundation in a hard environment. Most importantly, I see where my strength lies: in holding up a mirror to my country and culture. In giving perspective.
Through keeping me in the dark, God equipped me to do this. If I had known anything about marriage when he first called me to write, I would have just written that. It would have been boring, and similar to every other marriage book out there. But thankfully I didn't know a thing. I wasn't even married at the time. I had to go through it all, and I had to pay attention, processing and questioning everything. I had to discover for myself what made a marriage here in Kosovo any different from one in America. Without God's direction, I might not have noticed. I certainly wouldn't have seen the need to write and share it with the world.
But now, I do. Beyond that, I see the need to walk out God's call, even when we don't understand it.
Friends, this is one of the things that makes Christianity so hard. We can easily believe that God wants what's best for us, but when that plan involves keeping us in the dark for a time, we're quick to jump ship. We refuse to trust that God will come through. We long for control, knowledge, and a solid plan.
Unfortunately for our prides, God doesn't work on our terms. He works with faith and obedient hearts. In the Bible, we get a retrospective look at so many of his plans—consider Abraham, Esther, and Paul—but today, we're mostly in the middle of them. We don't yet know the end of our stories. God might throw a curveball into our carefully controlled lives. Today's failure might be a stepping stone to tomorrow's success. Things will inevitably turn out different than we imagined them.
We can only continue walking through the dark, trusting that the Light will come through.
I cannot stress enough the importance of being obedient to God, of walking forward in your calling (i.e. showing up where God put you and doing the work) even if you can't see where any of it is leading. There is so much blessing in this path. There is so much to learn as you lean on Jesus, and so much excess pride to be scraped away. And always, there is the 'aha' moment at the end, where God shows you just how good his plan was all along.
Lately, these revelations have been hitting me right and left. I simply cannot believe how well God has orchestrated this, and that he chose to use me—little unqualified me—to write for him. It's incredible.
God always wants to use you—to grow you, to bless the people around you, and to bring himself glory. Ask him where he wants you to go, who he wants you to love, how he wants you to work. Then, go and do it. Even if it doesn't make sense. Even if you're groping around in the dark for a while. Because God chooses "what the world considers foolish to shame the wise...and what the world considers weak to shame the strong" (1 Cor. 1:27).
Surely he will bless our foolish attempts, our weak efforts. Surely he will show himself strong, his plans wise.
May you trust Him,