I've been crying a lot since I came to France, but never for the reasons one would expect. You see, people praying and worshipping in other languages makes me cry. Just imagine trying to get through a church service entirely in French! And when I pray for the people of France to know Him? I cry. Because I want them to know Him so bad. And when I dream of what God might want to do in this country, what they've needed for so long, I cry, because it is so merciful of Him. And perhaps all this seems normal to you, but it's not for me. I'm not a crier, and I laugh as I write this because it seems like there have been a lot of tears in my life for the last year, and so probably no one believes me anymore when I say that.
Sometimes being in France makes so much sense. Sometimes I feel like God made me just for this. But then, other times I feel so inadequate, like there would be someone else who is so much better at this that God could have sent instead. Like maybe someone who is good at small talk and speaks French.
One of the best things about fundraising was the fact that when people gave money to the ministry, I knew that they would also most likely invest with prayer. And that is such a comforting thought to me, because ministry in France is so hard. I need prayer, and every single person I come across needs prayer. It's a burden too great for me to bear. Indeed, it's a burden that I'm not meant to bear alone. Living in France is hard. But it is so good, and I wouldn't change any of it for anything. I'm so glad that it's hard. I'm so glad that it's too much for me to handle. I'm so glad that I'm in way over my head, because these are the circumstances that God loves best to display His glory and power, and I want to see that so desperately.
The last several days God brought me nearer the Refiner's Fire. I don't quite know what to say when people ask me what I did over the weekend, because quite honestly I spent nearly the entire time (except for church and skyping my family) locked in my room with Him. How do you explain that to someone who would claim that God does not exist? It's crazy even for many who believe in Him. But it was so much better than anything I could have dreamed up myself.
He allowed me to better understand Himself and the gospel, and it was so sweet and convicting. When I look at Him, it is so obvious to me that I do not and cannot add up. I try so hard, but I cannot even comprehend what He has done for me. What levels He has stooped to in order to rescue me! What humility He had in Himself to die, for me! What grace, what mercy, what love. And now, that I can be with Him, that He can look at me and call me 'beautiful' because He has dressed me in His Son.... To know that it is not anything that I have done or can do, and that His love for me is not dependent on my actions or goodness. I am so humbled. I am so unfit for the Kingdom. I was clothed in filthy rags, but the story doesn't have to end there. I can never measure up, but I don't have to anymore. That reality makes me yearn to serve Him and worship Him more than anything else. Yes, He brought me nearer the Refiner's Fire, and I think I've decided to camp out there for good. Of course, that doesn't mean I am to pitch my tent. But if the Fire moves, I'm moving with Him!
|I love that I see Fall when I look out my window|
He's teaching me just to be with Him. He's teaching me that I don't have to perform in order to bring Him pleasure. He already looks at me with love in His eyes, and that's all the motivation I need. But oh, just to sit with Him. Just to walk with Him. Just to be with Him.... You'll never understand until you have tried it.
So, "How is life in France?" you ask me. Hard. Because they don't love Him. Tearful. For so many reasons. Overwhelming. Because there are so many who need to know Him. But never lonely, because He is with me. Never bad, because He is with me. Never too much, because He is with me. I have peace, and joy, and love, and stability, and kindness.... all because He is with me. Don't worry about me, just pray that here in France, we'll come to know Him. Some of us will come to know Him more. And some will come to know Him for the very first time. I smile at the thought.
“You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes, With a single strand of your necklace.” (Song of Solomon 4:9)