–Originally published on FWB21 December 10, 2012–
For the past three years, we have been living in a near-constant state of transition. After we returned from Spain, at no point in time did we ever expect to be in the U.S. for more than six months. A year seemed unfathomable. But after every few months, we were delayed again… and again. So here we are, almost three years later… still in transition, waiting for our visas so we can depart for a new area of Spain.
Looking back over the past three years, there are a number of things we would have done differently had we known that we’d be here for such an extended period of time. But I think that’s part of what God wanted to teach us during this season.
First, because of our expected imminent departure, we held off on large or unnecessary purchases–a second car, a new computer, a fence for the back yard, and on and on. Spending money on something that would be otherwise reasonable seemed like a waste to use it only for a short time. And you know what? We managed just fine without those things. (Though having only one vehicle was challenging at times, and using a slow computer more than frustrating.) God has been breaking the hold materialism had on us. And it’s given us a new perspective on temporal things.
Second, like the first, we tried to buy only what we expected to use so that nothing would go to waste. Having a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator are nigh impossible when living in transition. Grocery shopping and buying in bulk look different when you can only buy for the short-term. Every run to the grocery store is a reminder that we’ll not be here long.
Third, because we expected to be leaving the country soon, we poured ourselves into family relationships, making the most of every moment together. Had we known that our departure would have taken this long, we probably would have taken those times for granted and been less intentional about connecting and enjoying the blessings of family. I’m so thankful God gave us the gift of those moments and memories with our families!
Fourth, because we expected our stay to be a short one, we didn’t intentionally plan any kind of personal ministry. We simply walked in the Spirit, seeking to obey God at every step, and we saw God open the door to some incredible ministry opportunities for which we were perfectly gifted. Instead of being bogged down with responsibilities pulling us five different directions, our family was free to follow God’s leading into these new areas. And we got to watch as God did some cool things in the process.
God has been using this time of extended transition to remind us that we are strangers and pilgrims on this earth, and we live as a kingdom of priests to our God. Our home is not here, and neither are our treasures. We live looking forward, to the place we’ve heard about but never seen with our eyes. May we never lose that perspective.