Today’s blogger is Anna VanEaton. God has given Anna a mission field to being a counselor in an outpatient clinic. She has been counseling/mentoring for over 18 years. She has the delight of working with a MD that is a Jesus lover, and their care for people has Jesus at the center. This is the final post in her series on God’s Sovereignty.
Through the process that God has moved us over the last 5 months, my husband and I have been learning a number of things about ourselves and our relationship to Him, as well as our horizontal relationships. Being in New England after living in Tennessee for 18 years certainly was a culture shift. Many adjustments had to be made as we endeavored to live and work in the Boston area.
One of the first things we are learning is thankfulness. Just prior to our move, a mammogram found a suspicious place on one of my breasts. Immediately after we moved, I was confronted with more tests and an ultrasound guided biopsy that would make a formal diagnosis. It was three weeks before we heard the good news that it was not cancer.
Through this ordeal, we were pretty much on our own in New England. We had no tangible support from the few acquaintances that we had made. We truly felt alone. But God was faithful, and through our brothers and sisters here in Tennessee, He lavished on us very warm loving care and concern through numerous phone calls and emails. We felt like they were right there with us. We knew they were praying for us. Now that we are back, our hearts overflow with thankfulness for these dear ones and for the joy of communing with them once again.
Something else that God has been gracious to give us throughout these past months is joy. Throughout the time we were in the Northeast, while we had not been able to build close relationships, we found ourselves leaning more and more on the joy that it is to know Christ as our all sufficient and satisfying treasure.
My husband faced a daily commute, forty-five miles each way, which usually took one and a half hours to and from work. There were days when it took up to 3 hours one way due to weather or accidents etc. Because he was confined to the car for such long periods of time, he began to listen to D. Martyn Lloyd Jones’ exegesis of Ephesians. He has grown in his love for what God has done through Christ on our behalf, and the joy that has produced is tangible.
Personally, I experienced some losses in all of this as well, from the broken dishes, to the nicked up furniture, to my broken Dyson vacuum cleaner, to the things we gave away or sold before we left, to the things we had to leave behind in Boston, to the 18 years of accrued Major Medical leave. I lost my husband for 5 months as his commute and work consumed him. I also lost a sense of body life with regard to the Church. Yet, 1 Peter 1:3-9 remains true and a solid resting place for our joy.
We have also been learning patience. As I noted in the first of these blogs, we knew after a few months that we had made the “wrong” decision. Once that became evident, even though the blessings that have transpired to bring us back to Tennessee happened fairly quickly, it seemed like it took a long time to actually get back here. God is helping us to learn that his timing is perfect and always right on time, regardless of how slow or difficult things seem to be. 2 Peter 3:9 is a sweet verse. Praise the Lord that He is patient.
Finally, God is teaching us that he is the rock and preserving force of our salvation. The stresses of leaving jobs that we had worked for 18+ years, moving, starting new jobs, leaving those jobs and moving again, all add up and can have detrimental effects spiritually, physically, emotionally and relationally. Through the experiences of the last 5 months, God has been faithful to both me and my husband by preserving us faithful to Him and to each other. I can say that our marriage is stronger, by the grace of God, because of our unorthodox rabbit trail of the last few months. But better still, I can say that our relationship with God has grown stronger and more vibrant as well. Philippians 1:6 and 2:13 have taken on a new reality for us, and by the grace of God we will continue to realize what He is accomplishing by taking us northward and back again. Let God be magnified.