Sustained: A Year in Review

A year ago right now (10 pm on 9 Oct) we were waiting for the last flight of our journey to our new city.  We sat in the domestic terminal at the airport in the capital exhausted and completely uncertain what was on the other side of that last flight.  A few hours later we arrived in the dark in a city that feels a lot more natural and normal (in it’s own not quite right way) than it did upon first inspection.

I’ve thought and prayed a lot over the past month or so about what I would write for this post.  How do we sum up this year, this incredibly momentous year, in one (or even two) posts?  I came to the realization that I can sum up this year in one simple word: SUSTAINED.  Throughout this year we have said to others and each other how God has sustained us. He has brought us minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day through this year.  We have lived on His strength and His ability and not our own.  He has made it possible for us to continue when we were running on empty on our own (which has been a good chunk of the past twelve months).

We have an incredible group of people committed to praying for our family.  I thought I was going to share how God has answered some of our prayer requests over the past year and realized that it would take multiple posts to put it together, so instead I’m going to share how God has answered the prayers of the scripture we’ve asked our team to pray over our family.  Every month God has given me scripture to include in our prayer requests and every month He has used that scripture in our lives.

God has given us the ability to trust Him and depend on Him (Is. 26:3-4, Prov. 3:5-6).  He has given us courage, upheld us, and calmed our fears (Is. 41:5-10).  God has worked in and through each of us to help us see areas of weakness and increase our compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, joy, goodness, peace, faithfulness, and self-control (Col. 3:12-15, Gal. 5:19-26, Eph. 6:1-4).  He has encouraged us to capture negative thoughts, turn our thoughts to Him, and throw off ugly, hindering things in our lives (Col. 3, 2 Cor. 10:3-8). God gave us a hill to remind us that our help comes from Him, that He is protecting us, and that He fights for us (Ps. 121, 2 Cor. 10).

God has renewed us, healed us, been compassionate toward us, and incredibly faithful (Ps. 103). God has listened to us, answered us, delivered us from fear and trouble, and been near to us in times of brokenness (Ps. 34).  He heard our prayers during difficult nights and answered (Ps. 4).  He has helped us to understand what it really means to leave tomorrow for tomorrow and be focused on today. He has provided for us and calmed all concerns about money (Matt. 6:25-34).  On our hardest days we know that the Holy Spirit was interceding with groans for us because nothing else would do.  We have admitted our weaknesses and been shown hope even on the darkest of days.  God has continually worked in and through us and we know nothing can separate us from Him or His love (Rom. 8:18-39).

We have been able to continually go to God in prayer, rejoice in what He is doing, look for the good, and cling to Him with all our might (2 Thess. 5:16-25).  We have always been able to go back to the calling God put on our lives and He has given us a spirit of power, love, and sound judgment and not fear (2 Tim. 1:7-10).  We do not boast in ourselves, but we boast in God and what He has done (2. Cor. 10).  And we can say with absolute certainty that God has been our shield, the lifter of our heads, our source of sleep and rest, and our SUSTAINER for this incredible, life-altering year (Ps. 3:3-5).

I look over all of this and think about the months of sleep issues we had with Samuel, my difficult post-partum recovery (that continues even 8 months later), the homesickness, the darkness we experience because of where we live, the insecurity we experience being in a new place and building a new life, and the myriad fears we’ve fought. I also think about monkeys and the botanic garden and chicken butter masala and the wet market and “Auntie” and our team and our church and how in the evening there’s a lovely breeze that brings the smell of the ocean wafting this way and the all the amazing things Toffer tells us about when he’s returned from a trip. We’ve come a long way and I am thankful for this year-the good, the bad, and the ugly-and am so very thankful that God has sustained us and brought us through. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! To Chili’s we go to celebrate!