“So, I get how a man would give it all up and head out on this big adventure, “ he said,
“But why would a woman do that?”
We were sitting in the back corner of a little falafel/shwarma shop in Jerusalem eating French fries while the boys and their new friend sat at the bar, along a plaster covered stone wall, laughing and talking.
Photo Credit: Isaac Stone www.internationalbrofari.com
He was a man alone in the country with his son and a dissertation that needed finishing.
Curiously, he waited for my answer while the first thought that crossed my mind was a mix of “Yeah, this IS crazy!!” and “My family is here. Where else WOULD I be?”
Then I remembered a conversation we had had when Brian and I were first married. Like 2 days married and we were heading away from everything I’d ever known into the wild unknowns of southern California and he was unsure if I was going to make it.
“Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following you. For wherever you go, I will go. And where you live? I will live. Your people will be my people. Where else could I be but where you are?”
Photo Credit: Isaac Stone www.internationalbrofari.com
I’ve repeated that sentiment almost word for word several times through the years. Each time meaning it more deeply and more sincerely than I did before.
My answer was quick and sure. I’ve practiced it for years.
Taking a quick breath, I repeated to our new friend what I had said to Brian a few months before.
“I don’t have enough faith to not be here. Where else could I possibly be but with him and our children on the biggest adventure of our life?”
At which point, he laughingly suggested I start an international women’s ministry to encourage women to be willing to follow their husband’s lead.
Brian and I laughed too, because, honestly?
It only sounds easy when you’re eating falafels and drinking Coke from a small bottle after a long day traipsing through a foreign city and standing for an hour on a crowded bus only to find out you are not where you wanted to be and it was a 12 minute train ride if you had gone the right direction.
Through the Old City Wall, Jerusalem = Photo Credit: Isaac Stone www.internationalbrofari.com
Later, looking through pictures taken earlier that same day at a bird observatory near the Knesset, the picture Brian took of a little brown bird in flight reminded me of a song and I smiled at God’s timing.
The Lord knows we struggle. He knows my over-active imagination and anxious thoughts. Even when I make bold statements and then wonder how I’m going to follow through…
“Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart feel lonely and long for heaven and home?”
When all the things that meant I was a good homemaker and caretaker of our family are gone. When all those people I cherish as family or friend live half a world away and I don’t know enough about where we are or what to do to buy food at the local market. When I am alone and afraid. When there is so much new I have lost my firm footing and any foundational truth seems so far away.
Old City Wall, Jerusalem – Photo Credit: Dillon Stone www.internationalbrofari.com
“When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He,”
Those early days, when Psalm 34 and 35 resonated through my soul and Isaiah’s comfort to a lost people surrounded my heart like a warm blanket, I found Him again like He had been found in the very beginning of this walk. But He didn’t just let me be alone with Him. People began to show up. Friends of friends seemingly came from nowhere. An invitation to share a Holy Day in a home where the cookware mirrored the enameled covered cast iron cookware I had given up. The fully stocked kitchen an echo of the full pantry and well-stocked spice shelf I’d sold for pennies in those last days… She hosted us while I stood by awkwardly and did the little tasks in the kitchen that anyone could do.
“His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches over me.”
I’ll be honest. The complete role reversal was a struggle and it could have filled me with frustration at what I lost. Instead, it felt like a whisper of love from Abba as He reassured me,
“Rest, my child, rest. This is not your season to give from your home.
Yom Kippur with new friennds – Photo Credit: Isaac Stone www.internationalbrofari.com
As we sat in the quiet of Sukkot’s first Shabbat (Sabbath), singing, praying, and offering up those things God put on our hearts, joy flooded me in a way I hadn’t thought could be possible a mere two weeks ago. Thankful to my faithful Friend I remembered the rest of that song.
“I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me.”
I don’t know what you are facing today, friend, but I can promise you this; our Messiah is watching you. Despite the glum outlook this world has, He has prepared miracles and provision and joy and hope beyond anything we could ever fabricate for ourselves.
Especially when all the things and circumstances we used to define success and purpose, vision and identity are gone and all that remains are tissue paper pages of an old, old book while joining the cries of the shepherd boy who became king as crying out and wrestling with a weak and fearful heart we are slowly becoming courageous and confident under the undivided attention and tender care of the Creator of the Universe.
Until we can look up and say again,
“Where You go, I will go.”
Looking at the place God has brought us – Photo Credit: Isaac Stone www.internationalbrofari.com
But, this time, we will smile and confidently lean back into the Arms of Grace while we do it. Because we realized that we haven’t left anything important and are on the doorstep of something amazing.