|Me on top of Lingira "mountain" - the hill that runs along the middle of my home island.|
(Please note: The following contains raw honesty and though it may not look all pretty or what a "missionary" should be feeling or thinking, it is what I am passing through right now. So, bear with me. ;) )
When we are young, the future possibilities stretch out before us as far and as wide as the many years that lie ahead. Our young dreams focus on what we might be or achieve one day, whom we might one day call our own, where we will settle, and what we will name our children. As I was growing, I, too, had expectations and hopes in each of these areas.
However, expectations are wishes cast upon an unforeseen future. Some come to fruition, while others are "lost at sea." My expectations versus God's expectations - they can be drastically different from each other.
I expected to be married by now.
I expected to have had children - by now.
I expected to be "settled" in the life every young girl dreams of - with a family and living in a cute house, right next door to my beloved sister and her family.
I expected to still be close in proximity and relationship with each of the dear friends with whom I grew up.
I expected to be right there - seeing and actively participating in each new season of my friends' lives - dating, marriage, family, children.
I expected to be a close and doting "auntie" to the aforementioned little ones.
I didn't expect to live in a foreign country.
I didn't expect to be so far from much-loved family and friends for extended periods of time.
I didn't expect to not live in or be near my beloved hometown with its amazing quirks and qualities and lovely, friendly people.
I didn't expect to become accustomed to cold showers, scurrying rats and other critters, the endless battle with dirt, and the ongoing struggle with always feeling a bit "out of place."
I didn't expect the ongoing, daily struggle with my weaknesses, my humanity, my besetting sins and habits for days, weeks and years.
I expected to be more mature by now.
I didn't expect that God would take me away to a little remote island far away from all I held close so I could know Him more deeply and intimately.
I didn't expect to experience grace in so many diverse and indescribable ways.
I didn't expect He would take me away from my "comfort zone," so I might better learn forgiveness, freedom, and trust.
I didn't expect to be a witness to God's incredible and active work in a different corner of the world.
I didn't expect to meet and build precious friendships with so many people of different nationalities and backgrounds.
I didn't expect to encounter, learn from and come to value diverse cultures and different "ways of doing things."
I didn't expect to see such incredible, awe-inducing beauty, amazing places, and obvious evidences of God's creativity, power and majesty.
I didn't expect to be actively serving in areas I am so passionate about - youth, discipleship, teaching the Word of God, and communication.
I didn't expect the immense joy of walking alongside another as they discover and embrace God's incredible love and His marvelous plans for them.
I didn't expect to be forced to face and fight the dark, deceptive and enslaving ways of Satan.
I didn't expect to see the practice and results of witchcraft in such tangible ways.
I didn't expect to see God's light shine so brilliantly and pervasively in a darkened part of Uganda.
I didn't expect to see lives radically transformed, families miraculously restored, students given new hope, and people set on fire and on mission with God.
I didn't expect that I would thrill to see and be a part of God's ages-long, world-wide, love-sustained campaign to bring long-lost, "walking dead" rebels back to Himself - from every tongue and tribe and nation.
I didn't expect that I would not want to live any other life, serving any other God, choosing His expectations over my own, laying aside my childhood dreams for something much, much better.
I didn't expect that Gods plans and expectations would yes, be so different than mine, but above and beyond what I could think or even imagine.
"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him." - Psalm 62:5
"Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." - Proverbs 19:21