Monday, May 4, 2015

The Venn Diagram: Between what was and what will be . . .

Anyone recognize this?

Yes.  This is a Venn Diagram, that ever-so-helpful tool that we all learned how to use in 2nd grade for identifying and displaying similarities and differences between objects, ideas, people, etc.

With two months left here in New Zealand, I feel as though my life is a grand Venn diagram.  Future marriage and ministry in the United States lay on one side, while the past four years of life here in New Zealand lay on the other.  My current reality occupies the space in the middle.

Somewhere between what was and what will be is, well. . . what is.

It is in this middle space where you will find me between a "hello" and a "good-bye", between the "Land of the Long White Cloud" and the "Home on the Range".  My inner self churns like the perfect storm, full of delightful anticipation of the future, yet grief-stricken as I bid farewell to the past.

Transitioning out of Aotearoa and into America is like simultaneously dwelling in two parallel universes.  I'm a bit at a loss for words, really.  Fellow missionaries and expats will understand that to say things feel "bittersweet" would be the understatement of the century.  Being a "square peg in  around hole" isn't quite adequate.

I am making plans and taking steps toward the next chapter in my life,  while the current chapter is still being written. I am making decisions as if I were living in Kansas City, while still residing in New Zealand.  Likewise, I am making decisions here in New Zealand that will affect life after I leave, some of which I will never see the fruit or consequences.

Discombobulating?  Yes.   Frustrating?  Yes.  Difficult? Yes.

Worth it?  YES!

Amidst the emotional turmoil involved in making the change, there is abiding peace and overflowing joy.  God has called me and blessed me beyond words!  Marriage and eventual motherhood await.  Ministry will take on a new shape and reunions with old friends and family members will be sweet.

In all of this, I see a snapshot of the Kingdom of God.  Disciples of Jesus Christ find themselves in a similar situation, caught between two overlapping kingdoms:  the earthly kingdom and the heavenly kingdom.  We strive to operate according to God's principles which drive the heavenly kingdom, while still residing here on earth.   We don't quite fit in with the world, yet are called to live in it, love it, and sacrifice for it, just as Jesus did.

  There is a subtle restlessness that remains inside each one of us, something that whispers, "This is not my real home; I'm just passing through. .." The Bible tells us that the "Kingdom of God has come", because Jesus is present all over the world through his Holy Spirit. And yet, this kingdom is not yet complete, because the power of sin is still active in the world for a little while longer.  We dwell in the "now, but not yet."

Only God can help us to live within this creative tension effectively.  It is a fine art, one that only He can teach us to perfect.  I guess perfecting the art of living well and loving well wherever we are on life's Venn Diagram is what walking with Jesus is all about.

Somewhere between what was and what will be is what is.

Lord, let me trust you here.

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