It's Monday afternoon and we are out for our weekly nature study.
After a very "monday-ish" Monday it is necessary to get all of us out of the house and into the fresh air.
I hope maybe it will lift the dark cloud everyone seems to be under.
We find a road on the University campus we've not walked before and decide to follow it wherever it will lead.
My mind and heart are full.
Maybe everyone has been feeling my heavy mood today and feeding off of it?
It is entirely possible.
It is dry season and we are never sure what we will find growing.
The weather here right now feels much like I've felt over this past year -- dry and shriveled.
We pass a huge termite mound and the girls enjoy trying to see if anyone is home.
On the other side of the road is a field.
Most of the undergrowth is brown and papery.
As this is the tropics, there is always some grass and weeds growing, but then I see a spot of fire in an otherwise plain clearing.
It is a lily, and the moment I see it, I'm transported to another day long ago, a day when I felt many of the same emotions churn in my soul.
We had been in Ghana just a few months, and we were deep in culture shock.
God chose deep immersion for us, and I felt as if I was drowning.
I was overwhelmed by everything - the culture, the climate, the language, the food, the relationships, the enormity of the task before us, but most of all, my own sinfulness.
A wise woman told Isobel Kuhn that when she reached the mission field, "all the scum of your nature will rise to the top."
I was seeing that truth unfold in me just as it had in Isobel, and I felt hopeless.
God in His love and sovereignty was allowing me to see myself for who I truly was, but all I wanted to do was run and hide.
One afternoon John thought it would be good to get out of our tiny apartment and try to practice our language skills and so we walked to an area where we had met some people.
They weren't home, and so after trying to greet a few new people we started the long walk home another way.
I don't remember us talking much on that long trek back to our community, but I do remember being on the verge of tears most of the time.
God had called me to this life, but I felt as if somebody had failed.
Most of the time, I was positive that it was me, but from time to time a voice would whisper that maybe the one who had messed up wasn't me, but God.
I was alone, my faith was about gone, and I didn't feel I could trust anyone with my secret fears.
And at that moment, God gave me a gift.
Not because He had to, but because He IS good.
We were crossing a bridge on a busy road, and as I looked down into the dirty, smelly gutter next to that bridge, I saw a beautiful red canna lily growing right up out of the sludge.
How could something so brilliant and lovely take root in that horrible place?
The Holy Spirit's gentle whispers brought His words to my mind, "Consider the lilies....."
His truth and His creation gave peace to my soul on that hard, hard day.
He could be trusted.
My mind snaps back to the present.
My family isn't far down the road, so I know I've not mused long, but in that short window of time, God has reminded me of time after time I've felt that I couldn't trust God again.....
when He asked us to trust Him to give birth to our first child on the field with no one to help us and how he provided a hospital, new friends, and a place to stay for free.
when we needed a new place to rent and He provided one for a fifth of what we had been paying for accommodations.
when God convicted me about submitting to my husband, and by His grace helped me to obey Him and in turn God changed John.
when we prayed for many long years for more children and after five years He gave us two more.
when we sought healing for our Lili's heart and instead He gave us doctors and a hospital here in Ghana and all the money we needed to pay for her heart surgery.
when we had people lie about us and betray us and God kept us safe through the storm.
when we needed a car badly, because it was so difficult to use public transportation with a family of six, and He gave us one for exactly the amount someone had gifted us for whatever needs we had.
when our baby church got kicked out of our rented school rooms and God gave us a new and better place on the last day we had.
immigration problems, and paperwork problems, and people in sin, and our own sin problems, and people needing to be saved, and He never failed us once.
I gaze at that orange and yellow flower flaming at my feet, and one of the verses that God gave us when He called us to Ghana settles in my mind....
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.It is enough.
He can be trusted.
I run to join my family with trust ignited anew in my soul.