“My God has not forsaken me nor has He ever left my side.” I keep saying this to myself over and over.
When we finally clicked purchase for five plane tickets back to Canada we finally felt that sense of peace we had been begging God for. For months we were torn and broken knowing deep down what the best decision was, but making it happen was much more than just a click of a button and hop on a plane. It is so much deeper than that and involves three other little people.
We wanted more of an answer so we did not have to live with the feeling we ‘needed to fend for ourselves’ and hope that whatever decision we made was going to be the best one for our family, nor did we want to feel like we took a leap backwards. We took a leap. We pretty much felt like we were playing the “Trust Fall” game with God. Trust. Take a deep breath and then leap.
I can’t always say that my experiences with living in Scotland were even remotely the same to Chris’s, similar yes, we both grew immensely there. Learned so much. Our marriage grew stronger which resulted in a new baby (haha) but in all seriousness, this experience saved us. We both got to know our great God in a much grander and deeper way that we know we simply would not have been able to achieve had we not gone to Scotland in the first place. I feel that there are times the Lord needs to separate us from our usual set ways and shake us up a bit so we direct our attention on Him because ultimately being on here on earth is just a layover. So being back in Canada has us questioning a lot. Our hearts ache being away from what we called home in Edinburgh, but are also enthusiastic about what may come next for us.
To answer the question many of you keep asking us why we moved back, the practical reason is our future-financially; we are limited to working hours based on what Chris’ Visa allowed (strictly no more than 20hrs a week!) which is not easy for a family of five, and UK living is expensive if you can’t work full time. To be fair, my Visa does allow me to work full time but I just can't with three littles. I'd be working to pay for childcare when I can just care for them myself. So often we ask why bring us there is we can even stay, but God’s reasons do not usually match what we see with our natural eyes and this whole experience has been all about this. This makes me all the more curious why God chose to bring us back to Canada and little sooner than expected. There is something more than what our eyes can see.
Over the course of this uprooted experience (starting from early 2015) of our journey, we have gotten to know and understand the root and heart of God. He broke us down, open our eyes to new experiences. Shifted our ways of thinking and chipped away any pride we had and gained humility. He gave us a new lens to see and love His people through His eyes. In that, we experienced many tears, many sobering and angry moments with God. Even more so we have experienced an even greater amount of His love, joy and peace. We gained many friends and more memories to count. We were taught to press in to the word of God. We've learned to love more, learned to be quiet and opened our spiritual ears and eyes. Understood to be okay with change and the hardships that may follow at times and to find happiness in all the circumstances we face in our journey (James 1:2,3,4), but most importantly we've truly experienced God throughout it. He is more tangible than we ever thought possible. He is always constant and always intentional. There were plenty of challenges but when the good came, it was incredible! I know God wants us to walk in this journey feeling rewarded and glad to have gone and are still going. We've been very blessed and I am so grateful that God chose us to go on this journey with Him.
Now that we are back on Canadian soil, here are some things I feel we need to focus on.
Rest: Psalm 4:8 (GNT) When I lie down, I go to sleep in peace; you alone, O Lord, keep me perfectly safe.
In this new season I feel God is asking us to “rest”. Which can be a hard one to grip in this day and age when the world often teaches us that rest is lazy so keep yourselves busy doing things, but felt strongly the Lord say to me this is not the case. For me personally I feel the Lord
wants me to focus on my family, on my girls. I didn’t quite understand what that would look like as I thought that I was already doing that, but to keep it short we have decided to homeschool the girls. I know that doesn’t sound restful but we needed to rest certain giftings so we can strengthen other areas of giftings we have (fruits/giftings of the spirit Galatians 5:22-23). Our two older daughters are very sensitive in different ways and they don’t understand always why we move around and leave people we love behind and their sensitivity shows in really rough ways, for example, they sometimes show a fear of abandonment which I really feel God wants us to rebuke and pray against that fear in Jesus name! This is a sensitive time for the girls where they need us around in a deeper way. our children are fighting a spiritual battle and we need to fight it for them. They need us to reassure them they are loved and cared for and have not been forsaken.
Be expectant: Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord: be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
As we are in this season of rest, I felt the Lord remind me to stay expectant and be ready. Just because this transition happened differently than expected, He is reminding me that this is just the trajectory. He speaks to us in the quiet and in the waiting, we need to only be expectant.
Open our spiritual eyes: Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling
Sometimes what we see with our natural eyes might be blocking what we need to be seeing with our spiritual eyes. He doesn’t want us to miss out. I will be honest that I had some fear with moving back knowing that we went through so much hard work physically, spiritually and emotionally to get to where we are now in our walk with God and I wanted to protect that. We are not the people we were when we left and I find myself saying this over and over, not for validation from anyone but for my own reminder that we have grown in Jesus Christ and it was not for nothing. It dawned on me just this week, that I needed to come in with fresh eyes, and learn to see what God wants me to see in this season.
Listen for what God is saying: Psalm 5:3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
As we wait and rest in the Lord, we quiet ourselves and be expectant for what He is saying to and over us. If we are so busy and filling our minds, eyes and ears with rubbish and too busy to notice then we can’t expect to know what He is saying and when we can’t hear what He is saying we get confused and frustrated. Stop clogging up the connection.
I have appreciated all the messages and emails from friends asking how we are doing being back.
Being around family is such a gift, it truly is. We experienced quite a bit of loss while living abroad has made me appreciate the family I have that much more. For the first time in around 15 years my sister and I lived under the same roof as they also moved back after living in Guatemala for 6 years, with our families at our mom and dad’s house. Yes, we had 10 people living in one 3-bedroom house for two months. It was crowded but cozy, and loud but such a gift to hear the sounds of four cousins playing together (often like siblings). However, three different families, all independent, all used to having their own ways of doing life, and somehow we blended, not always easy, but it just worked. Chris is still trying to find job, find a vehicle more suitable for a family of 5, and find our own place, and for some reason we still have none of those things of our own, but somehow, we still have everything we need!
While my sister and her family have since moved and onto their next adventure so things have quieted down here again. However, this kind of quite is not easy.
The realities of what our family life looks like right now is not exactly how we pictured things at this stage of our lives and to be totally honest sometimes that doubt sneaks in and feeds us lies that make us regret going in the first because life would have been easier…but would it really have been easier? But we serve a good, good God who sees vastly beyond what we do. I love that He knows my love language and cares for our needs and cares for my prophetic giftings enough and allows me to see pictures of what He is up to at times. He confirms with me that we are exactly where He wants us and reminds me that all this is part of the process. One day we will look back on this part of our walk and wonder why we were even worried. There was something we needed in Scotland (beyond Chris getting his Ph.D) that we could not get in Canada and now have brought that back here with us so I am excited to see what that will look like!
Overall, we are settling in. Figuring things out day by day. But we are happy.
Ephesians 3:14-19 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Thanks for reading,