A few weeks ago I had a week that can only be described as H A R D. I was taken down by a sinus infection and I spent 5 days lying on the couch feeling utterly miserable. This physical virus started just a day or so after the emotional virus of homesickness had begun to settle into my bones. Seven months we’ve been living in Canada now & we’ve had some ups & we’ve had some downs. We’ve had some adventures & we’ve had some dilemmas. More often than not my Instagram pictures show the ups & the adventures but life isn’t an Instagram account. You know that, I know that, yet it’s so easy to buy into the filtered images of other people’s glossy looking lives.
Right then my life did not feel glossy & there was no filter that could make me feel better. I was homesick. For the people I love, for the friendships I miss, for the family I adore, for the Aberdeenshire hills that seem to have become a part of my DNA.
Whilst lying on my sick couch I’ve questioned the last 9 months inside out. Why did we come? Why did we give up so much? Did we make a mistake? What was our decision making process? I reached out to friends and family to ask for their prayers and slowly an answer began to form.
Flicking off my 11th episode of Friday Night Lights, (my all time favourite programme!) I decided to review things from my sick couch. This move to Canada always felt right, I always trusted it was God’s plan. So what was the problem? Was I wrong to have trusted God? Was I wrong to believe this was His choice for us?
When we were first married we lived in Germany and since then we’ve always said we wanted to live abroad again. Mutual desire.
We’ve always said we wanted to do it before our eldest was at secondary school. Mutual desire.
These are things we’ve always been on the same page about. As I wept down the phone to my husband, he reminded me of this. Another adventure abroad has always been the desire of our joint heart.
So I forced myself to look back to last December when we got the opportunity to move to Canada. It was such a simple, easy decision. We didn’t toss and turn about it, we didn’t bite our finger nails & argue. We decided in three days, Rob moved two weeks later, me and the kids twelve weeks later.
We had P E A C E.
I had P E A C E.
That’s right, the woman who has suffered with anxiety since I was 12 years old, yet not one day in those twelve weeks did I have anxiety. Stress, yes, anxiety, no. It felt like a miraculous journey. It was the desire of our hearts to travel again and when it came along it was God’s peace that surpasses all understanding that got us here. I knew that at the time and it’s what helped me manage as I spent those twelve weeks packing up our life into cardboard boxes.
So that was our joint desire, but what about me? My hubby had a job to walk straight into, even the kids had new classes at a new school to walk right into. So what about me? The question sounds a selfish one. It’s a concept that most of us mums shy away from in horror. Me? There is allowed to be a Me? However, in this move I have (selfishly or not) allowed myself to think about me. I gave up two new adventures I had been training for to move to Canada and so I had some questions for God about what this new life meant for me.
So here it. The personal desire of my own heart is to serve God. Sounds simple hey?! Not when you don’t know have a clue what that might look like! I love to write. I love to illustrate. I love to advocate for others. I love counselling and I had thought I was about to go down that path, but guess what, my qualifications aren’t valid in Canada!
I’ve worried and stressed that I won’t ever get there, yet it is a desire of my heart and always has been. Again and again I question if it will ever happen. I berate myself that my dreams are too big and I question my motives. Yet people have always told me over the years to hang in there because God will grant us the desires of our hearts.
How I have laboured over this verse! It didn’t settle in my mind as a neat encouragement as it was intended to. Rather, I have struggled with this verse over and over. What if the desires of our heart are wrong & not pleasing to God? Will He grant us these desires? That can’t be possible surely? Yet as wrestled over and over with this verse that morning, with my snotty nose and my overactive tear ducts, an answer began to formulate in my mind.
“God PUTS the desires of our hearts IN our hearts so that He can then GIVE them to us.”
The desires we have that aren’t pleasing to God aren’t desires of our heart but of our flesh. What we need to look for, what we need to discern, are where our desires are coming from. Flesh or heart? If flesh then those desires are not coming from a Godly place. They are coming from our personal desires which aren’t based on God’s word. But know this! If they are the desires of your heart then you can trust that God will bring them to fruition because He keeps His promises to His children.
So Canada. Heart or flesh? Well, we experienced the peace that passes all understanding for three months & when we first got here & I was as homesick as homesick gets, I still everyday felt buoyed by my desire to thank God in everything. Believe me, this did not come from any natural Godly predisposition, but from a well of thankfulness that is not of this world. A N D, we were totally in sync the whole time. We were a team 100%, no matter what difficulty was thrown up. For any married couple a move across the ocean can be a testing time yet we always saw eye to eye. As I look back at what has happened and how I have seen God work, my discernment tells me that this move is well and truly a desire of the heart, which God gave us almost thirteen years ago and which He is answering right now. Yes I’m homesick but I must remember that He has plans. He has plans and I’m waiting (not always patiently), to find out all about them, because aren’t Gods plans always the best ones?
So now I have to discern the desires of my own heart. What are my motivations for serving Him? What are my reasons, my desires? He’ll tell me, as long as I keep asking, stay obedient and come before Him each day. What I do know is that He brought me here for a reason as the answer to one heart desire. In this He has reminded me of His faithfulness, so it’s ok to wait on Him for the next answer.
If you feel like you are in the waiting room, waiting for the answer to your hearts cry, or if you are grappling with what direction you should be going in, then just ask God to show you the desires of your heart and trust that He has got this. The waiting room tends to feel lonely because we feel like we are just sitting in a room all alone, staring at God’s office door. In this room we often think that we ready to go, raring to get started and feel confused about what is holding God back from revealing our next steps.
He’s actually sat in the waiting room with you! He’s got His arm round you, He’s holding your hand. He’s the one waiting! Waiting for us to get discerning. Waiting for us to be ready. I think the waiting room is in fact one of the most important places we can be with God. It’s where He shapes us and perfects us, where He purifies us and moulds us, ready for the next part of the journey.