Monday, February 4, 2013

When God Says "Stay"

Yesterday I was rocking out to my oh-so-hip Audio Adrenaline Pandora station, and the theme seemed to be "go." I listened to the lyrics about going wherever God calls, looked down at the sink of dirty dishes I was washing, and thought, "But what about when God says to stay?"

I love going. I love to travel, I love experiencing different cultures, learning new languages, and meeting new people. In general, I love big, scary changes that challenge me (as much as I might moan about them in the moment). A few weeks ago, some new missionaries spoke at church about being called to France. They wanted to follow God's leading, but until He made it very clear this is what they were to do, they had no burning desire to actually go anywhere. I, on the other hand, am filled with wanderlust. I found myself thinking, "Hey, I'll be a missionary to France!" (or Africa, or Toronto, or Antarctica, or wherever...) I would love to go somewhere new and try a brand new way of life. I've always felt closest to God when I am immersed in work for Him, especially on a 24- hour basis (read: camp), and my life has always felt so full during those times. Surely that is what it is like to be a missionary, right? (Note: this was my idealized thought process and in no way reflects reality for missionaries the world over.)

There have been times when God has told me to go. God told me to go to a small camp in Virginia to run the waterfront when I was 19, and then blessed me with three wonderful summers of spiritual growth and ministry opportunities. God sent me to the mountains of Alabama, where five years ago I saved D's life and fell in love. Most recently, God sent me to a new city, along with my husband and then-two-week-old baby. God has told me to go for a new job, go for a new friend, go for family, and, always, go for Him.

Now, my message is to stay.

Stay home, manage the house. Make doctor's appointments and grocery lists. Mend clothes. Bake cookies. Divide my time between laundry, dishes, sweeping, tidying, paying bills, cooking meals, and running errands. Repeat daily, if not more often.

Stay home with Samantha. Change diapers, wash diapers, fold diapers. Feed the baby. Bathe the baby. Put her down for naps. Comfort her when she cries. Make her laugh. Love on her endlessly.

Stay with D. The physical logistics of this have never been in question, but the emotional part but can sometimes be a bit hazier. But God says stay with D in my heart. Stay connected, stay interested, stay engaged. Stay passionate when I feel haggard. Stay attentive when I am distracted. Stay emotionally faithful to the man who works so hard for our family.

To me, today, God has said stay. Stay and I will bless you with a loving family. Stay and I will show you a strong church family. Stay and I will provide for you, even when things seem bleak.

The more I think about it, the more I know that God is with me whether I stay or go, because He will never leave us nor forsake us. But in this less-than-glamorous time of my life, I am starting to realize that I will not be with Him unless I listen, obey, and stay.