While the last two weeks have been filled with all kinds of grace and joy and encouragement and good things, there has been a painful undercurrent through it all. The kind that seeps up in every quiet moment, dwells on my heart throughout the silent nights, hurts all the same despite the rush.
He came over one Saturday morning two weeks ago, said God told him to go to Port-au-Prince, and that he is leaving. I wish there was more to the story than that, but there isn't. There is nothing else at all
...aside from my myriad of emotions.
Of course, the first things you think of are the first things we thought of two weeks ago when he told us.
He CAN'T leave.
There's too much great stuff happening!
He's involved in so much!
What about Fev?
What about Paulcine's?
What about the Beautiful Feet discipleship happening every day?
What about the brand new computer lab being installed NEXT WEEK for him to run?
What about all his IT responsibilities?
What about all of these relationships?
What about Lily, Sofie, and Nora?
What about me?
Trust me, I've thought of it. And I'm still muddling around in the seven stages of grief in a big way, ever aware of how desperately I want to control the situation.
Shock, right out the gate, followed closely by denial. He can't go, there's much to be done, he's our family, he has too many commitments, Emmaus is his family, God is right smack in the middle of using Him. Like, right now!
I told him all that. He said he was leaving in two weeks.
So I moved into anger. What about all that we have been and done together as family? What about all there is to do? Who is now going to do all of that? What about all he said he would? What about my kids, who love him dearly, what about family?
He handed in his two weeks notice.
So I tried bargaining, with June and with Our Father, which has involved lots of tears. Stay just until summer. Help us understand. What would it take to get him to stay? What more could we possibly do?? Please. Don't.
Friday is his last day. Like, tomorrow.
So now I'm dwelling in the depression stage that they say comes before acceptance. Accepting that I can't control anyone. Anything. I can't control June. Can't make him stay. Can't make him do. Can't make him anything.
Accepting that ultimately God is in control, and that He's bigger than this. That God is bigger than June. Bigger than the gaps. That God will provide, that He is enough, that it will all be ok. That God's into redeeming.
I'm working on that.
But for now, I'm just sad.
The last six years of life and ministry in Haiti have included a lot of June. And that's something I never wanted to change.
Family vacation, Junior's been there. Sharing the gospel across the street, across town, June's been there. Teaching my children how to cut coconuts, how to ride bikes. Helping our students learn how to use their computers, use the internet. Friday night movies, brainstorming ministry sessions, teaching classes, Sunday morning worship, helping Lily with her French homework, reminding me over and over again what a life abandoned to God looks like, showing me over and over again how sharing the Gospel doesn't have to be complicated or perfect or eloquent...just DONE.
It's the very thing we have loved about June--that when he feels like he should go, he GOES--that I am now hating, now hurting.
I'd hoped to minister in Haiti alongside this brother until the very end. It challenges all of us, staff and students and family alike, to head out in faithful ministry sans Junior.
We all have hopes, don't we. And lots of those hopes are good good things.
But ultimately, this is reminding me that my hope lies in Christ alone.
We aren't promised certain outcomes, certain people, certain futures. We're promised abundant Christ, and every struggle that draws us close to this reality must be lifted as praise.
So? Praising the Lord for Junior today, and praising the Lord for the family he has been to me, to Matt, to our children, to our friends and family here. Praising the Lord that He holds his future, and ours, and that the loss of June doesn't in any way affect God's faithfulness. Praising the Lord for this heartbreak, for this struggle, for the many gaps that now need filled, that He might fill them and fill us daily with His Abundant Self.
Praise the Lord for struggle, as it draws us close to He Who Never Leaves.