This weekend I had the incredible blessing of attending my church’s women’s retreat in Estes Park. For the last two days, I have “lived” in a beautiful cabin in the mountains with some of the most Godly women I know.
Yesterday, after a full day of hiking, relaxing, cooking, worshiping, and talking, we ended our day in a group prayer session in the living room. And as I sat praying on the floor, surrounded by my spiritual sisters, it hit me.
I LOVE my life.
Had you asked me if I was really, truly happy this time last year, the answer likely would have been no. I was licking wounds left by a rough break up, I lacked a support system, and had built my faith on an incredibly shaky foundation. I didn’t have a community of believers around me (Heck, I didn’t really have a community around me at all) and I had just moved back to the city after a year of living in my personal hell on earth– AKA “the suburbs”.
But now, a year later, most everything is different.
God has restored my life in so many miraculous ways that I still can’t comprehend. I have a small, but beautiful studio in the exact neighborhood that I wanted to live. I am working in my “dream job” at the Denver Street School. I have a great group of friends that only God could have brought around me. I have been able to reconcile things with my ex, and while I wouldn’t consider us “friends”, I no longer shake and burst into tears when I run into him around town. I have a church body that has supported me as I walked back into the darkness of my past, celebrated with me when prayers have been answered, and gently corrected me when I began to make dumb decisions. My walk with God is stronger than it has ever been and He has begun to open new doors for me, revealing new parts of His plan for my life.
One of those doors came in the form of a letter this last week: A letter announcing my acceptance into the Linguistics and Cultural Studies Masters Program at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics in Dallas, Texas.
While I’m excited to see what God has in store for my future, it hit me last night that I don’t want to leave Denver. I don’t want to leave my family (biological or otherwise), my community, my friends, my students… my church.
I want to stay here.
I know that I’m being selfish, but honestly, it seems a bit unfair. The fact that I lived through hell for three years, and now that God has fixed everything that I screwed up, now that I’m happy… that I’m being called away? That doesn’t seem right to me.
The thought of leaving literally brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it.
But as I sat in worship this morning, crying pathetically, I felt God impress the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac into my heart.
Abraham and Sarah waited and prayed for over half a century for God to bless them with a child. And when He finally did, God said,
Take you son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Genesis 22:2)
In comparison to my three years and my (mostly) self-induced trials, Abraham and Sarah’s plight seems unimaginable.
Having to wait between seventy and eighty years for a child, only to have God say, I want you to step out in faith and sacrifice your child whom you love… I don’t think that I could it.
I don’t know that I would have the strength or faith to say, “Yes, God. I trust what You are doing and because you first blessed me with this child, I will lay him down as a sacrifice, if that is what you want.” But somehow Abraham did trust God, and God honored that by calling out to Abraham at the last minute to say,
‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from me.’ And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in the thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide’.” (Genesis 22:12-14)
In my head I know that my life is not my own. I know that I was put on this earth to live for God and glorify Him, but that doesn’t make those moments when God asks you to sacrifice what you love any less difficult or scary.
To be completely honest, I haven’t hit the place yet where I am actually excited to “lay down my Isaac” for the Glory of God… Yet I know that I am being asked to lay down my life here in Denver so that I can help spread His Word all around the world to the hurting and hopeless. Don’t get me wrong– I’m excited to be a part of His great plan, I’m just not thrilled that I have to give up the life that I love to go; At least I’m not thrilled yet… God’s clearly not done with me (thank goodness) and it will be interesting to see how He works all of this out in the long run.
Has God been calling you to lay down an “Isaac” in your life lately?
Whoever loves his life, must lose it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.” (John 12:25-26)