We are getting close to leaving. Like almost 90% funded close (praise Jesus and Hallelujah!).
I am getting really excited about going. I find myself looking at IKEA and apartment websites almost daily. I’m already thinking of color schemes for our new home.
There is a lot of stuff that comes with “getting closer”. There is the endless amount of paperwork we have been preparing for our VISA appointment next week. There is going through boxes of stuff that we thought we could take with us but now we realize we were just deceiving ourselves. There is packing and repacking and packing and repacking.
And there are goodbyes, which will start very soon.
Four years ago I thought I was finished with all this…with Italy, at least with living there, with packing up my life, with endless amounts of paperwork. I envisioned a life in Winston-Salem. One with close friends a short car ride away. One with years of pictures of Lily and her two best friends, Leah and Ava. One where the kids went to an arts-based school in downtown. One surrounded on Sundays by good friends over good food. One with my kids playing in the backyard while I worked in the garden. I envisioned lots of things. But all of these things, every single one, I could do on my own, in my own strength.
But moving…I can’t do that on my own if I tried. You see, it is just too difficult. Oh sure, I can pack the boxes and organize yard sales. But the hard things, the goodbyes, the adjusting to a different culture, functioning in a language that is not my first, helping my children transition while I myself am transitioning…I just can’t do those things on my own. And although this was not my plan, it is one that draws me closer to Jesus and makes me trust and rely on His strength.
My weaknesses are many and great. My language is decent but limited. I can go buy milk but I can’t crack a joke. And while you might not think that is a big deal, please believe me when I tell you it is a huge deal. When all you can do is buy milk, you lose a little bit of yourself. So while I will be able to function in society it will take years before I am able to be completely myself. As a natural introvert my social skills in a foreign setting become almost non-existent for the first couple of months. It takes me longer to become comfortable and to open up to people than in does in my own culture and language. My stress level will be through the roof. When we arrive we have to find an apartment and furnish it, which means countless trips to IKEA. We have to begin our residency permit within the first week of arriving. Those things alone with two kids in tow is enough to make me stressed as I write this.
But lucky for me, I don’t have to rely on myself.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you; for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 1 Corinthians 12:9
I am so very, very weak. I can not get on that plane without the ever-strong arm of God holding me up, wiping away every tear as I say goodbye. I can not overcome the language and social barriers without God to give me endurance and confidence while I am learning more Italian and getting to know my new neighbors. I can not be free of stress and anxiety with all the things that will have to happen when our feet hit Italian soil without the God of peace invading my soul.
So I have lots of weaknesses, many more than are listed above. But my God does not have one single weakness. Only strength. And if in my weaknesses God is made great, then I pray I am weaker still so that He might even better demonstrate His greatness, sufficiency, and strength through me.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thank to him. Psalm 28: 7