A daily surrender

Nearly three years ago we packed our bags and boarded a plane headed to Nicaragua with our two oldest children. We could not have known that the souvenirs we carefully packed would be in the company of so many hopes and dreams that we brought back with us. We had come to serve this land full of serene lakes and majestic volcanoes, but we were the ones who received the greater blessing. We were the ones who were changed by the gospel.

Outside are the sounds of tropical birds singing in the ever present sun. The palm trees are waving against the bright sky through a gentle breeze, but the day promises to warm up to a steady heat that has everyone seeking shade. The dust blows and covers the world here with a fine layer of grit, and we pray for rain.

We call Nicaragua our home, but the truth remains that we are only passing through. When God called us to this beautiful country, we knew not the length of our leaving. So we sold our life in Cincinnati, and cut the strings that might pull us back before God had released us. We held out our hands for what would be given and what would be taken away.

It changes you.

Surrender changes who you are, what you do, how you think. It is never easy. It is never final. You release your will only to pick it back up again. It takes the sun one rise and fall before you must commit to doing it all over. And Jesus said with his last breath, “It is finished.” It will be the same for our surrender. It will never be final, until we give up our last breath.

Nicaragua has taught us a lot about sacrifice, and we are grateful. We left behind our home, our family, our culture, our language, our way of knowing how to do things, and for a long while we struggled with finding our place in this new country. But as days turned to weeks, turned to months, turned to a year we found a place to belong. Our concrete house became home, our new friends became family, our culture blended with our surroundings as our one language became two, and we learned how to do things all over again in different ways.  And somehow the loss of everything we knew turned into the gain of so many things we didn’t know we could love.

We could not have seen the path that God would ask us to walk. We could not have known the length of this journey. We put our faith into the hands of God, and said, “I trust you with my life.”

I think it’s best not to know the last chapter, for when we read ahead we do not give ourselves full permission to enjoy the story.

In the quiet mornings and the shadowed evenings of the past few months, we have come to realize that our path is taking yet another turn. God, in His all-knowing presence, is leading us away from Nicaragua. There are many things that we do not know about our next steps, and many things that we do not understand, but we find ourselves again with the posture of open hands. “God, we know that you are good. All that we have is yours, all that we are we give to you. We trust that you will not waste any offering of sacrifice in your name, and that you will use every moment for your good and for your glory.”


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