I think we can all agree that this is a strange time. No one could have seen this season coming and prepared properly for it... but maybe that is the beauty of it.
As I am back in the states for the moment, two words keep coming up in my mind.
There is nothing normal about this season at all. It really is so different.
It's forced different plans, different routines and different environments for some.
When I landed in Togo on March 1, there is no way I could have imagined getting back on a plane and returning back to America... I probably would have told you that there was nothing that could cause me to get on a plane and leave.
Obviously, things are different now...
I am back in the states, working on French with my teammates and working on projects that are going to help propel the ministry forward the moment we get back.
Different isn't a bad word... it's a great word! Yeah, it can be uncomfortable, but it's usually in the most uncomfortable moments that we see God do the most incredible things.
Here's the deal... when I look back on this season, I want to say, "that season was altogether different... but because of it, I am altogether different because of what God did in me".
I hope that this different today helps prepare us to make a Gospel difference tomorrow.
When I flew back into the states and eventually made it to my hometown in Bradenton, FL, I had to go into a time of "self-isolation".
Isolation sounded like a terrible word to this very extroverted extrovert.
I was reminded of another word when in my "isolation"... "solitude".
If I was going to have to be isolated, I wanted to make it purposeful. The spiritual discipline of solitude completely goes against everything that I am...
I don't like sitting still and being quiet... I just don't. I'm sad to say that it has taken some serious practice to sit still for longer than ten minutes.
Through this time of practicing solitude, I have been blown away by how much the Holy Spirit has been so evidently moving in and around me.
I have written pages of notes from simply sitting, resting and listening to what the Lord wants to do in me.
'For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 'Genesis 45:6-8
I love this part of the story of Joseph!
He has just revealed himself to his brothers and immediately begins pointing to what God did through his circumstances.
"So it was not you who sent me here, but God."
Joseph sees the movement of God through all of his circumstances and God had prepared Him for this very moment.
Joseph was different than when his brothers threw him in that pit.
For me, I want to be different after all of this and I am asking God to do that in my time of solitude with Him.