When Trust Stands Tall

by Richelle Wright on June 10, 2015

I saw or heard that phrase somewhere this last year, and it has hung with me…

…because I need trust to stand tall. Like now!

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A few days back, I went with my freshly graduated 18 year old to her yearly physical (she won’t have her license for a few more weeks). As the nurse measured her height, she encouraged her to stand tall – to push her back and heels flush against the wall, lengthen her neck and spine and look straight ahead.

Trust must stand tall.

Our seemingly forever season of transition/waiting is about to heat up, and not just because it’s summer time.

God has finally opened the doors for us to transition to the new place we’ve been thinking-praying-talking about for a few years now. Lord willing, we move in just a few weeks. We’re excited. We’re scared and nervous.

New ministries, new and more responsibilities, new church, new house in a new city, new friends, new school (and in a new language for several of our children). New grocery stores, new measures like liters instead of gallons and Celsius instead of Fahrenheit, new identity as we will no longer be those seemingly confident veterans but the very insecure and unsure newbies. For this introvert, it’s the stuff nightmares are made of!

Even in the busy excitement of preparations and hope-to-see-you-sooner-rather-than-later-get-togethers with family and friends, even in the well-known of “having been here done this,” I find myself continually having to choose to trust the One leading us this direction.

Trust must stand tall, especially as I think of what this transition means… will mean… for my family.

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Two will remain in the States: one busy with an internship, work and classes at a local university while the other works until leaving for school in a distant state. Six travel with us. All of those “news” listed above, plus others, will belong to them as well.

What happens if we find – or perhaps more accurately – when we learn that this new path has caused significant issues with, or for, one or more of our children? What if one is hurt by others or one decides to choose a different path far from God in this new place or because of this new place? When our children struggle, does it mean we weren’t really “called” or that our discernment of God’s will was automatically defective?

Our marriage will, quite probably, enter one of those proverbial “rough patches.” But this one might be rougher and longer than any other before, and we might wonder, “Can we make it this time? Is it even worth it anymore?” Our parents’ health may decline, or a friend who might as well be family receive one of those dreaded diagnoses…

The list of “what-ifs” could go on, and sometimes as I read blogs (like a life overseas), I get the idea that expat workers really only have one right choice when responding to these hard things that are often consequences of this life we’ve chosen and it’s accompanying painful and challenging transitions. That’s because those of us who write in places like this do want to share with others the things we sincerely believe we’ve been taught by  1) God, 2) godly others, 3) study, 3) observation and/or 4) years of just living this lifestyle. If someone “listens” and then follows – doing what makes sense and seems right to us… then we think they’ve made a good decision; if they choose something different, than we easily communicate,  the idea that they are sacrificing family on the altar of ministry. And that is absolutely, and totally wrong.

Why? Three reasons immediately come to mind:

  1. We (i.e. those giving said suggestions and advice) are not omniscient. We give our advice. Do we then respectfully, tenderly, come alongside – even in the comments section of a blog post, regardless of what others have chosen?
  2. These words from the end of Philippians 1 ~ “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain… Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ… For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake…” In other words, we are told there will be hard times, unexplainable, unforeseen and undeserved things will happen.
  3. We also know “…that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8.28)

Do we live as though we believe God will redeem ALL?

  • The hard?
  • The suffering?
  • The sacrifice?
  • The impossible?
  • The unfair and unjust?
  • Our mistakes and wrong decisions?
  • Willful sin and disobedience… even our very own?

Choosing to believe that God WILL redeem, and in His timing – not mine?

swinging

 That is what it looks like when we allow trust to stand tall.

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May you choose, this day (and the next… and the next…) to let trust stand tall.

Encourage other readers by sharing stories of how you’ve seen God redeem the impossible in the comments below!

Owl photo credit: Dick Stewart, Captured Memories

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About Richelle Wright

Disciple of Jesus, lover of God's Word, wife to one great guy, and mama of eight, Richelle has spent the past 13 years in Niger, West Africa. She and her family are currently in the throes of transition as they begin life and ministry (teaching, audio-visual production) in the Canadian province of Québec. |ourwrightingpad.blogspot.com|
  • Elizabeth Trotter

    As I’m reading this, Richelle, what I’m hearing you say that the missions community seems to present only one choice to workers: if things are rough and your family is struggling, you must leave. This is in opposition to traditional advice which was mission first, always. (Perhaps this new thought process is in reaction to the old one?) And you sound discouraged by this all-or-nothing, either/or choice.

    So . . . I just wondered if you had read that interview with Tim Sanford? In it, he talks about missionary families being afraid to ask for help out of fear they’ll be told to “go home.” He then goes on to say that he’s helped families find in-between solutions, and in the comments, people said they were very encouraged by that. I love how Tim acknowledges the very deep passion most missionaries have for their work, alongside their deep love for their children, and how he is willing to look outside the box for solutions that help everyone thrive.

    I just hoped that would encourage you in this time of transition and trust, that tough times don’t mean you have to or should quit, but rather that there are options with hope. Love you girl!

    • Richelle Wright

      Well, I wasn’t trying to say that the missions community presents only one choice, but rather that as individuals within the missions community, we often size up a situation and decide what we think should be done: stay because that’s part of the cost OR don’t ever put mission ahead of family/marriage. And it is fine to have opinions, but when we fail to communicate the reality of the in-between, or even that the same situation which would direct your family to go might actually mean my family needs to stay…

      I made the comment once (regarding our children) that sometimes we make the best decisions we can with the information we have at hand – and then readjust when and as it becomes necessary… and those adjustments aren’t ever going to be one size fits all. I know we have made decisions that weight one child’s needs more heavily than another’s. Sometimes, hindsight has shown us that was the right decision while other times, in hindsight, we can see a better alternative. But does that mean our decision at the time was a mistake?

      I don’t necessarily think so; yet I’ve had some confront me with the idea that this way of thinking is tantamount to sacrificing children/family for the sake of the mission, which is wrong. I think it is just as wrong to set family/marriage up as an idol we are not willing to risk sacrificing because we won’t trust God in those hard times.

      Thanks for sweet words… and I am hopeful. But I also feel like even though we are walking forward confidently and cautiously with eyes wide open, we’ll still have some blindsides along the way – and that’s okay. Hugs!

      • Heidi Jessurun

        Well said! It’s relieving to read how others are wrestling with the same issues we do, remembering there is never a one-size-fits-all answer. It’s so hard to wrestle with the tension our decision to follow Jesus wherever He leads brings upon our families. It’s helpful for me to see that others don’t have neat or tidy answers to these complex issues.–and it’s ok!

        • Richelle Wright

          So glad and thankful you find these words encouraging, Heidi. God bless!

  • Jen

    Thank you for your post. You might say we find ourselves smack in the middle of “the inbetween” right now. Only eight-months into our first overseas assignment, with four teen/tween children, we are suffocating from all of the new and the pressure-cooker that comes with it. We are trying to stand tall and trust even when we cannot see. Our oldest son will go back to the States tomorrow to get ready for college. As parents, we did not plan on this type of grief on top of this transition. Our next child, desperate here with no friendships, has found the “love” of a local young lady instead, and while nothing has been inappropriate, his heart (and hers) are not ready for such feelings at this age. We did not plan on a child falling under the weight of such crushing lonliness, and it hurts our hearts to see him suffer. Then it is as if the stress of this move has poured gasoline on another child’s weaknesses. Back home, what was just a smolder and easily handled, has been set ablaze here. Again, as parents perhaps we were naive to think this would not happen or that we could handle it with the Lord’s help if it did. All of these add to our doubt now. Did the Lord really call us? We know He provides when He calls. But our children are suffering which in turn causes us incredible pain. Is this all part of the “normal” cultural transition we are told lasts a year-and-a-half at least? If nothing changes, how long do we hang on? You see, we trust the Lord, and know He redeems all things. We know suffering and pain are part of His redemtive plan for us, and even our children. The kicker though is we do not trust ourselves. We do not want to sacrifice our children on an altar of ministry, even as we want to trust in the midst of the suffering that He has this, has us, and will redeem it as He sees fit. It is just often hard to know how to trust, isn’t it? To really put flesh on the word and walk it moment-by-moment is tough, and we find rarely any easy answers. Thanks again for sharing so beautifully our struggle. We hope to hear the Lord clearly both now and in the future, whether He says stay or go, and to stand tall in trust in the inbetween.

    • Richelle Wright

      Wow, Jen! Such a hard, hard season for you and your family. It is amazing how incredibly impossible it is to watch our children hurt – regardless of the reason. The only thing that helps me in those moments is remembering that I’m getting just a taste of the anguish God must have felt as He watched His Son… not just on the cross but walking forward towards that cross as Jesus lived His days on earth, knowing what was to come. I’m praying that that thought, that God knows, experienced that same sort of intense parental pain, and that He’s right there with you – that it will enable your trust to stand tall: whether you stay, go, or still feel caught in the in-between.

      Blessings…

    • Michael Bryan

      Hi Jen, I am really feeling for you as I too raised 4 kids on the field in Russia and some after returning to the states are struggling with their faith. My husband and I are now part time and are in Russia now apart from our kids which are 27,25,23,20. And in the states. I was just interceeding with God this morning about them and for them and I KNOW the pain of not feeling “in control”. Of course I have no answers but I will be praying for you to stand strong in the midst of this raging storm. He can calm the most violent of storms. I was asking Jeus today to please persue my daughter as He went to the mother with the dead son in Nain. He saw her, had compassion, and went to her. He is able. This says the post is Michael but it is not. I am Mary Lou and I will be praying for you!

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