by Krista Horn
This summer we learned about a place called the Dead Mail Center. Apparently, when the United States Postal Service deems a piece of mail to be undeliverable and unreturnable, it goes to the Dead Mail Center, which is a giant warehouse in Atlanta that collects all such mail. As far as we can tell, it’s a black hole that devours mail and refuses to spit anything back up and, as such, is the source of great frustration.
We learned about this place because all of our home school curriculum for the new school year ended up there, and it has not been recovered. My home school plans were foiled by the Dead Mail Center. All the time and energy I put into researching curriculum, making decisions, and coordinating ways to get it overseas for our three sons – it all went into the black hole that is the Dead Mail Center.
Our plans disintegrated like so many other plans in the year 2020.
The situation was frustrating because of the logistical gymnastics required to get our home school year back on track. But before the frustration could even set in, I felt defeated. I truly didn’t know how to get our curriculum overseas and I was left feeling the weight of all the gaps that would surely define a home school year cobbled together with nothing but me and a whiteboard. The defeat consumed me for awhile. The gaps staring me in the face were only the latest of all the gaps we’ve felt this year.
My husband’s parents weren’t able to visit us like they planned and it left a gap in our hearts (and in the Grandparent Spoiling Department).
Covid-19 and its restrictions have left gaps in our social life; it’s also revealed how short-staffed the mission hospital (where my husband works) is and has left considerable gaps in the schedule and on the wards.
Colleagues and friends have left, and then more left, and still more are leaving soon, leaving gaps in our hearts again and again and again.
Our home school coop has dwindled to just our family for this season, leaving teaching gaps for me to fill and classmate gaps for our boys that simply won’t be filled.
Our church has reopened but with restrictions that do not allow children to attend, leaving a continual gap that only one parent can attend church while the other stays home with the kids.
Gaps, gaps, and more gaps. They multiplied until they broke me, leaving me defeated without hope of filling them.
It was then, in the brokenness and defeat, that God whispered something to my heart. Gaps abound and holes have left damage, but we serve a God of the gaps.
There is not an answer to every problem, and sometimes the only way forward is to let go of current hopes and simply put one foot in front of the other and see where God leads. But even in the upending of dreams and the confusion of current circumstances, God is able to stand in the gaps.
When my first plan for getting our home school curriculum overseas failed, and then our second plan failed too, God provided a third plan that was way more complicated than the original plan but will still work in the end. And if that ultimately fails too, God has already tended to my heart and reminded me that He’s holding our children and their education in His hands and will use this school year for their good no matter what the curriculum situation is (or isn’t).
As we tread through a season of loss and loneliness, God has allowed our family to form closer bonds as we encourage one another. As the staffing needs at the hospital are not enough, God upholds the doctors one day at a time and has given them greater unity during these stretched days.
He may not provide the answers we seek and long for, but God stands in the gaps of our heartaches and defeatedness. He may not fill all the gaps with tangible solutions, but He fills them with Himself.
In this season I’ve been praying this prayer: “Lord, fill me. Fill me with You. Fill me so that whatever comes out of me is of You. My thoughts, my words, my actions, my reactions… May they be of You. And fill me to overflowing so that something can be poured out again, and let that something be of You and You alone.” I’ve often prayed that God would fill me with peace, or joy, or patience, or wisdom, but in this season I haven’t been able to pray such things. I just pray that God would fill me with Himself. “Fill me with You.”
I know and testify that God, the God of the gaps, is able to hear and answer that prayer. He’s been hearing that prayer for me and filling the gaps in my heart and mind these days.
Krista Horn met and married the man who once took her on a date to go tree climbing, which just about sealed the deal then and there. After her husband slogged through seven years of medical school and residency (with Krista doing quite a bit of slogging herself between work, grad school, and becoming a mom), they left for the mission field with three boys 3 and under. Now they live and work at a mission hospital in Kenya. While her husband is busy on the wards, she stays busy with all the details of motherhood on the mission field. When she’s not making meals from scratch or singing lullabies or chasing skinks out of the house, Krista loves to curl up with a book, bake chocolate chip cookies, and go to bed early. Krista blogs at www.storiesinmission.