With Love Column
by ANNIE WESCHE
“Girl, you are in the prime of your life! Why are you spending your best years raising someone else’s children, hidden away in a third-world country? You should be focused right now on meeting your husband, getting married, and having your own children!”
I knew her passionate comments were well-intended, coming from someone who knew how much I longed to be a wife and mother. And she wasn’t the only one to question my dramatic life shift. I was 30 years old and had temporarily moved to Haiti to be a foster mom for two little ones being adopted by my dear friends.
As far as I was concerned, I was on the adventure of a lifetime, entrusted with the precious honor of loving those babies till they could land safely in the arms of their waiting family. And it was because I was single that I had been free to quickly uproot my life and move to Haiti. I was excited about the story God was writing, and I loved the two little ones placed in my care.
But something in my friend’s question that day caused me to waver momentarily where I’d previously been standing firm. Their question drew my eyes away from my True North and, like a quivering compass needle, I wavered with some doubt and fear.
Was I missing out? Had I made a mistake? Had my coming to Haiti caused me to miss a prime window for meeting my husband? Had the decision to care for someone else’s children steered the course of my life away from the dream of having my own family? Was this an either/or situation? Would I have chosen differently if that was the case?
A slow-rising panic began to press into the territory of my abiding trust. Things I deeply longed for suddenly felt vulnerable.
But thanks be to the Lord, ever my Rescuer, who tenderly supplied His grace in that moment, and drew my gaze back to Himself. I began to rehearse in my heart what I knew to be true:
It was You, Lord, who led me here to Haiti — of that I have no doubt. So I will fully trust You with this assignment and for what You have for me after it’s finished.
If these are my prime years, then I gladly spend them for You — and every season of my life — for You are worthy of it all. The whole of my life is Yours.
I trust You with my hopes and dreams because all of Your ways are wise and good — there is no one who cares for me more faithfully than You.
I trust You with the timing of my life, for I know You are loving and purposeful in all You do. You promise that all things work together for good to those who love You.
It does not matter how strange my life may look to others or how different it may be from my own imagined future. You rescued me. You gave Your life for me. You have given me hope, peace, and joy. And You will never leave or forsake me. There is no cost or sacrifice too great that I could make for You.
My wavering was quickly replaced by renewed confidence and my hope was restored as I meditated on and spoke with the One who is worthy and faithful.
. . .
It has been more than eight years since that wrestling moment. My time in Haiti came to a joyful close as the Lord brought those sweet children home into the embrace of their waiting family. And I came home with treasures of my own: deeper knowledge of my Lord, miraculous stories of His power, experiences of His enabling grace, and a greater understanding of His love.
New seasons and assignments have since come into my life — some wonderful, some I would not have asked for, and others I even prayed against. My life has continued to unfold differently than I ever imagined it would. And yet, in following Christ where He has led — with ongoing surrender, obedience, trust, and dependency on Him — the Lord has brought forth beauty, blessing, and goodness in each and every one of them. He has proven to me again and again that He is working for my highest good, He is purposeful in all He does, and that nothing is wasted when it is in His hands or spent for Him.
I have often thought back to that moment in Haiti and the question that challenged my heart. The “prime of life” mindset can be a dangerous lure for our souls if it presumes that any part of our life is our own to spend on ourselves. Can such an attitude be anything but robbery of what rightly belongs to Christ alone?
…you are Christ’s…
1 Corinthians 3:23
Or do you not know … you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price…
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 NASB
…whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
If we have truly felt the weight of our sin, considered the punishment we rightly deserve, realized the astounding work on the Cross, and beheld our Savior’s sacrifice on our behalf — there can be no doubt that our life is rightfully His. Our prime, our time, our best, our suffering, our body, our plans, our money, our home, our hopes and dreams … ALL belong to the worthy One who took our justly-deserved punishment upon Himself in order to ransom our lives for His eternal joy and give us His very life!
I am not my own. Whether or not I always live as though this is true, this is the enduring truth that reaches into every corner of my life and proclaims HIS. There are many moments when I have lost sight of the seriousness and glory that He is both Savior and Lord of my life. But to live for myself is no different than if I climb onto the throne of my life and say to the Lord, “This is all Yours … just as soon as I am finished.”
Imagining such an affront to my blessed Savior undoes me. It moves me to repentance and then leads me into overwhelming, worshipful gratitude for the Lord’s ongoing patience, mercy, and love towards me, a sinner. Again and again, day after day, He extends His patience, love, and mercy! Though He is the One who sits enthroned forever on High with all things under His feet, He is also my Champion and Father who patiently convicts me of my sin and selfishness, and lovingly works to shape me more and more into His likeness. Oh, what a gloriously good Father!
But what of the disappointments, suffering, and waiting, you may ask? I can testify that these very things, when I have brought them to His feet, have been used by God to reveal more of Himself. They have served to purify and refine my heart. They have strengthened my eternal perspective. They have made His Word more alive and real to me. And they have brought me nearer to the God of all comfort and hope. (See 2 Corinthians 1:3 and Romans 15:13.)
Though His worthiness is reason enough for the full and glad surrender of our lives, rest assured, He knows and cares for the desires of our hearts — and they are safest in His keeping. As we delight ourselves in Him, He says that He will give us the desires of our heart. (See Psalm 37:4.) He also promises that those who honor Him, He will also honor. (See 1 Samuel 2:30.) What astounding love and generous goodness!
Our dreams and longings can be a wonderful part of the work God is doing in our life, but they must never take a higher position than Christ Himself and become idolatrous.
Wherever we may be, whatever our circumstances, however long the waiting, however hard the season, however deep the longings — may we lift our gaze up to the One who alone is worthy of the whole of our lives. And may we discover there, in the place of full givenness to our Lord, the fullness of life that He has in store for us!