I made a new friend! She’s on the other side of the Atlantic, but technology doesn’t discriminate when an American writer in Germany and an American writer in Mexico bond over the not-so-popular W-word. We both love Jesus and we both wrestle with waiting. Works for me!
Please give a big “Welcome/Bienvenida/Willkommen” to Caitlin Lieder.
Moving to Germany meant stepping out in faith in a big way.
It was a new level of trusting Jesus; we moved internationally a few times but never with four kids under five years old, and we did not make the decision lightly. We talked and prayed with our small group, pastor, and trusted family members for over a year before we even began the process.
Then it took another year to find a job and decide when and where to move. This was no off-the-cuff decision. We left a thriving community of friends, mentors, and a wonderful, biblical church, not to mention leaving the stability of having a house and being able to speak English!
We took that step of trusting Jesus and He opened the doors wide for us to come to this village near Hamburg. Although we were stressed and exhausted from the move, overwhelmed by figuring out how to raise kids in a new country, and physically tired from just having little kids (who are not the quiet kind!), we came here gung-ho to share the gospel and work with people.
I sent out a prayer email and had dozens of friends and family committed to praying for our village and our work here. We invited people over and tried to make friends. Neither my husband nor I are shy or introverted. In fact, I err on the side of having no fear in approaching people when sometimes I probably should!
So when I say we tried, we truly tried.
After one year of this, we started getting tired and I fell into a deep depression. The depression was not solely due to having no community, but that certainly didn’t help. As I started counseling and we continued to try building community, we felt the Holy Spirit leading us to pray about moving again.
We’ve been trying to move for a year and a half now and are still waiting on God’s direction. The last three years looked nothing like what we expected. I’m plagued with questions and doubts…
Why are we here when we’re unable to make meaningful friendships?
Didn’t we ask God for wisdom and take our time so we wouldn’t make a mistake?
Didn’t we seek counsel and have people praying for us?
Where did we go wrong?
I feel like we took a step in faith and, unlike Peter, we sunk into the sea instead of walked on water.
Here I am still waiting. We haven’t moved and no doors seem to be opening. Yet we seek God. Through this time I’ve learned to trust in Him like I’ve never had to before. I have days I don’t know what to even do, don’t know how to entertain the kids, and feel like the hope I once had in God has withered.
Even my littles recognize we don’t have a community and they yearn for it. I often hear, “I want to move back to England,” even though they don’t remember it well.
In each desperate hour, God shows up. In every prayer cried, He is with me. In every moment I have no words through my tears, He lifts me to Him. I may not have felt it in each moment, but He continues to be faithful. I see it in a moment of quiet with the children, a random text or email, or even just in a simple peace. He meets us where we are.
He gave me a greater thirst for His Word in this valley. I implore you, dear friend, with all my being, go to His Word.
In the past three years, I have found no greater comfort than from His letter to us. It’s the first time in my life I haven’t had people to depend on. I’m 100% extrovert and even in my deepest sorrows I’ve always had people around me.
Not this time.
I’ve learned that His Word is sufficient in the midst of sorrow and extreme loneliness. His Word will comfort your deepest grief and give you an incomprehensible peace knowing He is good and sovereign.
If you are alone, know you are not truly alone. I’m alone, too! But our Father who loves us is with you always. Keep telling yourself this so you will not forget. Keep going to His Word until you do not go away thirsty. Dig into it until your thirst is quenched and your faith a little bit stronger.
Even though we stepped out in faith with big expectations of spreading God’s Kingdom, our time here seems to have been mostly unfruitful. That may or may not be true, but what is true is we can trust that God has us where He wants us. Otherwise He would have us somewhere else.
We can stand unshaken and wait.
As Elisabeth Elliot so wisely said,
“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” — Passion and Purity