Onward

In my head, I’ve written the letter countless times. When the work became overwhelming or seemed too fruitless, I wrote long-winded explanations. Itemized my irritations. Responded to personal questions that would never be asked. I knew I’d never send this letter. It was all bluster. It would never even make it onto paper.
The real letter is short. It gets straight to the point. It’s grateful for the experience.
It was written today.
We’ve been with our agency for ten years—a decade—and today marks closure. We are certain this is the time to resign. No, we never made as big a difference in the community as we had hoped. Did we actually accomplish anything? Did we entirely waste our youth doing an impossible task? Did we fail?  I am tempted to wonder, because the devil loves to torture.
When I was 18, I gave my life away to Jesus—or rather, in grace he took it from me. I would pursue him to the great rifts of Africa, I thought. But instead he said at long last, “Stay. Serve here.” (Mark 5:19)
So here I stayed and here I served.
To whom do I even address it? I’ve never thought this far into my fake-resignation letter. I’ll check online.
In my imagination, we were sometimes finally calling it quits out of frustration: with the people, with the agency, with the price of gas and midnight phone calls, with the heaviness of tripe sitting uneasily in our stomachs.
Most days, however, are a wonderful cacophony of guttural languages, masses of sticky children, aromatic spices, and tucking my layers of sweaty skirts beneath me as I kneel on a plastic mat to tell stories–The Most Beautiful Story. These days make me want to hang on forever. This I will not give up willingly.
We are quitting for More. Our life has outgrown our 20-hour per week agreement. It doesn’t compartmentalize as well as it once did. We have five children, with another to come soon. A full-time job and full-time homeschooling. Two cats. Two rabbits. Friends to drink coffee with. A church family who has embraced us and our messiness (big, adoptive, cross-cultural-chaos, post-depression-mom, family that we are), but which is not SBC. We use our gifts to serve within this new Body. And we still serve within our people group, teach a few English classes, and train churches to love refugees. We still get to serve our people in the same capacity, even while setting aside the title.
God has restored to us so much of what we had lost when our small group was scattered around the globe. We have found a like-minded Tribe. We are once again known and loved in spite of our brokenness–how heartbreaking it can be when you realize you are not even known, much less loved). If we had only known what God had planned, we would have run toward this change so much faster.
On the other side of the Dark(est) Night of my life, we still find ourselves holding onto the things that matter: loving, gospel-centered relationships with non-believing friends, with our children, with our Father, and with his people.
It’s time. The big, blue box clanks shut, another irretrievable chapter in my story drops beyond reach.
Onward.