On January 8th, in the dawn of the New Year, I wrote a post about my theme for 2014: “Let Go”. At that time it was something the Lord was softly whispering to me, and as I thought about it more I realized that it was something that really needed to begin to happen in my life. I began to realize how much of my life I hold on to every day, and because of that, how much less I am holding on to Jesus.
I sit here now, chuckling to myself about what God really had in store for me in the “Letting Go” realm. Chuckling as in, if I don’t laugh I’ll cry, sorta chuckle. Annnnnd it’s only March. Ha!
Much of the letting go in that post was concerning the need for me to let go as a mother.
“Before they were our babies, they were His. My kids belong to God. Forget what our culture says is required for a happy childhood. What does God say my kids need? What does God say is important for a child? Those are things to focus on and invest in. If my kids have all the happiness in the world, but their hearts are far from the Lord, what have they gained?”
Little did I know when I wrote that post, that a month later Addy and Ezra would be attending our local Ukrainian school. Never in a million years would I have predicted it. Before we moved and people asked about what we would do for school I answered them that we weren’t sure, but definitely they wouldn’t be in a local public school. Oy. Yeah, what do I know??
Addy and Ez have been in school for a month now. That act of “letting go” has been one of the hardest undertakings in my life. I know they don’t understand much of what is said during the day at school. I know at times they are nervous. Making friends has been difficult because they can’t speak more than a couple of words to the other kids. I so want them to be happy. I don’t want them to be lonely. They say they like school, but I wonder, deep down, are their little hearts okay?
Let go. We are being obedient to the Lord. Their happiness is not reliant on me. God will give them all that they need. He created them KNOWING this would be their life. Addy and Ezra, Havalah and Seth were each called to Ukraine, just as Jed and I were. So what if the American culture says they need lots and lots of friends and activities to be happy? They have each other as friends. They have a Mommy and Daddy that love them.
Little did I know when I wrote that post about letting go, that 2 months later Ukraine would be at the brink of full-on war. With Russian troops moving further and further inland, no one knows what will happen next.
What does it mean to truly LET GO when face to face with war?
I have no idea, but I’m learning every day. We never could have anticipated that God would call us to this. But, He did. He knew full well what was going to happen in Ukraine a week after we arrived. He told us to come, to love on His children who have been hidden away for far too long. We came without a Plan B. Ukraine is our home now. Ukraine is God’s plan for our family.
What does it mean to lay it all down for the sake of Jesus? What does it mean to be ALL IN, and to really mean it? What does it mean to say YES, without conditions? It means the same thing now as it meant to us when we came here. Only now we better make sure we really believe it. Is our Yes truly without conditions? We are here in Ukraine until God tells us not to be here anymore.
Because of the political situation here, many people have been asking us when we will come home. Many have asked us if we have a red line, like “If such and such happens, then we will leave.” We have no line. All we have is the voice of the Lord, just as we did when we flew out of Portland on November 12th. We are watching the news; we are not seeking out danger, but who ever said God will always steer us clear of danger?
I know we have our children to think of, and believe me, there is no one that wants our kids to be safe more than Jed and I do. But more than parents who try to keep them safe, what our kids truly need is parents who will listen to the voice of the Lord and follow Him no matter what- letting go of all else, and clinging with all they’ve got to the hand of Jesus.
Our friends here in Ukraine have no exit plan. Our boys at Romaniv have no exit plan. What of the countless others who lay in their cribs day after day, completely unaware of their homeland’s turmoil? They have no choice, no option of leaving their crib, let alone their country.
So here we stand and here we stay. We continually ask the Lord for wisdom. At the same time we continually ask Him to help us let go of ourselves, in order that we might hold more tightly to Him.
Please listen to my heart. It’s not that we are trying to call ourselves some sort of heroes or attempting to be foolishly brave. The Ukrainian people are the ones who are brave. The heroes are the Ukrainians who live for Jesus despite the injustice that has surrounded them all their lives. We are simply reminded that a life of obedience does not always equal a life of physical safety. The Ukrainian people need the hope of Jesus more than ever right now. With a new government being formed there is new hope for the children we have come to serve. We believe with all of our hearts that we are here in Ukraine for such a time as this. If you’ve followed our story at all you know that we didn’t arrive here by accident. 🙂 God made the way and He has a purpose in it.
When we very first started on this journey, way back in 2010, God gave us some verses. They have been my comfort more times than I can count. It had been quite a while since I looked them up, and today I wept as I read them again. Just knowing that God knew all about this way back then is such a comfort. He does see. He does know.
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities…
‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord who has compassion on you…
All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace, In righteousness you will be established: tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear.”
Isaiah 54:2, 3, 10, 13-14
Let go with me, will you? He promises to be more than enough. I intend to trust that.
We just heard a sermon on Isaiah 54 last week!
Oh Kim, do I know exactly how you feel. No, we’re not facing war, but my babies are going through the same things as yours as far as figuring out this new country, being lonely and nervous, wondering where they fit in. Your lines of each of your kids being called as well as you and Jed hit me smack in the middle of my head and heart. Pray for me, friend. I don’t seem to be as advanced as you yet in the acceptance department. 🙂
Thank you. I love you. Those pics are amazing.
*Steve Bittner/DirectorNorthwest Student Services, LLCP.O. Box 667Corvallis, Oregon 97339 USAMobile: 541-760-2027www.nwstudentservices.com email@example.com SKYPE: steviethevagabond*
Praying for you guys and so encouraged by this post! What a great verse to carry in your heart during these times.
Hi! I always think of you guys and wonder how you’re doing being a mommy. 🙂
Dearest ones ~ my heart goes out to you and I pray for your safety and wisdom. Hang on to Jesus! I love all of you ~ Grandma Pat
Hi there! Thanks for the note. Thanks also for the prayers. It’s so good we can be in touch from so far away!
Thank you for your post. My Dame is David; I live in Salem, Oregon.We have friends here, and around the world who have taught us more about what it means to follow Jesus Christ, walking as He walked, bringing glory to God rather than to ourselves. Some of those friends live in Ozerne and Turnopil. You can contact them via http://www.brunstad.org. Your “letting go” site was referred to me by my youngest daughter. Thank you; I will be praying for you and your family regularly.
Hi David! Sorry for the delayed reply. Thank you so much for your note! It’s great to hear from you. We’ll check out your friends for sure. Thank you for the prayers and encouragement. 🙂
I think of you every day! I had the same thought as you — the boys can’t leave —- please don’t let their caregivers abandon them. Hopefully this will lead to improvements for them (eventually). Thank you for the update.