49- Still Agonizing Over Going…

49- Still Agonizing Over Going to Another Planet!

History: Although I had spent six months of my first pregnancy in a foreign country, I had been somewhat familiar with western Europe, having spent most of two summers there. Yet the looming challenge of the lengthy flight with an 11-month old baby, being five months pregnant, and going into a country completely alien to me seemed like we were heading for another planet.

In the meantime, we continued to be an adventuresome family, we were not strict homebodies: we had taken 4-month old Timmy camping for a weekend with friends, and had flown with him to Oxnard when he was 6-months old for my sister Connie’s wedding.

 

Another planet named Tokyo...
                Another planet named Tokyo, Japan…

Summarized from February 22 in journal: Even though we had purchased our tickets and were scheduled to leave for Japan in one month (on March 23), I was still praying for the basics which had not lined up: 1) for a place to live for six weeks that would have reasonable rent, be furnished, and be in a good location for what we wanted to accomplish; 2) for edible and healthy food; and 3) for fellowship with the Lord and with English-speaking people. I was reminding the Lord that we would need: 4) a stroller for Timmy, toys, a crib. And 5) I was asking for confirmation or denial of our ‘calling’ to Japan. My prayers were answered amazingly. But first, more of my thinking, more of my interaction with Jesus as a six-year old Christian who was Much-Afraid* and always taking my anxieties to Him.

February 26- I heard a spot on KNIS: I care for you. See the scars on My hands if you need proof.

I said, “BUT LORD, just tell me PRACTICALLY that this is a good idea—maybe from someone who has taken a toddler to Japan…”

Moments later I heard on KNIS: God required Abraham’s only son…Abraham believed, gave the sacrifice God asked. And God spared His son.

I made a transaction with God and gave Him our son in faith, like Abraham had given Isaac. I put him on the altar with trust that Timmy was beloved of God and in His capable hands. And I received PEACE from God.

March 6, 1980 Paraphrased scriptures from my journal: Hebrews 3:12 Unbelief is the only thing that can keep us from God’s love and from all He has for us. Hebrews 3:18-19 Disobedient people cannot enter into His rest. Unbelief is disobedience. Hebrews 4:11 Be diligent to enter that rest.

Lord, what do You mean by REST?

The next day….

March 7 – ANSWER TO MY QUESTION ABOUT REST!

Ps 112:1,6,7,8a  Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments. For he will never be shaken; the righteous will be remembered forever. He will not fear evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is upheld, he will not fear…. This verse helps me to this day, reminding me not to fear but to steadfastly trust the Lord. And trusting Him would bring my REST!!!

The E-Free missionaries were thrilled to hear that a prospective missionary candidate and his family were scheduled to come to visit. The families in Tokyo, one family in particular, prepared an apartment for us in the Christian Academy in Japan, CAJ, and we were humbled by kitchen hand towels, dish soap, an alarm clock, furniture, sheets & towels, scripture plaques on the walls, a crib and a stroller and many toys for Timmy, as well as food in the refrigerator!

*Reference to Hannah Hurnard’s character in Hinds’ Feet on High Places, which I had read as a new Christian. It’s a classic and gives perspective on the ways of God’s leading in the Christian life, with the central character being a girl named ‘Much Afraid.’ I highly recommend it.

48- God is So Patient!

48- God Is So Patient!

I would not be that patient with me! In my journal are pages and pages of my bellyaching about going to Japan for all kinds of reasons. I had been pouring out my heart because the Bible told me to: Arise, cry aloud in the night at the beginning of the night watches; pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord; lift up your hands to Him for the life of your little ones… Lamentations 3:19

I was also pleading with Him that I would be more like Him:

Crying out to God
                       Crying out to God

Feb 25, 1980 Jesus I crave You. I want to be like You. I am so tired of me—I crave You, You are so precious, You are righteous, You are love. I seek You for Yourself. Not for what You can give me. Not for what You can do for me! I believe I have all things because I have You. Let me live like it. You are so lovely, just touch me. You are so sweet and compassionate, just look upon me for a moment. I want to experience You. I want to lose my life. I want to deny myself. I want to take up my cross. What do those things MEAN? How can they be real for me? There seems to be no cost too much to live for You, to have You live fully in me. I want to grow up into maturity in Christ. I want to accept the mundane worldly things and not fight cleaning and ironing daily. Your light for my heaviness. Your joy for my negativism. Your love for my small prideful, petty attitudes. How? When? Thank You for Dan’s most precious example of Christ in a man. I see it can be done. I see it’s worth death to self. I see I want Christ’s fullness in me. I crave You, Jesus. I must have guidance, power, mercy, love—all of You all the time. You are all that is worthwhile in this life. You give purpose to every thought and task. You are the cement that binds our hearts in love. Without You is vanity. With You is heaven on earth. Reveal to me Your sweetness, purge me, cleanse me, that I might be a vessel You would deign to rest in. Even if we do nothing—just please rest in me.

Growing, always growing in the Lord.

Spoiler: In time I would learn about the exchanged life (Galatians 2:20) and Christ in me, and I would experience a shift in my thinking.

47- Who Can Save Me?

47- Who Can Save Me?

Feb 5, 1980

Problem: Not wanting to get up in the morning. Overly concerned with sleep needs. Wrestled 45 minutes with myself about getting going today. All I do is work, everything is work. There’s nothing to look forward to. Never a break—no shopping, nothing new, no treats, no movies or exciting dinners. Just drudgery. This is deep because until the last few days I’ve still had joy and managed to cope. But the extra burden with two overnight visitors in 3 days (missionaries),  a one day break, and tonight Shawn and Amy, and Friday night Donna S. None of these are in themselves gruesome. God has provided the love in my heart. But I need to go do something different: be a guest, get out. I also need to get housework done and for it to be clean and orderly here. Too burdensome to be tense about someone opening the oven! I don’t even know what would help. I would feel guilty spending a cent for clothes or fancy food. I couldn’t enjoy them. We’re grubbing for daily groceries, and the last 2 months’ furnace oil bills, baby doctor, overdue power bill, phone bill. Dan needs work pants, Timmy needs rubber pants, we need birthday gifts for Megan and Connie and Jerry. I have not been receiving much in the Word. Sunday mornings I am usually called to the nursery to comfort Timmy, and Sunday nights I stay home with him.

Who can save me? Jesus Christ my Lord.

 Feb 22, 1980 A radio spot: In the Christian life we are like the trapeze artist who lets go of one bar and turns mid-air for the other–God calls us to turn from our fears and make leaps of faith for Him!! 

I’m hearing You, Jesus Christ my Lord!

Turning from one bar and reaching mid-air for the next one
Turning from one bar and reaching mid-air for the next one~it’s okay, He’s got me!

Feb 28, 1980 Springs in the Valley, Mrs. C.E. Cowman: UP!…is not the LORD gone out before thee? Judges 4:14 God has guided the heroes and saints of all ages to do things which the common sense of all the community has regarded as ridiculous and mad. Have you ever taken risks for Christ?  -Charles E. Cowman 

Also: Had Moses failed to go, had God granted his prayer, there would have been for him…no pillar of fire…no smiting of the sea…only 40 years of desert, watching with his sheep. J.R. Miller

I’m hearing You, Jesus Christ my Lord!

46- Hearing God’s Voice

46- Dialoguing with God,

and Hearing God’s Voice

October 19, 1979 Dan estimates we need about $6500 to settle everything here in one month, buy round-trip tickets, and go to Japan and live there for a few months. 

We had begun attending the Evangelical Free Church soon after we returned from Germany. When the pastor heard of our interest in being missionaries to Japan, he suggested we visit Japan and to see what the Lord would say to us. We took that advice as directly from the Lord–that He was confirming our plan of going to Japan for a visit.

Our God story: On the corner across the street from our house was an auto repair shop. A very large (old) International Travelall truck had been parked there for sale for many weeks. We needed a new vehicle, but we also wanted to go to Japan. Dan reasoned, If I’m going to Japan I don’t need a vehicle at this time. He said to the Lord: “If that truck is there next week, I’ll buy it, and that will mean that we won’t go to Japan, that You aren’t leading us to Japan.” The next week it was GONE. We were flabbergasted!

To the best of our recollection, Dan’s dad called us within a day or two to say that he had sold a piece of property and was splitting the proceeds three ways to include himself, Dan, and his brother Aug. He wrote Dan a check for $6,000! Spoiler: As we continued our planning, we decided that we would stay 6 weeks instead of 3-4 months. That meant we had overestimated what we would need, so $6,000 was sufficient to cover all our bills and our Japanese adventure. Amazing!

Another answered prayer: I had surrendered to the Lord my desire for a second vehicle. It meant being home every day, but I knew the prayer of relinquishment–I trusted God’s goodness and could let go my desire for a vehicle die and leave it totally in His hands. Soon after I really let go of my longing, an old friend of Dan’s offered us his well-used and much loved Volkswagen–on the condition that when we were finished with it we would pass it on freely.

Our God-sent VW via Michael O'Sullivan
Our God-sent VW bug, by way of Dan’s good friend Michael O’Sullivan (with whom we had not shared our need)

November 3, 1979 –It is time to relinquish Timmy to You. He has been up lately from 4-7 times every night. It is extremely challenging to emotionally let go of my little baby boy. I am so weak in this area—I cannot bear to hear him cry and do nothing about it. I remember how helpless I felt in the hospital when I heard him screaming in the ICU and I could do nothing to relieve his distress. There is such pain over this. Let me die quickly. I remember that Dan was up for hours every night with Timmy patiently walking him after his last feeding, trying to get him to sleep and then several other times when Timmy would wake up and cry.

When Timmy was 5 months old, I became pregnant with Steve.

During this period I went back to my New American Standard Bible.

Nov 18 –A child in me, a new life forming, developing, growing, becoming a person. A gift from You…thank You. Ecclesiastes 11:5 Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of a pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.

Dec 4 –Thank You that through my recent sickness (minor) You healed more of my attitude toward Timmy. I see I am afraid to love him too much. You might take him away and that space would be so empty. I’m not sure why I was thinking this way about losing Timmy. Probably very normal mother thinking.

Dec 9 –Regarding our health in Japan, my Bible reading was in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 7

v13 And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb

v15 And the Lord will remove from you all sickness.

What about a doctor in Japan? The Lord answered:

Ps 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.