When I last wrote, we were feeling so discouraged and unwell. We were so touched by all your prayers and messages of encouragement. Here’s a short update about the things we shared last time:
Praise the Lord, Peter improved enough to preach that Sunday and get ready in time for Albania. He had a super encouraging trip! Peter was able to connect with pastor Berti – it’s his church that our short term team will connect with in August. The main purpose of the trip was for Peter to spend time teaching some Albanian pastors who have little or no access to ministry training. He said it was a really fruitful and blessed time. I will let him write a longer report sometime!
Mariah did come down with the virus but praise the Lord it was early enough that she had time to recover and her version was much shorter than ours. She and Joel (who never got it!) were able to fly to the USA together healthy and well. What a mercy.
The night Peter got back from Albania, we heard the news that the US government will be lifting the last of the Covid vax requirements on 11 May – including the completely illogical and unjust ban on unvaccinated foreigners. To give a little context, we had heard a few days before (possibly in error) that the ban had been extended and we were all devastated. So, to say the least, we are incredibly relieved and grateful and the joy of the upcoming wedding seems so much more real to us now! One month from today!
Another request that I shared was our need for a vehicle to borrow in the USA that we would all fit into. Well, only a day or two after I shared that, a dear family contacted us and want to lend us their car for the whole time we are there. This is a such an answer to prayer!
All of this actually makes me want to weep with joy!! Our God hears and answers the cries of his children. He is full of mercy and compassion. Having said that, I am all too aware that sometimes his answers are no or not now. From my own recent experience, I can say, it’s so much harder to accept these answers. . . . no to getting well for church or life group or the weekend away (multiple times), no to going away with Peter, no to getting to simply be a mum to my children day after day, no to special planned events or even seeing people, no to the ability to do basic things, no to relief from pain. Sometimes small losses on a daily basis add up to create a deep grief. There’s no denying that life in this fallen world and in our broken bodies can sometimes be pure anguish. Our lives are so far away from God’s original good design. However, God is teaching me, gently, slowly, to keep surrendering to his perfect will. And in the darkness, to keep clinging to what is true – that He is good, He is wise and He loves me so much. And – this is huge – that there is hope beyond this life, when all the tears will be wiped away.
Actually, on Sunday I had some time journaling with the Lord about 2 Samuel 15:25-26. It’s something David said when he was fleeing from his son Absalom who was trying to take the throne away from him.
“If the Lord sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle[f] again. 26 But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.”
Wow. That is some incredible humility and faith and a deeply surrendered heart. I guess we could all fill in our blanks (and I did as I journaled!) . . . If the Lord sees fit, he will . . . . But if not, let him do what seems best to him. We have a tender Saviour, a suffering Saviour, who understands our pain and is with us in it. And because of his great wisdom and love, he sometimes says no to our cries. And there is blessing in that.
To close, a little update about my own health . . . I did recover from the virus too, just not as fast as Peter. I had a better couple of days, then a migraine and then when Peter was in Albania, frustratingly, I started feeling some of the virus symptoms again. I’m not doing too badly now but I’m not 100% yet. I’ve also been struggling with sleep and have had some pretty emotional days. I still feel pretty fragile. However, I’m grateful to God for his love, shown to me especially through friends. And the girls I and made it through the weekend with lots of good moments.
It’s so wonderful to have Peter back and for all of us to share the joy of the news that he gets to go with us to the wedding! We leave for the USA on the 26th of May . . . it’s coming very fast now! Having been out of action for the better part of a month, there’s a lot to be done to get us all ready to go so we’d very much value your prayers for health, strength and peace of mind and heart. Peter has an upcoming trip to the European Leadership Forum in Poland (18-25 May) so I’d very much value prayer during that time as I will be at home with the girls, especially for health and strength and for us to be ready to leave the day after he comes back. Please pray for God to use him powerfully in the lives of the European pastors he will be training to preach. Many of these people would never have any kind of access to this training in their own countries. Peter will also be preaching at Trinity the next 2 Sundays and we will continue with our other ongoing ministry involvements. We feel our weakness and our need of Jesus and his grace as we press on!
God is good and we are so thankful for your prayers for us!
For you are my lamp, O Lord,
and my God lightens my darkness.
30 For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
31 This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
2 Samuel 22:29-31
PS A little bonus photo of our children across the pond . . . we have quite an empty nest at the moment (still two Meadlings with us!).