This is my word for 2015: YIELD. While we had planned to have the month of December in the U.S. the unexpected death of Randy’s step-dad certainly changed our plans for that time. As we began helping Randy’s mom make a transition to living as a widow, including relocating, downsizing, selling her house, etc., this word came directly into my brain as a word from the Lord. It reminded me that I am not in control of life’s events, I am only in control of my responses. While I may think that being an ESL teacher at H.A.U. is what I’m to be doing, at any moment life’s events can redirect me to something that is more important for me to do. Thus our U.S. visit became completely different due to this unexpected turn of events.
It’s not that helping Randy’s mom is unpleasant. She is wonderful, amenable, courageous and we have always been close. I had anticipated this scenario so I was in a way ready to take it on. But many of the situations I found myself in were not the kind of things I like to do or feel capable of. So it was more about me being out-of-my comfort zone. But early on the Lord gave me this image of tubing down a river. If you’ve ever done this you know one can try to paddle their little tube upstream against the current or one can let go, release to the current and enjoy the ride. That’s where the idea of “yielding” came into play. I could accept what was being given to me, enjoy the ride and look for the amazing ways God would be present and show up or I could grumble, complain (in a sense “fight against the current”) and miss the good things that were going to take place because I was unwilling to yield.
So while I was to return to Burundi at the beginning of January, I ended up staying in the U.S. until the first week in Feb. I was sorry to be missing participating in the intensive English course that is taught in January to the new incoming students at H.A.U. but I was certain that aiding Randy’s mom was what I was meant to be doing. One of the added benefits was a little more time with my children as we relocated Joan closer to family in Seattle where we got to do a few fun things like visit the Chihuly Museum of glass art with it’s strangely beautiful forms and shapes.
This provided another image of yielding. Glass is heated up under intense temperatures to the point of becoming liquid. Then it can be shaped, turned, molded and formed by the breath of the artist into these amazingly beautiful shapes with intense colors. It is the heat, tools and controlled breath of the artist that makes its impact on the yielding glass. When the glass does not yield, it breaks under the artist’s force. When it yields it takes the form the artist wishes resulting in these playful, joy-filled works of art. As I have encountered the many situations that are out of my control in the beginning of 2015, these two images (riding the current on a river and blown glass) have encouraged me to remember to yield, in the hopes that my yielding will also result in beauty and joy.