It's been so long since I've posted a blog even I've begun to wonder if I'd ever write again! July has been this crazy, busy, exhausting fun month, all of which I intend to write about when I find some energy! But today is our 12th anniversary of moving to Sweden so it seemed a fitting moment to try and jump start the blog once again.
Most of you who read this know that when Doug and I made the decision to come to Sweden and be pastors of Immanuel International, we signed a three year contract. We thought that it would be great fun to live in Europe for 3 years, experience church in a totally different manner, do some traveling and then come back to the US and settle back into "real life"! As the years churned by we finally had to own that our "real life" was our life in Sweden!
The reality of being here 4 times longer than ever anticipated or planned has made me think a lot about a concept I call limited revelation. If God had revealed to me the entire plan that He had for us back when we first accepted the call to come to Sweden, I'm quite sure that I would never had said yes. Three years I could handle. It wasn't that disruptive, it was adventurous, and sounded like a great thing for us to do early in our marriage. If God had revealed to us that His real plan for us was to have us stay on for a decade and now even more, I would have scoffed and said, "No way, no thanks." It was too much information and I would've been paralyzed by it. It's a good principle to understand when feeling impatient about not knowing where the road of life is headed. God knows and we must trust that He will reveal to us what we need to know, when we need to know it!
The reality is that I have no regrets about being here for this long. I really cannot believe that it's been this long, that 3/4ths of our married life has been lived here, that now moving back to the US feels like a strange and outrageous task! God has done amazing things in our lives while we've been here. Our church has grown both numerically and spiritually. We have tasted the joy of being part of a multi-ethnic community that celebrates diversity and enjoys one another's differences rather than allow them to tear us apart. We've watched kids grow up and families grow and mature. We've strengthened our staff and built relationships that in any other context we would not have had the opportunity to enjoy. God has revealed so many things to us over the years but things that have taken 12 years not 3 for us to understand and I am so thankful for His love, for His guidance, for His goodness, for His faithfulness and His graciousness that has sustained us over these 12 years.
Sure, I long to be closer to family and I miss certain things about America that are not present here. But I love that I speak Swedish pretty well now, I love that we've visited some 30 countries while we've lived here, I love that we own a little boat and have a Swedish dog and belong to a church of which I am certain there is no parallel!
It's certainly been a buzzin' dozen. Can't imagine what lies ahead, but my good and gracious God certainly does and when the time is right, His full revelation will come into my view.