21 Jul 2010

Seven Days Today...

...we leave this place. This place that has become home over the past two years for me, the place Ben and I set up our first home together, the place where the Spirit of God and the message of his grace rings clear.

It hit me yesterday as I was walking home from class. As I walked that path that has become so familiar to me over the past 2 years I watched the squirrels chase each other. I couldn't tell if they were having more fun frolicking with each other or taking a run at the radiant robins hopping around the lawn looking for worms. As the sun shone down and i enjoyed the leisurely pace home, a warm feeling overwhelmed me. I felt safe.

There is something about the block and half in downtown Dallas, right in the middle of the American divide of the poor, "not so nice area" of the city and the rich homes of Historic Swiss Avenue. It is like the campus, is a mystical haven. At least for me it has been during my time here. God's invisible protection, provision and truth have a home here. And just like the squirrels and robins feel safe to run free and play, without a care of a predator in the world, there has been a freedom to learn and grow in the knowledge of the Lord here in Dallas, Texas, the buckle of the Bible Belt that many other countries only dream of. There has been a deep sense of community with a group of close friends who have shared my hopes, dreams and failures with me... who have stood by my side in my wedding, girls that I have laughed with, cried with... prayed with. And I know that these friendships will go on, but they will change.

Ben put it well the other day when he said, "It's safe here." He was talking about the same haven Dallas Seminary and our community here has been to us. Yet we both know that we weren't called to a safe life. We follow and love a Savior who said things like, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" and "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Mt 16:24, 19:21). Dallas has been a time of learning and preparation. It wasn't a final destination. We always knew we would leave... (but that doesn't always make leaving easy).

Another thing I have been thinking about lately is Jesus' analogy of light, "Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Mt 5:15-16). A long time ago as I was seeking God's direction for my life, I looked up into a dark starless sky and suddenly saw two stars shining brightly. They permeated the darkness, but they were few. If I could take the liberty to modify Jesus' analogy of light I would add, "Neither do people light a lamp and go into the brightest room in the house, for how can it give light to the house when the light flowing from the house is already overpowering?" I know that some people, God has called to Dallas. Ben and I are not. We feel a compulsion for the darkest areas of the globe, a responsibility to let our lights shine there in the darkness for His glory.

So we go. In seven days our car will be packed, most of our possessions already sold, and we will set out on a journey, trusting Him to show us the road ahead and His will for how He will use our lives for His glory. Dallas we love you and will miss you, but we were never meant to stay. But you will remain in our dreams and memories of a spiritual haven. A place where squirrels and robins play in safety, and a place full of the truth and grace of Jesus Christ.


Eric said...

Wow. You're already almost to the end of your time in Dallas. That went quickly!

So what are you guys thinking about next? Are you packing up with a particular destination in mind? Or are you destined for a period of wilderness wandering? I'd love to see a post about what you guys are considering for the future.

It would be especially great if we could get you back in Europe again. :-)

Just Us - The Carlsons said...

Krista - thanks for sharing your reflections and expectations for God's placement. Praying this for you both (and those who you'll be serving with).
Your comments about safety and living in the brightest room resonate with me and our recent decision about K's new school. A bit of confirmation, yet still a little scarey.
Look forward to talking...