Some of my biggest moments and breakthroughs these days happen on our treadmill.
Although a sad replacement for beautiful hills and trails, the treadmill becomes a place for worship, thinking and praying. My headphones lead worship, direct prayer and often preach to my soul. In English… which is pretty important.
I have not been running like I was in France but my running journey is not yet done. I still love to pound out a mile or two when I can whether it is 100 and humid or not.
Generally, as a place of worship for me, my playlist is full of inspirational Christian music with a good beat to keep me going… Mandisa, Natalie Grant, Blanca, TobyMac, For King and Country… I love them all.
But I’d recently heard a song on a facebook video by Rachel Platten called Fight Song.
Now I know… I’m a little behind the times on this. If you know me, you know that my knowledge of most secular music is limited to about 10 pop songs from the 90s, a few country hits and the songs from Newsies or Little Mermaid.
Truly, my personal music preferences don’t stray far from Christian radio and the newest worship album.
But when I heard Fight Song play during a random facebook video, I thought, “This is a good running song.” and without much thought or even having heard the whole song, added it to my running playlist on youtube.
After dinner the other night, I threw on some running clothes, plugged in the transformer, opened our bedroom door so the cord of the treadmill could reach the transformer, moved the laundry basket that was resting on the treadmill, turned it all on, added a fan for good measure, put on my shoes and began a 3 mile run/walk.
The run was going as normal.
Until this song played.
We are in the last 4 months of our term. You can browse back through the pages of this blog and read our journey from starting the paperwork, to telling our church, to moving out of our house and selling everything, to traveling from church to church, to getting ready to fly out, to moving to France for language school, to learning French, to running a marathon, to getting ready mentally to move to Africa, to landing in Africa, to figuring out how to live in a developing country… to getting ready to go back home for a year furlough.
That paragraph makes my heart pound.
4 months to go…
I really thought I’d already felt ALL the feels. all the emotions. all the tears. all the joys.
The cycle would just be on repeat now.
New Year’s Eve was powerful for me. That clock ticking from 2016 to 2017, the calendar flipping from December to January, and our deadline going from 5 months to 4.
I felt like I was falling down a ski hill, tumbling and careening on an unending, blinding slide down a huge hill where I can’t see the bottom.
Not all a bad feeling. More excitement, terror, worry, extreme happiness, overwhelm and exhaustion all wrapped up into one.
How does somebody land back in the USA after nearly 3 years of being gone? How does someone finish everything here while preparing for a year in our old lives there? How do all the details come together for yet another continental move?
We left with 3 littles and now we return with 2 preteens and 1 teenager.
I left running 3-4 miles to running a marathon in France… and the life lessons learned in that process are many.
I left not knowing how to live, exist, work and play right in the chaotic, debilitating mile 17 of this process.
I left never having seen the world in the way I’ve seen it now.
I left never having experienced full time missions or experienced the daily paradox of missionary life.
I left not knowing what I was capable of doing with God literally standing in for me through every single weakness.
I left not knowing so many things.
I left in faith, believing one step at a time… and I arrive home as another of those obedience steps.
I arrive home knowing less in many ways than I did before.
We leave our house, our friends, the churches and pastors that we’ve been getting to know.
We leave our work and half of our life goes on pause.
All of these things have been building and the tumbling down the hill has continued.
What have we done? Have we made an impact? Have we completed what we came to do? Are we ready to talk about our experiences?
It sure has felt like we are a small boat on a really massive ocean.
But we are learning just one word, one loving action can make a heart open.
We are learning that with the one match of our lives, God can explode His light through dark places. Even if that explosion is actually more like a small conversation in a buutik or spending the day sitting in a small hut. A birthday party for our guard or showing God’s love to the painter.
We are writing our fight song.
And as I ran, I cried.
When the song says, “And all those things I didn’t say, wrecking balls inside my brain, I will scream them loud tonight. Can you hear my voice this time?” I could see our family stepping off the plane and setting our feet on American soil for the first time in nearly 3 years.
I saw the emotions we will feel and the weight ahead of sorting out all those wrecking balls in our brains.
I saw my girls.
And I really cried.
They don’t yet know what all this means. They don’t understand how fearless, how strong, how amazing they are. They don’t yet comprehend the magnitude of what they are doing. They don’t see the incredible, amazing things they’ve learned. The incredible, amazing women they are becoming.
I saw our families and friends.
The song says, “Losing friends and I’m chasing sleep, everybody’s worried about me, in too deep, say I’m in too deep…”
I know they’ve wondered if we are in too deep. I know they’ve felt helpless and too far away to be there for us the way they want to be.
Then the song says, “And it’s been two years, I miss my home but there’s a fire burning in my bones… Still believe”
I still believe.
Even if we’ve been in too deep, we are moving forward. We are writing our fight song. We are working through the lessons, the experiences and the struggles required to fight back the unreached statistics of our world, to push back against the spiritual strongholds in this part of Africa, and to be long term workers when the turnover rates are exceedingly high.
This is our fight song.
With God’s help, we are alright.
His power is in us.
We are strong because He is with us every single step of the way.
Thank you for believing with us. For holding us up as we figure out what living in this fight full time looks like. For inspiring us, encouraging us and journeying with us.
Our fight song is being written.
Another verse, another note, another lesson of faith.
A fight song in the making, pulling our hearts and giving us courage.
I finished the run and spent the last few days figuring out how to put this all into words. Words on a blog that have catalogued our journey and shown you bits and pieces of life #behindtheprayercard…
And I’ll end this post as the song ends…
Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion