I remember being marked by this thought from a devotional book: Do not ask for outer blessing without the inner strength to receive it.
Like when the house sold and we downsized our possessions to a 10x10 storage unit. I watched 30 years of accumulation walk away with satisfied garage sale customers.
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth where moths eat them and rust destroys them … wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Matthew 6:19-21, NLT).
Then there was the day we gave lingering hugs to our four grown children, tears spilling over as we said our goodbyes.
“If you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine . . . If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it” (Matthew 10:37-39, NLT).
What would this new life look like as we entered uncharted territory? A new culture. A new language. We were now called missionaries. Even that sounded foreign.
The first evening in our partially furnished flat, we unpacked our clothes. I pulled out wrinkled blouses, giving them a good shake before mounting them on a hanger. With deep sighs, I held back tears, weary from travel and faced with a new reality.
Later that night on a pullout couch, we faced each other too exhausted for words. Dennis reached out to find my face in the dark, taking the back of his index finger to stroke my cheek. His touch turned my silent tears to quiet sobs. He pulled me close, giving me a light kiss on my tear-stained cheek and held me in his embrace until we both fell asleep.
“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NLT).
Transitions call for inner strength.