Deciding to Settle

I don't know if you are like me but I cringe at the word settle. Hearing this word offers a sentiment of somehow giving up a life of transience and spontaneity, and embracing a more sedentary, rhythmical life. This view also pushes against my inner world that is constantly reaching out, dreaming forward, taking steps to impact this world with change. I was given a painting once. During a conference I attended, an artist stood at the front and spread paint across a white canvas as the sessions rolled on. At the end, she called my name and gave it to me. The tittle of the art piece, Transition. Taped to the back is a paper with these words, 

"Change can be uncomfortable. Many people avoid change at all cost.
But the most beautiful things can come from change. 
The most beautiful times of the day are sunrise and sunset - the times of major transition. 
So don't run from change. 
If God has you in transition, press into Him.
Ask Him to show you the beauty that He wants to bring in spite of the discomfort." 

Transition can be hard, it is stretching and uncomfortable. Two years ago, we made a big decision, Eric quit his solid day job, and we left for mission's training in LA. Our vision, to do full time anti-trafficking work. We thought this training was the next step towards our return to Thailand. At the end, as we presented this vision to the leadership there, something felt amiss. For several nights I stood in the shower, tears streaming down my cheeks, honestly mad at God. I cringed at the idea of living in the states longer. But as we looked at it, something was unfinished. We both knew that God was reaffirming His call to our current location. Why? God, You better know what You are doing. 

Towards the end of our stay in LA, our clothes were dirty, and we needed to find a coin wash nearby. Walking across the street, we stumbled upon Maytag Coinwash. Hispanic radio was playing and somehow, I felt at home. Growing up in California, our lives were sprinkled with contact with people of various cultures and ethnicities. Many don't know this, but I am first generation American on my mother's side. As a Dutch Armenian immigrant, she and her family came across the Atlantic in a ship when she was 5 years old. The nations are in my blood. I love culture. 

Fast forward from those two weeks in LA, and we are almost at the two year mark. We recently were in the process of looking for a new home. Seriously, I made numerous calls, poured over the internet, and NO RESPONSE from ANYONE. Two weeks, a month passed by. Then while browsing again for the millionth time, I stumbled upon the add for a home I had looked at a month before. Previously listed as a rent to own, it was now just a rental. At the time, looking at the pictures, it was the home I wanted to live in!  For those of you who live in a large city, you know that there are places that you may feel comfortable to live in, and others not so much. Wichita is like that. It's BIG, and there are streets that speak of poverty, wealth, streets with kids running down the center, and others where not a soul is out. Often these places are in each other's backyard. It is hard to know if you want to live somewhere unless you drive there. So we did. On our way, we got turned around and drove past a Cambodian Buhhdist temple. I was so excited! This is where I want to live!!

This morning, the Syrian refugee crisis is on my heart. I honestly don't know what to do. I know that there is much that I can do. I think a lot about how to give my kids a taste of cultures, while living in the heartland of America. And here it is. I have chosen in my heart to not settle down but settle in. When I settle in, I am embracing my surroundings, the people, the circumstances, the social status, and letting God do a work in my life. The longing to travel to the nations is still there. But while I am here, I know that His world, the nations, are all around me. Whether in a coin laundry wash in LA, or in an ethnic community on the urban heartland, there are people who are longing for change. 

My life is marked by caring for two little people, supporting an artistic husband as together we pursue a life marked by compassion and justice. We want to make an impact, we want to be the change. You can too. You are uniquely positioned in the community you live in, with the people around you, to love. Love tells us that it is not about the things that we do but the people we touch. Settling in to love is the greatest invitation alive. It is what Jesus called us to do when He said, "Abide." It is a heart choice, to beat with His heart, to hear and see what moves Him, and to respond. This morning, I woke up before the girls, which is rare, and got to sit for a bit in His presence. "Quiet down, wait, just be." Oh it is so hard! I keep coming to John 15, the vine and the branches and there it is again...abide, love, bear much fruit. He is the one my heart settles for. I can hear little feet pitter pattering towards me, I think it is time, to embrace the chaos and joy. Will you join me? Let's not just settle down, lets settle in to the gift of life we have been given.