I remember, a year ago, how uncertain I felt when I wrote my New Year’s Eve post on my blog. I was in one of those dark periods of life, where it seems that God is working in people’s lives all around you–but He’s left you empty, quiet, and unsure of the meaning behind being alive. Maybe you caught those feelings from reading my blog at that time. I sang in the dark as much as possible and constantly tried to remind myself that God was good and had a plan for my life. But I felt dejected. I had worked so hard to be a nurse, and I was a nurse, but a little voice was whispering that there had to be more to God’s plan for me than living at home with my Mom and working three days a week at the community hospital for the rest of my life. I was restless. I tried to be content. I took off work for 5 weeks and went to Bible school the beginning of the year, to figure out what was wrong with me. I cried and prayed while I was there, and God spoke to me–“Alison, I love you just where you are, and just how you are. You don’t need to move mountains in foreign missions to be valuable and a true servant of God.” One quote became so grounding to me over that time:
I know now, Lord, why You utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before Your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?C. S. Lewis
God knew that 2020 would be hard, and perhaps in the month of January He was reassuring His people everywhere of this. I spent hours on call over the next few months when they didn’t need me in my community hospital job during the lock-down. I had to again remember my worth lay in the love of God and not in the work I did. I started dating someone I barely knew–there was very little security in that. Fear could have kept me from so many beautiful moments if not for the grace and love of my Father. I lived for months unsure of whether or not I would be serving for six months in Bangladesh. I had to let go of my need to know everything, my goal-oriented focus.
God has been so good to me. He worked everything out according to his sovereignty, and in amazing ways. He had not left me in the dark a year ago, He was just teaching me to trust Him as He prepared me for the year to come. Every moment came to me through His fingers, and He intended it for good. Because of this I am excited to face the coming year. Following are some things I am anticipating. Not holding tightly, but trusting that God will work in each situation in a remarkable, sparkling, sovereign way.
#1–I am excited about sharing my experiences this coming year with Ben. Learning to know him was a large part of my 2020. He taught me so much–to dream instead of expecting the worse, to bathe my life in prayer. He made me laugh so many times last year, and I am sure 2021 will also be filled with the mirth.
#2–This spring I am doing an independent one-on-one study with a Creative Writing professor at my college. She will be helping me outline and write a book about my experiences in Bangladesh. I do not know where this experience will take me, or if I will try to publish the book or not, but I am still excited about how God might use this opportunity!
#3–I am blessed to finish out my 6 month term here in Bangladesh this year. I have learned so much already from these people and in my experiences in the clinic. I know God wants me here and has good reasons for it, even if I don’t know what all of them are. He opened up travel just in time for me to come, September (when I moved) was right after my two-year contract at the hospital ended, and He kept me from getting Covid even when all of Ben’s family and then my Mom tested positive. It was remarkable watching everything fall into place.
#4–I am so excited to go home and live with my Mom and little sister again. Truly absence makes the heart grow fonder… I wonder how I ever took them for granted or longed to move away. I also can’t wait to say hello to my other friends and family that I’ve missed for these months, and to say a special hello to my soul-sister’s little son, gifted to her Christmas Eve.
#5–There are so many other hopes and aspirations for this coming year–I look forward to getting back into being a nurse in the States after being a mission nurse for awhile. I hope to make some new dresses when I get home, after wearing the same several over and over here in Bangladesh. (What girl doesn’t anticipate new clothes?) I am planning to finally graduate with my Bachelor’s degree in the Spring, and that, my friends, is exciting after the sixish years of studying that have been my life since I was nineteen…
Best of all, I know God will be with me through all of these experiences, regardless of how they turn out. I am not afraid, because He has given me the Spirit of power and not of fear, and through His strength, I am a conqueror. I don’t need to know everything that will happen.
I am so grateful, so grateful, to be a daughter of God as I look towards 2021. You are yourself the answer. Before Your face questions die away...