Blogging is an odd thing for me as I don’t write so that my words will be known, but I write so that I can finish processing my thoughts. Each post is a set of thoughts that have come about after weeks of thinking and praying; I hope they bless others. Yet they’re truly just my journey. So if you read them, thank you for walking with me.

July has been such an odd month. I feel like we’ve finally found some friends who have become the jewels in our lives. They’re the highlights of Scotland, and we value them above all that Scotland offers. We’ve also had some of our lowest days; days when the “Scottish mentality” feels like a mountain that we’ll never cross. I think that cultural differences last much longer than any of us truly say. And in fact, it’s only when I meet those who have been here as immigrants for 10+ years that I feel like I get to hear the truth. We’re never truly one who fits into a culture that is not our own, and I’ve wrestled with that a lot. I have many thoughts and feelings on this subject, but we’ll save them for another time. So as much as we struggle with feelings of being settled vs. unsettled, we’ve had to go beyond the feelings and face the reality of our situation.

And I’m only going to skim the surface of some of these thoughts as (again) they belong on a different blog. But my dear husband (and I’ve come to refer to him as “dear,” because he’s truly dear to my heart and my life. He is my partner who has and who continues to cross every mountain, every stream, every lake, and every storm with me, and he is the crown jewel in my life.) and I had to have a hard conversation yesterday; one I never dreamed we would have about Scotland! We had to ask the question of if our circumstances are leading us to leave this place? When the finances are not there, how do you continue on? Do we live like George Muller did? Do we live like {insert name of every famous missionary} did? How do we move forward when we know that God called us here to do this work and yet we do not have the funds needed to keep us here? If I leave my work here to get a job, then we’ll need to put the kids into public schooling. That then cancels out our reason for coming to Scotland in the first place. So that is a no. Mark cannot return to the States without starting the immigration process over, so that is a no. If he returns to driving semi-trucks, we will never see him as the hours are very long and quite dangerous. We have zero peace about that option. Yet nothing else pays enough for us to stay here.

So we’ve exhausted our efforts in trying to find work here. We’ve had multiple offers to move down to London; we’ve told them that we cannot move down permanently as we know God is not calling us to London. However, we’ve now had offers to make London work part-time or remotely. We’re not getting any other offers for work . . . so we’d be foolish to not see where these lead. How bizarre would it be to commute to London? Yet that seems to be where the doors are opening. It feels as if the doors to work in Edinburgh have slammed loudly in our faces, and so what else can we do?

And I’m sharing all of this, because I could scream and shout and ask God where He is in all of this. Yet that would be a futile waste of my time and my emotions. I KNOW that God is right here with us. I know that the Father is seeing and hearing us. I know that with all my heart; I also know that He’s not just sitting and watching. I know He’s working on our behalf. We have felt the opposition from the Enemy from the minute we landed in the UK almost two years ago. We know that the devil does not want us here. So we also realize there’s a battle going on that we cannot see. And I also think that there’s a battle going on for our hearts as we’ve had so many times in this past year where we could have gotten bitter, could have stayed in a very bad depression, could have turned on each other, and could have said,  “wow, this is too tough and we quit!” Yet I feel like after every battle with/for our emotions, we get a new sense of peace. As the uncertainty grows, and as our emotions swing back and forth, there’s a new sense of strength being built in us. We haven’t lost hope.

This past Monday, Mark had a conversation with a recruiter in Edinburgh that was just so unfair to Mark. It was tough in every sense of the word, and it showed us the things that we so dislike about the ways that people in Edinburgh can act. Yet Mark chose maturity and kindness in the situation, and at the end of the day, it felt like things shifted again. We took one more step up the mountain and got more endurance. We surrendered more. We told the Lord that we’re happy to stay or go. We just want to be where God wants us; that’s our heart. He gave us this heart for Scotland; He has sustained it for this long. And we trust that as we battle to stay here, He will keep us here – and keep us here with soft hearts.

And so we live with a huge amount of uncertainty right now. We don’t know how our bills will be paid in August, but I trust they will get paid. We don’t know if Mark will have a job, but we keep our hope that he will. And more than that, we trust that the job will be better than we could have ever dreamed. We serve a big God, who is our Father and whose character is so spot on. He’s so good, so kind, so faithful, and His heart for us is bursting in love. He has seen us and He knows us. We respond in kind by wanting to know Him more. And in these trials, we press in closer. May we know Him more; may we trust His faithfulness more. May He who called us keep us here until He says it’s time to go. May He keep our hearts soft, our hands open, and our eyes renewed to see the hope of His calling. He is good, and He is good all the time. That will always be our theme and the thing we plant ourselves on – the goodness of God. In His goodness, we stand with hope and faith that He will do all that He has promised.

**So I chose this photo of beautiful Scotland to accompany this post as we’re just thankful to have been blessed to get to know Scotland. I have heard my God as He has sung over this nation; I know His heart for the people of this nation. Regardless of what happens to our little family, we will always treasure this place and its people.

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