The last year has been a year of uncertainty for us.  Interviews for different residency programs started in October.   My husband traveled to many different cities, figuring out what a life in that program – a life in that city – might look like for us.  As we narrowed down his top choices, I visited several places.  Again, trying to figure out what a life in that city would hold.  It was not until the end of March that we found out where life would take us next, where God would take us next.  Once we knew that we would be moving to Ann Arbor, more uncertainty followed.  Where would we live? What would my job be like? Will we make friends?  How will we get there? It was time to make plans, but we wanted to do that faithfully, taking steps that would glorify God.  We prayed a lot and tried to figure out what trust really meant.

What I’ve learned is that trust is deeply tied to surrender.  Surrendering control. Surrendering my own ideas of what my life should look like. Surrendering my desires to know what lies ahead.  It has been more than just trusting that God has a plan for my life. It has been believing in my core that God will work for my good – in the big events and the little details – and that he will provide. 

This year I tried to do my part. We toured the city and looked for houses and I applied for jobs. However, once I felt that I had done all I could, I had to practice surrender. Every day I had to practice surrender, trusting that God would provide for us.  I’ve had to admit to myself that God really does know better than I do and He will take care of me.

Since we’ve been here, I’ve been able to see God’s faithfulness in so many ways.  We are living in a home that we love and I ended up here at First Congregational Church. I find it funny and ironic that when I worked to surrender my plans to God, he placed me in His house, serving His people, for His glory every day. 

Sometimes when we grasp so tightly to our own desires, we miss out on opportunities that God has waiting for us.  We don’t leave room for his grace or the fullness of life he has in store for us.  The maker of the heavens wants to hold us in his hands and take us through this life, we just have to surrender and trust that he will be faithful and provide. 

Photojournalism Exhibit at FCC

the gaze

The gaze. It is the gaze of generation of young people who have witnessed the systemic injustice, the heartbreak, the abuse, and the neglect that children have endured. This gaze is not a gaze of hopelessness. These people, arm and arm, have not given into despair. They have met the harsh reality that the solution isn’t easy. Love and kindness alone cannot fix the decades of oppression. They are heartbroken. They will never be the same. But arm in arm they realize that realities like this are just, that realities. With each shoulder, they sense responsibility. They are not responsible to save the child they fell in love with that week, as much as they may feel that burden. They are responsible for remembering. They are responsible for advocating. They are responsible for being bigger than the petty competitions, materialism, or self-absorption for which we are tempted. And we accept the responsibility. Will you join us?

This is one of the 11 photos and narratives our youth mission team has posted as part of our Pine Ridge photojournalism exhibit which opens today, Friday. Take a break from the heat and booths to come inside our church art gallery and hear the stories of the children and culture who have forever changed our lives. Youth and leaders will host the gallery from 11 am – 2 pm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Hope to see you there! 

Darcy Crain-Polly