The Chair Faced the Window
I was scared to become a global worker. I barely had a handle on being a wife and mother! Despite my best efforts, I had still become the woman I vowed I would never be. My life was a mad juggling act with plates, balls, and pins tumbling down around my ears. My relationship with the Lord was just as chaotic. Yet, somehow, I had always managed to get by. Barely.
But a global worker? I did not think my ‘smoke and mirrors’ existence could hold up under that scrutiny. Nevertheless, along with my husband, I knew that this was what God wanted us to do, so I was willing. Yet I could not help thinking that God must surely be hard up to resort to such drastic measures as me!
It did not take long during the global worker training for God to gently blow my protective smoke-screen away and allow all my carefully placed mirrors to shatter and crack. Every leg I thought I had left to stand on was unmistakably bumped behind the knee…and that is when I was ready to learn something.
A veteran global worker couple, Don and Dee Hay, invited our family to have dinner with them one evening. They had served in Bolivia, set up a training center in New Zealand, helped with a school in Australia, and, after several other ministries, finally served as US representatives for our mission before retiring. Our son, who was in third grade at the time and dearly loved anything having to do with Australia, became attached to them and all the adventurous stories they had to share, and they gladly welcomed our family into their lives.
We had a wonderful meal and then went into the living room to take pictures together. One of their Lazy-Boy chairs was out of place, with its back to the middle of the room. We figured they had probably vacuumed right before we came and had forgotten to put it back. We had to move it again anyway in order to get back far enough to take a picture of all nine of us on and around the sofa.
With our memory-making complete, our family began to put the furniture back for them. We were just repositioning the Lazy-Boy where it should be, when Don walked back into the room. He smiled and said, “That is the chair I have my quiet time in. I like it to face the window so I can look out as I read God’s Word. Seeing His creation makes me feel closer to Him.” And he helped us turn it around with its back to the middle of the room once again.
Later, as we were leaving, he pointed to a chair in another room, also out of place. “That’s her chair,” he whispered, as if it were some precious secret. “She likes to look out during her Bible reading too.”
Driving back to the Missions Institute that summer evening, I kept thinking about those chairs. Their quiet position spoke volumes to my disorderly heart. They told a story that I desperately needed to hear.
Every day, this sweet global worker couple turned their backs on what seemed normal or what ‘looked good’ to others. They did not mind being ‘out of place’ in our world. They chose a direction that was outside of themselves and much bigger than they were. They wisely put themselves in a situation to be wooed back to the Creator of the garden, the way it was always meant to be. Every morning, Don and Dee made a faithful pilgrimage to those two chairs that faced the window, because their hearts fully faced their God.
My heart, on the other hand, was all over the board—and that was no longer working. I could not even approximate ‘getting by’ any more. And I didn’t want to. A friend used to comment that “lasting change will never happen in our lives until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change.” That is exactly where I was. I was tired of all the frantic juggling. If I was going to become a global worker, I wanted to be a good one. A fresh breeze of new desires was beginning to stir and tug at the sails of my life. Like the Hays, I was ready to change direction.
That was eight years ago. You will still have to step over the stray plates, balls, and pins rolling around in the corners of my life, but it is nothing like it was. Early each morning, in a little second-floor apartment at our USA Home Office in Florida, you will find an old, wooden rocker with its back to the middle of the room. I found my way to the window and discovered that my life was waiting there.