891676_65616631One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.

(Psalm 27:4)

During my teens, I had cultivated a bit of a green thumb, so I became an eye witness to the transformation of plants that I would relocate to their new abodes.  My favorite was a Coleus that I grew from a seed.  I enjoyed the beauty of this plant for at least 3 years.  To this day, I’ve never seen a ColeKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAus with leaves as large as this one grew.  Of course this meant that from time to time, it’s roots would pack out the pot it resided in.  The pattern I would notice after transferring it into a larger pot would be a few days of wilting followed by the production of beautiful sprouts of flowers followed by a growth spurt.

I feel like I can relate so well to plants that are uprooted from small pots to larger ones.  Finding myself trying to re-adjust to the Unites States has been more trying than I would ever imagine, but the grace of God is proving to be stronger than this trial.

I’ve been silent for two months now.  I didn’t even realize that two months had actually passed since my last post.  But during that time, I’ve found myself in a new, incredible, and special place of God’s presence where He is re-defining my life, my role, my ministry and my mandate.  This re-definition began upon my departure from South Africa, but what I hadn’t realized was that it was just that…a departure. I had been uprooted, plucked up, and now transplanted.  Therefore, I struggled to let go of the past so that I can embrace my future. 

In the 80s when I relocated from Cincinnati to Phoenix, someone asked me how I felt about uprooting.  I had no clear understanding what she was talking about.  After spending 20 years in Phoenix, I pondered that question again during my move to South Africa…again, nothing. But in moving from the first town I lived (for two years) to the last one, I experienced a mourning.  A friend of mine and I spent an entire weekend weeping.  This was weird for me, but for the first time I realized that I had laid down roots.  The roots laid in Rustenburg were much deeper, thus  the transition was a greater shock to my system…physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

KhumbuleKheyaSince my return, I would often find myself experiencing “khumbul’ekheya” moments.  Khumbul’ekheya means “remembering home”, which is also the name a popular TV show in South Africa where families are often reunited with long lost loved ones.  I had been feeling long lost ever since my return to the States. Although I was born and raised in the states, I never felt like I was at home unless I was in South Africa and most of my solace came from the relationships I had forged during my six years there.

I never imagined that it would be this difficult to re-acclimate to the very culture and society that I was born, raised and spent most of my adult life immersed in.  Yet I struggled.

Then one day I began to read “The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkinson.  It begins as a parable about a man named Ordinary who lived in the Land of Familiar.  He received a big dream from the Dream Giver.  In pursuit of that dream, he left the only home he knew, the Land Of Familiar. 

Dream GiverHe left his comfort zone and began a quest towards achieving his big dream.  The journey was wrought with obstacle after obstacle as he struggled through the Border Land, pressed through the Waste Land, refreshed and renewed himself in The Sanctuary, became a mighty warrior in the land of the Giants.  He endured all this to finally enter into and ultimately thrive in his Promised Land. 

It wasn’t the land he envisioned when he arrived because it would take accomplishing his big dream for it to be transformed into the Oasis he had so longed for.  One day he heard the voice of the Dream Giver say “come further”.  As he followed the voice, the Dream Giver said “well done.  Now come further.  I have bigger dreams for you.”  Along the horizon, he saw a vast land full of opportunity to achieve even bigger dreams.

As I read this parable, every stage of my road to and in South Africa began to flash before my eyes.  I could relate so well to the border bullies, border buddies, and border busters (those placed in your life to assist you in achieving your dream).  I met Faith, sought Wisdom, received Sanctuary, faced and fought Giants, and ultimately ended up in my land of promise fulfilling the dream that the Dream Giver had deposited in me. I felt as if the author of this book had broken into my life and began to stalk me.

When I reached the part about the dream giver admonishing Ordinary to leave behind the works of the past to once again step out of his comfort zone and “come further”, I found myself falling into a tailspin…into a complete and total state of mourning and grief.  I never realized just how much I was clinging to my past.  As awesome as it was, it was time for me to let go.  But I felt as if it weNtombire my only lifeline.  I was reminded of the words of one of my daughters, Ntombizodwa Zwane, during one of my farewell parties.  She said “Pastor Sharon has fulfilled her duty here in South Africa.  She has developed us, and we all have become leaders.  The job God gave her has been fulfilled.” 

I appreciated the statement, but embraced disbelief.  I wasn’t ready to consider my mission in South Africa to be “over”.  But as I continued to read “The Dream Giver”, those words rang in my spirit like the longest, hardest goodbye one could ever imagine.  The song “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” by Boys II Men began to play in my soul.  As I listened to the words, I mourned.  I grieved.  I’m sure my mourning was just as intense as it was when my parents passed away.  But then, I shed the spirit of mourning and the spirit of heaviness to embrace my Dream Giver.

I’m reminded of the post I wrote entitled “The Heart Of Worship”.  In it I wrote that what lies at the heart of worship is sacrifice.  Now I understand that I must be willing to sacrifice the dream I’ve not completely accomplished in my mind to pursue the mind of God.  And that’s what I’ve chosen to do.

Does this mean South Africa will never be in my sights again?  No.  Does it mean I’ll never get an opportunity to return?  No.  It simply means that I have entered into a new phase of life.  I’ve embarked upon a new journey, a journey containing its own borderland, its own wasteland, its own sanctuary, its own giants, and of course its own destiny.  Once I realized that, I could chart my progress on this journey. 

Once again, I’ve left my comfort zone.  I’ve faced border bullies and buddies in the borderland, and even experienced the harsh realities of the wasteland.  I’m so blessed and happy to now discover myself in the Sanctuary, a place to wash off the debris collected along the journey…a place to allow the light of my Father to expose character flaws that must be fixed in preparation for the rest of my journey…a place where I am to rest and allow Him to refill my cup until it overflows.

Like David, there is “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.”[1]

Armed with this knowledge and the assurance from my Dream Giver, I will now endeavor to resume posting.  I trust God to become the pen of a ready writer as my heart indicts a good matter[2].  I look forward to resting my ear at the heart of my Father once again and enjoying His warm embrace as He whispers “sweet somethings” in my spirit once again.

Love & Blessings!

[1] Psalm 27:4

[2] Psalm 45:1

One thought on “COME FURTHER

  1. lydia

    I thank God for your beautiful heart to love and laugh and to obey even when it hurt. For a season and time God led you to our lives in South Africa and you were faithful in your assignment. The seed you left still speaks. And you are missed and loved.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s