My Fortress and my Sanctuary

Our family went to Manila for the weekend. I've been wanting to see Old Manila, also known as Intramuros or The Walled City. This was part of our preparation for transitioning to the US – seeing places in our host country we'd like to see before we leave.

Looking at Fort Santiago in Manila on Saturday; the ingenious of man to build such strong structures, caused my heart to sing in praise to my Saviour and God.

Psalm 62 played in my head:
He is my fortress Psalm 62:2.

Oh God, You are my God My lips praise You! You are my rock and my salvation My fortress, my strong tower

You are my shield and my strength, I worship you.

In silence do I find You!

My soul thirsts for You! You are my strength and shield I love You, my Abba Daddy!

I will not be greatly shaken Shaken, yes, but always firm in Him.

Thoughts start streaming about my 11 years in this country. Looking at those strong rocks and amazing architecture, my soul blessed my Saviour. I have entered my last 16 days here in the Philippines, and since May 1, knowing we leave May 28, I've been having a full range of emotions. Thankful beyond words for all the experiences, yet looking forward to coming to the states to be near family and friends. Though, I must admit, the transition will have many challenges to establish a house of our own for our family, purchase a car, decide what school to have our sons attend, where to live, etc.

This journey has definitely answered a prayer I started praying when our first child was born. I started praying that my children would not know just “white, middle-class, Americana.” I desired for them to see beyond the suburb. And we all have been blessed with that ability on our missionary journey.

We moved here in 2006 with no idea what was to be on our path in Davao. But oh, the wonderful people here I've fallen in love with, the stark reality of rich and poor, extreme poverty, extreme joy, rising to challenges and responsibilities, intense reeducation of what is really important. The being a “minority' and never really “fitting in”.

As I reminisce about the lessons learned on the mission field I have been shaken. In quietness and trust I've learned to wait.

I've been reshaped, remolded. I'm not the person I was 11 years ago. I have grown stronger by seeing so many ministries bear fruit and by working through some difficult and persistent trials personally, relationally, within our family, and with colleagues. And I've learned so much along the way. I've been driven by winds, pillaged by evil intent, laid waste by emotional traumas, and healed – in the shadow of my loving Abba's wings. My soul clings to Him and He upholds me.

A book is in the works on my missionary journey musings.

I have looked upon You, Daddy, in the sanctuary (Psalm 63:2).

Hewn from strong rock, tall tower reaching the heavens. Our day tour so hot, each of us so thirsty and drinking refreshing bottles of water. My soul thirsts for You, Dad.

He is my strong tower.

In the shelter of His wings is healing and shade and rest. He is my rock, my redeemer, my salvation, my fortress, and my water of life. In Christ alone.