by Michelle Fong Romig
Since 2004 I had dreamed of moving to Central Asia to witness to unreached people for Christ. It wasn’t always a smooth road, but through years of prayer, wise counsel, theological training, God’s blessing in ministry, and even the provision of a husband who shared the same vision… everything seemed to affirm that I was to go.
The plan seemed so perfect, and I couldn’t believe how God was bringing it all together. But then things took an unexpected turn. As the plane began its descent, I had a sudden and unexplainable panic attack. With tears in my eyes, I cried, “I don’t want to be here. I just don’t want to be here”! Little did I know how much that would be my refrain for the next year.
Without getting into all the gory details, in that year we got burnt out and deflated. But God was faithful! There were some wise and gracious brothers and sisters with us in that valley, who helped us to see that we needed some time away from the situation. I was pregnant at the time, so we planned our return to the US for the birth of our daughter. One year after we moved to the place we once loved, we left with little desire to return.
My life felt as if it was in shambles. Even though I knew the joy of a supportive and godly husband, and the blessing of a beautiful daughter, I felt lost and broken. My dreams had been shattered, I had no sense of who I was, and I felt hurt by what had happened.
But thankfully God had already begun a work of healing in me. I took the opportunity to rest and rediscover the joy of knowing my identity is in Christ alone.
Slowly, I noticed the sun shining in my world again. I got to study God’s word and grow with some precious women from church. I went on medication for the depression that had fogged up my mind, and the haze began to lift. I also eventually settled into my new role as a stay-at-home mom, and enjoyed our low stress situation.
One day, at the suggestion of my sister, I took a look back at my journal from that difficult valley in my life. As I read the scribbling handwriting of a broken and lost woman, I gasped every few pages. Prayers that had been expressed as mere pleas for mercy… every single one of them, I discovered, had been answered:
God, please shine through our marriage. In the midst of circumstances that could have easily torn our marriage apart, the Lord allowed our marriage to not only sustain the blows, but to grow stronger because of them.
God, please don’t let me lose sight of you. Despite my tendency to lose sight of him, the Lord never let go of me… not for a moment. In fact, I can now identify with the words of Job, who after all his suffering declared, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5).
God, teach me to forgive. This is still a challenge, but forgiveness has a much deeper meaning to us now. And as a result, it gives us a deeper appreciation of the grace and forgiveness that was given to us at the cross.
God, we need wisdom about the future. Done.
If we aren’t to go back overseas, please show us where to go. Done.
God please let this baby be born. Done.
God, I hope that our baby has a good laugh, and that I’ll get to hear it often. Done, and done.
It is a gift to look back and see God’s faithfulness. The God who holds the world in his hands sees us in our despair over transitions. When we’re broken, he heals us. He answers our prayers and the cries of our hearts above and beyond what we could even imagine or ask for! What a glorious, abundantly gracious, and faithful God!
How have you seen God’s faithfulness in the midst of the transitions and valleys of life?
ABOUT THE WRITER
Michelle is a native San Franciscan who currently lives in Kansas with her pastor husband Curt and their daughter, Izzy. When she’s not attending to the needs of her busy daughter, she and Curt love to watch “The Office” and read. Michelle also enjoys seeing lives transformed by the gospel through refugee ministry and representing the Starfish Project, a ministry which rescues women out of prostitution. Michelle blogs occasionally at The Romig Chronicles.