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Covid and lost joys

Submitted by Karen Rispin on Wed, 12/02/2020 - 12:31

This crazy Covid year has emphasized that sometimes God decides to give something back in an unexpected way here on earth. He really does give and take away in interesting patterns! But with so much love..

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I’ve felt several times that something I loved was irrevocably lost to me. Maybe you’ve felt that too. I’ve realized that God holds who we are in his hand, including things we love which seem lost. (Check out CS Lewis “Great Divorce” for insights on how God redeems that which we love.)

Many of you know that I grew up in Kenya. Africa was in my heart. I was also one of those little girls who desperately loved horses. Phil grew up in Edmonton, and he loved airplanes and photography right from the start. He hurt his eyes badly and that drew him to Christ, but he thought it had lost him the chance to fly. He had to leave that with God. We met at Penn State where he’d gone for graduate school. Our kids were born in Saskatchewan. We were at Prairie Bible College when God unexpectedly opened doors for Phil to fly after all. He went on to teach aviation at Prairie, but he didn’t have much time or resources for photography. I was home with kids and family was central to our hearts. I wrote books, did art and learned to train horses while we were involved with Blue Bronna, a horse focused wilderness camp. Life was good. It hurt my heart that I’d left any connection to Africa behind. Had to open my hands and leave it in God’s hands. Fifteen years after I’d consciously given up on Africa, we moved to Texas where we both taught at LeTourneau University. Several years later, doors opened for me to do research on wheelchairs in Kenya. Africa was back in my life!!

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We loved our jobs. But we weren’t near family. Had to leave that in God’s hands. Phil and I started the Assistive Technology Catalyst Project to link mission hospitals to resources for caring for people with disabilities. That was a very scary leap. Thanks for your prayers and support! Part of the process was that we were able to move back to Canada near family!! Then Covid happened!! No travel to Africa. No travel at all!! Phil’s photography and videography skills were suddenly front and center! The conferences I was to speak at were now online presentations. With his skills, we were able to do a good job. Great conversations came out of these so even without traveling to Africa or conferences, God has been opening doors!! Thanks for your prayers!

One never knows what God has in mind. I don’t know if Phil will fly much this side of heaven. I don’t know if travel to Africa will come back, or even if we will be able to get together with family this Christmas. I’m learning that God is holding all of the things we love for us, often in unexpected ways!