Many of you know that our vision is to open up Pilgrim House, a home-away-from-home for the pilgrims who arrive in Santiago after walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. After six years of living in Spain and working toward launching Pilgrim House, we only have a couple of major hurdles left. The most immediate one is that we’re waiting for city hall to issue building permits so we can begin renovations. We met with the city surveyor last week to find out the status of our paperwork, and it was discouraging news. We submitted our building project back in August, and the surveyor hasn’t touched it yet. She’s still reviewing projects that were submitted in July, and then she’ll review the ones submitted in August (it’s a logical system – I can respect that!).
She estimated it would take another month before she could tell us something. So – we wait, at least for another month. We remind ourselves to honor the process, fight against frustration, and try to face the wait with cheerful hearts. The paperwork process is out of our control, which in a funny way gives us a lot of peace.
My husband, Nate, wrote this note to our teammates the day we met with city hall. It was a good note, not only applicable to this journey that we’ve been on, but also to so many things in life:
“The song ‘House of God, Forever’, by Jon Foreman, popped up on my iPad.
In listening to this I was reminded of the fact that the Lord truly is our shepherd. I sometimes forget it myself, but every step on this journey has been one into unknown territory. Every new day, every new task, every facet of our lives here has been one step after another into uncharted territory. It’s still true for Faith and me after six years, and it’s still true for each of you at your point in your journey. And this psalm, this song, is true of all of us.
A few lines that stick out to me today:
‘I won’t be wanting.’
‘He makes me rest in fields of green, by quiet streams.’
‘I will not fear, cause you are with me. You’re always with me.’
‘Surely goodness will follow me,
In the house of God.
My prayer for you all today is that you recognize how you are following Him into the unknown. And how good He is in guiding us. The way is new, it might be rocky, muddy, or simply frightening. But he’s there ahead of us. With him we won’t be wanting, he’ll lead us to rest. We can put fear aside remembering he is with us. His goodness follows us wherever we go.”
So, at this moment, we know two things: first, we need to face the reality that our building permits aren’t coming for at least another month, and we can’t move forward in opening Pilgrim House until we have them. Second, the Lord guides us and goes ahead of us. Even though we don’t know exactly how this story unfolds, he does. And because of that, we don’t need to pine away. Though we don’t have building permits yet, though we haven’t opened up Pilgrim House yet, though we can’t welcome in pilgrims and sit with them on the sofas yet, it’s all the same: we won’t be wanting. We won’t be anxious and impatient, and we don’t need to be afraid of the uncertainty. We can rest in the waiting, because we have a good Shepherd who will lead us on when it’s time to go. When you put it that way, my heart actually is cheerful.