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Dead Mail and Other Gaps

Dead Mail and Other Gaps

SEPTEMBER 28, 2020    |    3.5 MINUTE READ

This summer we learned about a place called the Dead Mail Center. Apparently, when the United States Postal Service deems a piece of mail to be undeliverable and unreturnable, it goes to the Dead Mail Center, which is a giant warehouse in Atlanta that collects all such mail. As far as we can tell, it's a black hole that devours mail and refuses to spit anything back up and, as such, is the source of great frustration. We learned about this place because all of our homeschool curriculum for the new school year ended up there, and it has not been recovered. My homeschool plans were foiled by the Dead Mail Center. All the time and energy I put into researching curriculum, making decisions, and coordinating ways to get it overseas for our boys—it all went into the black hole that is the Dead Mail Center. Our plans disintegrated like so many other plans in the year 2020.

Four children coloring orchestra seating charts for music class.

Students in Krista's music class in early 2020 create an orchestra seating chart.

The situation was frustrating because of the logistical gymnastics required to get our homeschool year back on track. But before the frustration could even set in, I felt defeated. I truly didn't know how to get our curriculum overseas and I was left feeling the weight of all the gaps that would surely define a homeschool year cobbled together with nothing but me and a whiteboard. The defeat consumed me for a while. The gaps staring me in the face were only the latest of all the gaps we've felt this year. Eli's parents weren't able to visit us like they planned, and it left a gap in our hearts (and in the Grandparent Spoiling Department). COVID-19 and its restrictions have left gaps in our social life; it's also revealed how short-staffed the hospital is and has left considerable gaps in the schedule and on the wards. Colleagues and friends have left, and then more left, and still more are leaving soon, leaving gaps in our hearts again and again and again. Our homeschool co-op has dwindled to just our family for this season, leaving teaching gaps for me to fill and classmate gaps for the boys that simply won't be filled. Our church has reopened but with restrictions that do not allow children to attend, leaving a continual gap that only one parent can attend church while the other stays home with the boys. Gaps, gaps, and more gaps. They multiplied until they broke me, leaving me defeated without hope of filling them.

A boy filling out a worksheet for school.

One of the Horn children focuses on schoolwork.

It was then, in the brokenness and defeat, that God whispered something to my heart. Gaps abound and holes have left damage, but we serve a God of the gaps.

There is not an answer to every problem, and sometimes the only way forward is to let go of current hopes and simply put one foot in front of the other and see where God leads. But even in the upending of dreams and the confusion of current circumstances, God is able to stand in the gaps. When my first plan for getting our homeschool curriculum overseas failed, and then our second plan failed too, God provided a third plan that was way more complicated than the original plan but will still work in the end. And if that ultimately fails too, God has already tended to my heart and reminded me that He's holding our children and their education in His hands and will use this school year for their good no matter what the curriculum situation is (or isn't). As we tread through a season of loss and loneliness, God has allowed our family to form closer bonds as we encourage one another. As the staffing needs at the hospital are not enough, God upholds the doctors one day at a time and has given them greater unity during these stretched days.

Three boys climbing a tree and smiling.

The Horn boys climbing a tree.

He may not provide the answers we seek and long for, but God stands in the gaps of our heartaches and defeat. He may not fill all the gaps with tangible solutions, but He fills them with Himself.

In this season I've been praying this prayer: "Lord, fill me. Fill me with you. Fill me so that whatever comes out of me is of you. My thoughts, my words, my actions, my reactions... May they be of you. And fill me to overflowing so that something can be poured out again, and let that something be of you and you alone." I've often prayed that God would fill me with peace, or joy, or patience, or wisdom. But in this season, I haven't been able to pray such things. I just pray that God would fill me with Himself. "Fill me with you." I know and testify that God, the God of the gaps, is able to hear and answer that prayer. He's been hearing that prayer for me and filling all the gaps in my heart and mind these days.

Krista and her three sons pose for a picture.

Krista Horn and her three sons.


PRAY: Have you noticed some gaps opening up in your life this year? Are you feeling defeated? Pray this prayer: “Lord, fill me with you.” He already has a plan to fill those gaps or help you move forward despite them. Trust that He will follow through, and let Him be more important than whatever solutions you’re seeking.

Global Worker Bio: Krista Horn and her husband, Eli, live in Kenya with their three sons. Eli serves at Chogoria Hospital while Krista homeschools, manages the administrative side of their ministry, and remains active in the global worker community. You can follow their journey through their blog.

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