The Pool. The Pit. The Forest.

FACT: Living on the other side of the world, away from friends and family, is hard.

It really is.

Hearing about engagements and weddings being planned and not being able to support and celebrate the way I could if I wasn’t living overseas is sad. Although it’s absolutely incredible that an option exists to be virtually present at wedding dress fittings–  I can jump up and down and squeal and gush at how beautiful the bride-to-be looks in the gown of her dreams– but then again, I can’t help her with the buttons or squeeze hands with the other bridesmaids. I can’t go to lunch with them afterwards; I’m trapped inside the perimeters of the rectangular screen. Physically contained. Distance more apparent than ever.

Sometimes I wish I could either A)freeze life or B)be in two places at once. However, unless God decides to repeat Joshua 10, I know that the sun is not going to stand still anytime soon. So that’s not an option, and since science still hasn’t accomplished the latter, I guess that’s out too.

My sister surprised my family by flying home for my mom’s birthday and for Christmas. Knowing my parents had at least one of their overseas adventurers home for the holidays made me feel not as terrible, but at the same time it was difficult to think that, excluding me, my entire family was together. To make it seem like I was there, my mom blew up a lifesize picture of my face and brought it to all the family gatherings. I was in the all the photos that were taken, including the one my grandparents’ sent out with their Christmas letter. My sister said she couldn’t leave the house without my face or it felt like something was missing. This sweet gesture emphasizes to an even greater extent how amazing my family is and how it’s that much harder to be separated from them.

So, I lift my eyes up. Off of myself. Unto the Lord.

For those little dips into my pool of homesickness, I gulp for Him to breathe into me. As I hover over pits of culture shock (something I veritably denied I would experience), I beg for Him to keep my perspective foot from slipping. When I got lost in my forest of fears, fears of being forgotten or excluded as my friends’ lives move forward, I trust Him and stick to the path He clears for me.

God, like the God I know him to be, has been more than gracious to ensure and instill a tangible peace to affirm I’m right where He wants me to be. I know I’ve said it before, but let me reiterate: there’s nothing like knowing you’re in the center of God’s will. It’s a feeling that’s impossible to miss. Every day I am amazed at how obedience and surrender lead me into God’s presence. He delights in my decision to serve, and I marvel at how He desires to use me.

It doesn’t change the stated FACT, but it does change how I can respond. By clinging to His promises. By making Him my everything. By striving to know Him more. By simplifying and compressing the goals and visions for my two years of living here into one daily ambition –that if I do nothing but I cannot fail: to live in Christ, for Christ, and to depend on Him for the strength to do so.

“My grace is sufficient for you…”
2 Cor. 12:9

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