Over the past few weeks“home” has felt like a word whose definition has been
muddied by showers that trickle down through seasons of life.
Some of them raging storms, others of them beautiful crisp rains of blessings.
Each of them yielding life in the end.
However, now I find myself dancing in one and hiding under the shelter of another.
I catch myself basking in the fragrance of fresh blooms while also
longing for the new day marked by another sunrise.
So many questions about the one thing that has felt so secure for 25 years.
Now I find myself in a pool of tears about one day leaving a place
that has become such an intricate part of God’s story for my life.
I savor the African lifestyle of slow and the time to smell those roses.
I relish the relationships that run deep because they began with sacrifice
yet exist as faithful gifts from the ultimate Giver.
I envision beautiful sights that make me feel so alive and awake to our Creator.
And I cherish it.
But now I also remember the well-known people and places far away
and my heart yearns for their company-
to share the birth of our daughter with them,
to call them up for a quick lunch date,
to soak in a walk through colored leaves.
Arriving back to the familiar, deep comforts of where we all grew up together
and the life that gives to my soul.
And I cherish this too.
The waters of what “home” is are muddied, indeed.
And while murky waters make it nearly impossible to see in front of you,
they also create an opportunity to jump in blindly and live in the moment.
Hop on a four-wheeler and throw up some mud.
Put on your galoshes and splash around.
To emerge dirty and soaked, but smiling
at the new memories etched into your mind.
That's what I'm learning to do.
I find myself sitting with it a full spectrum of emotions,
most recently a fear of what is ahead.
Fear of leaving this place we have worked so hard to make feel like home.
Fear of moving back to the familiar only to find it so
foreign to how we’ve learned to live.
Fear of purpose rearranged.
Fear of friendships left behind.
Fear of empty busyness.
Fear of feeling unsettled.
Fear of isolation.
Fear of the transition into being parents
at the same time we transition into married American life,
when our marriage found its roots entirely on African soil.
It’s odd how God works.
The transition in my heart has been one towards satisfying me in
the very things that were once hard.
Even satisfying me in the things that are still hard.
I take such delight in this journey through which He has carried us.
Living cross-culturally has been an experience that is
more difficult than I ever dreamed it could be.
Down every road we have travelled, however,
I have learned to love this place we currently call home.
I hold it so close to my heart.
The past month has been one to reflect on exactly how
God has transitioned this season of life from a
hurricane of changes into a shower of blessings.
And I want to write them down. Drink them deep.
I want to make a list, declare God’s faithfulness, remember the gifts He gives.
He alone satisfies, and what pleasure we get
upon looking at the light He sheds into our lives when we trust in Him completely.
I consider it a privilege to do life and ministry here.
It’s humbling to pray into dark situations-
pain and heartache and searching, violence and hurt and pleading-
and then get to be in relationship with God’s children.
It’s exciting to celebrate victories together.
To mourn together, to eat together, to press on together.
It’s not distant stories of Africa,
but beautiful hands I get to hold.
Roads I get to walk.
Friendships that carry both laughter and tears,
that say see you soon,
that are true and sincere. I
am so honored to know the people here.
I am touched by their lives.
I am blessed by their culture, however different from mine it may be.
I love to hear stories from the lives of men and women
that I could never predict.
I love that we don’t look the same or think the same or
expect things to happen in the same way.
I love to drive through the community and exchange waves and greetings.
To do the day-to-day alongside of these people is a gift
whose worth I never truly realized.
I will miss this.
Yesterday morning I woke up and looked out our bedroom window.
In front of me and wrapping toward the right are mountains that boast gloriously.
Green and strong and regal.
To the left is an ocean that at times produces a roar which
rumbles through our home and at other times
rests peacefully and clear as crystal.
Through yesterday' s lenses Taylor and I watched as
a whale broke through the surface and exploded into the air,
crashing down with a splash.
What the heck? Do we really live here??
Extraordinary moments like this never get old. Ever.
I will miss that too.
A few friends threw us a baby shower several weeks ago.
We snacked. We opened gifts. We mingled.
But most memorably, we were prayed over.
Our little girl, our marriage, our hearts, our wisdom, our fears, our deepest needs-
laid before the throne of God by people He placed in our lives.
Talk about a blessing!
I couldn’t stop the steady flow of tears, basking in thankfulness.
These relationships are so special.
There are people from all over.
People with these backgrounds or those giftings.
People with this life story or that one.
People we’ve known for a while or people we just met.
But they are our people.
And everyone is invited in.
Because we are sharing this journey. This journey that began with
saying "yes" to God.
“Yes” we will move far and trust in Him to provide and protect and prepare a way.
And while each of us may be different to the other,
there is a depth to relationships which are rooted in this “yes”
that cannot be reproduced anywhere else.
We share an understanding of loneliness, of adapting, of growing.
We are together in all the moments that are typically shared with family-
Christmas, birthdays, baby showers.
We mourn the loss of loved ones together.
We celebrate the birth of nieces and nephews together,
and now even our own sons and daughters.
We are there to give knowing hugs and needed smiles.
We carry on. Together.
I will miss this deeply.
I am satisfied in the quiet days and the lonely moments.
God meets me there.
I take delight in yet another night spent at home with my husband with nothing to do.
It pushes us into each other.
I find great pleasure in an after school club that is not glamorous.
It allows us to be real.
Some days are just hard.
Some situations just make you want your family.
Some tastes will never equate with mama’s kitchen.
Sometimes you still feel like an outsider.
But I have fallen in love with our South African home.
God has filled gaps until they are overflowing with
His goodness, grace, and mercies.
And it is those overflowing blessings that satisfy like no other.
We don’t know exactly when God will call us somewhere else or
what that something else will look like.
We don’t know exactly what it will feel like to try and redefine home yet again.
Home is a place where we all have a history.
Where we know and are known.
Where we have great memories and deep struggles.
Where we have favorite spots and dreaded chores.
Home is a place that becomes a part of us.
Please pray with us as we navigate the waters of home in 2 places.
We do know, without a doubt, that God goes before each of us.
We know that He is good, and that He is the same yesterday and tomorrow.
The peace of “home” is found in His arms. We can trust that.
“He will keep at perfect peace those
whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in Him.”