Sunday, December 20, 2015

I Miss My Life

We moved to Guatemala in June but have been back in the U.S. for the last 7 weeks for fundraising, holidays and family time. I have discovered I miss my life.

Maybe it’s the arrival of Christmas that has me melancholy. I don’t have a Christmas tree, I don’t have a home to decorate, my children don’t have bedroom doors that I can hang their “12 Days of Christmas” gift on each morning, and I don’t have all of my children together.

I miss my life. I miss having my family together. I miss going to the same Christmas parties at church. I miss knowing what radio station to turn on to hear Christmas music. I miss holiday baking. I miss the small group that met in our home every Sunday night.  I miss having full conversations in English.  I miss my life.

But at the same time, I miss my other life. I miss walking to Spanish school every morning. I miss my teacher’s jubilant cries of “Buenos Dias! Buenos Dias!” I miss the coffee shop across the street from school and the lady who works there. I miss fresh fruit three times a day. I miss the beautiful volcanoes I can see every day. I miss the smells, yes even the bad ones. I miss the warmth of the sun on my face. I miss walking on cobblestone streets. I miss the open market and bargaining for the best price for strawberries. I miss sitting at my kitchen table with the windows open and the sounds of Spanish words floating into my home.

I miss my life. I feel like I’m wandering through two countries, not sure where to call home. I miss feeling planted. I miss the comfort that routine brings. I miss having my family all together, all the time. I feel like I don’t have a life as would be defined by most people.

My life is now chaotic. There isn’t much routine. There isn’t much that could be considered normal. There is no feeling of being settled.

But one thing I am not missing is being where God wants me because I’ve learned that even in the wandering, I am where He has planned. During our time in the U.S. we have had many opportunities to do ministry, to strengthen relationships. We have listened to heartbreaks and we have prayed with friends. We are missionaries regardless of what country we reside.

Soon we will return to Guatemala. And as we settle back in to our life there, I am certain there will be tears as I remember our time here and all the people we hugged and all the love we shared. I am certain I will miss my life. I know I will miss my kids fiercely.

But I will be determined to be content knowing that I am where God wants me. I will be determined to remember the joy that each place has brought and then discover the joy of where I am.  I will work on building a life with routine and a feeling of comfort brought in daily tasks. I will be thankful that my life is good, regardless of where I lay my head at night.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

4 Mays in Northern Indiana

It is always the 3rd weekend in May. And it is always Northern Indiana.

The first one was the 3rd weekend of May, 2012, and we were attending my niece's graduation from Taylor University in Northern Indiana. My son, Logan, had just completed a very hard year at a state school in Illinois. He hated everything about that school yearI could make a list of all that he hated but it is easier to say he hated everything. As I watched my niece walk into her graduation I was overwhelmed at the stark difference I witnessed. Her professors hugged her and congratulated her and smiled and called her by name. They knew her. She had not become lost in union contracts and wages, and I was certain that they knew her name was Rachel and cared about her. She had not just been a number at this school; she had been a person whom they invested in for the last 4 years. This was the first time I realized that a college experience could be something other than what we had gone through in the last 9 months.

The second one was the 3rd weekend of May, 2013. I found myself driving to Northern Indiana to pick Logan up after completing his junior year of college at Huntington University. What a difference one year makes! He'd had a great year and had found a real friend in his roommate, Alec. The professors at Huntington had invested in Logan; they had invited him to their home and invited him into their lives. They had taught him in the classroom and discipled him in life. Logan had taken a mission trip to Haiti during Spring Break that left him changed. And he began asking me to pray about a girl he really liked and hoped to date. I actually came home that evening with only Logan's stuff because Logan was staying an extra night. One of the university staff members was taking some of the students on an end-of-the-year float trip. Even as I recall these things 2 years later, I finally myself amazed at what a difference one year makes.

The third one was last year and it was indeed the 3rd weekend of May. My daughter, Maddie, and I had driven to Northern Indiana to pick Logan up from another great year at Huntington. This trip was a little different though because we went up earlier that day so we could attend the Nurse Pinning Ceremony for Logan's girlfriend, Essie. They had started dated in October and we had already grown to love her. She was graduating that weekend from Huntington with a 4 year degree in Nursing. Maddie and I were able to meet Essie's parents for the first time and became instant friends. Before we left that day, Essie's Mom and I giggled privately about our hopes of where this relationship might lead. Oh what a difference one year makes.

And the fourth May in Northern Indiana is this weekend. It is again the 3rd weekend of the month and again Maddie and I made the drive up Highway 69. Logan no longer lives there; he has been in California since last August. This time our trip was for the purpose of attending Essie's bridal shower! We enjoyed meeting more of her family and friends and celebrating the beautiful union that God has orchestrated. In just 3 weeks Logan and Essie will be married in Northern Indiana. I am once again filled with sweet amazement at what a difference one year makes.

And really I am just filled with sweet amazement at what a difference God can make in time and in life and in plans. He is simply perfect.