Monday, March 9, 2015

The Realities of Living Abroad and Missing Home

I absolutely adore living in Uganda. It is my third time doing it and each trip is a completely new experience, with new faces, adventures, and places to explore. It is also a time of new lessons being learned and large growth happening within my life. And to honest, I don't think the growth is happening because it's Africa and it's like a magical land, although it really can be, but I believe that growth comes when you are placed in the uncomfortable. When you are trying something different or  new or challenging. All of these things are certainly true for me every time I live abroad, but it is in these moments that I truly learn the most about myself and who God has created me to be.

Now with all of that being said, just because I love being here with every fiber of my being, does not mean that it is not super challenging, extremely hard at times, or that I don't get home sick. It's not a vacation in anyway and I usually end up working twice as hard while I'm away then when I'm at home. Just the simple task of getting fresh groceries home to the apartment or large jugs of clean water for drinking, without a vehicle to do that in, can be majorly challenging. I miss driving by the way. My husband can easily tell you that I love being in control of how and when I am getting from point A to point B, so not having a vehicle is something I am struggling with every day but I am learning from it as well. This situation teaches me patience, creativity, and ultimately helps me to grow in so many ways.

I miss my husband. Every day, that is a struggle, not having him by my side on this journey, and I would be completely lying if I said I haven't cried myself to sleep a night or two while I've been here. But I have counted on so many people for so long that God needed to teach me how to count on Him alone and that is a challenge on its own. One that is growing me daily into a stronger person, and hopefully a stronger wife for when I do return home. And being a strong wife for the man I love is so incredibly worth it to me. This experience has also taught me exactly who the amazing man of God I married is and the strength, kindness, and genuine love that he possesses. I am eternally grateful that we both get to learn and strengthen our marriage every day through this experience.

When I begin to miss home I start to think of Isaiah 6:8

"Then I heard the Lord asking, 'Whom should I send as a messenger to this people?
Who will go for us?' I said, 'Here I am. Send me!' "

It's a very brave and noble statement that Isaiah makes about the call that God gives him. But reading the entire verse in context helped me to realize something else. Isaiah wasn't being asked to send good news of prosperity or great times ahead. He was actually told to bring pretty poor news. He was asked to do something challenging, something hard. And he accepted the call anyway, not because it was easy, but because he was being obedient to God. Because he was living out a life set up for significance in our world, and I have come to find true, that living a life of significance isn't about doing things the easy way. Anything truly worth it in your life is going to come with challenges, but that is what makes our lives worthwhile. 

My roommates and I were watching Selma over this past week and it is about the immense struggle that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went through in his life. I really did love this movie because it didn't just show Dr. King in the glittery light of his infamous, "I have a dream speech," but it showed him in the actual struggle of his life's work. His family was threatened. His job was scrutinized and judged daily. But this pastor, took on the commission that God had called to his life and he led a generation to revolutionize the American government. His efforts not only changed his family's life, but millions of the generations that have come since and will come have been forever altered. That's significance. That is what I want to strive for in my own life.

Yes, I miss home every day. I miss my family and my friends, my adorable little pug, even my plants (yes I am very attached to my plants lol), but I will be with them all again soon. I don't want to miss out on the calls that God gives me in my life though because they will bring me closer to him as well as bring significance to this world. And that is worth the hard days, hard lessons, but most importantly the infinite growth that I will take away from this experience. 
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