The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8
Lately I’ve been at an immense loss for words because there’s a lot of stuff racking my brain. But today I feel led to spit something out. Bear with me.
In my experience, when one decides to live overseas + make foreign lands their home, two things happen: 1, you realize that life continues for everyone everywhere (no matter how hard you try to pause the clock); 2, your life is doing the same, just in ways that are unfamiliar.
God mentions several times in scripture how every day spent in His presence is a time of transformation, despite us not being presently aware of it (as He reveals things to us rightly in His timing). And if, though it may be simple, the most pressing realization from my time overseas is His omnipresence, I don’t consider it redundant, as this truth slips my mind far too often.
Here’s my point: While I’ve had many peaceful mornings watching the sun rise over the pacific shoreline, ridden horseback in the backwoods of New Zealand, and eaten more passion fruit than I knew existed, there are still days that I’m left empty. Now, I’d consider myself to be a fairly easy-to-please type of gal; I enjoy the rural, bush life + simplicity. But then a friend gets engaged, one (or five) have a baby, Tanya Tucker performs at Billy Bob’s, and I am jarred by my aloneness + distance.
Living overseas is a great joy to me, but it is not magic.
If you ever want to truly know how He goes about using every instance to stretch and grow a person, travel. I promise you—it will rock your world. I’m not insinuating that leaving home makes you a better you, but you’ll sure learn a lot about yourself and what areas of your life are lacking.
For example, humility. If you want to successfully travel + make friends in foreign places, you can’t be offendable. I noticed my need for growth in this characteristic the other day when my Kenyan housemates kept bugging me about how and what I needed to eat for breakfast. In my head I was thinking, “I’m 21 years old…I ain’t gonna let myself starve. I got this! Get off my case.” But dang, that’s not how Christ would’ve responded.
If you’re interested in becoming like Christ, give community-living a shot.
With the encounters I’ve had over the past year, His creativity only becomes more evident in the way He [kindly] showcases, through each circumstance, my state of humanness (I often forget it). Although I’ve had the time of my life, He’s still holding up the mirror of accountability to me that says, “Oh, Han, remember…”
Coming “home” will be hard. Not just because of the hullabaloo in the U.S., but because of cultural hang-ups and people needing to always know what’s next in my life when, honestly, I haven’t a clue. I’ve lived the last 12 months knowing not much more than where I would lay my head at night. I realize this can’t be a reality for most, but it has been mine, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
God, in His sweet superiority, has continued to reveal to me the truths of His word that says, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
The consensus of that verse is not to wait around for Him to purchase a plane ticket + ship you overseas, but to be bold; take a step of faith; and forget worldly certainty. Open your hands; get em dirty. Forsake the misleading promises of the world for a greater mission: His kingdom being furthered in whatever ways that may pan out (don’t worry; He knows what He’s doing).
My hope rests in Him and the fact that He doesn’t waste time. A big pet-peeve of mine (probably the biggest, actually) is lallygagging. But, of course, there are uneventful days; and even then, I can’t doubt His plans. He is never late, never off.
We were created to be taught + glean from Someone greater than us.
If your heart, will, + spirit are bridled to His, you won’t believe the things He can orchestrate.