Three years ago today our plane landed in Central Asia. For a long time when anyone asked me if I liked it here or what living here was like, I felt the need to be super-positive. On the inside I might have been having a horrible culture day, but I wouldn’t say anything negative. I didn’t want people to think negatively about this place (which is more positive than negative) and I didn’t want anyone to worry.
But, in doing this, I was stealing God’s glory.
Overwhelmingly, these three years have been marked by difficulty. What else can it be called when I moved so far away from family, friends, and familiarity to learn a language, maneuver through a new country, and figure out the nuances of a new culture? Suddenly I was the immigrant you see in Wal-Mart staring at the vegetable aisle with a confused look. Suddenly I was no longer an educated, intelligent, articulate person. I was the one who prayed for courage before I left the house to buy milk.
And yet, in all of this, God has provided. He has overwhelmingly provided. There have been really hard days. There have been times that I’ve wanted to pack my bags and leave for home. Many days lately have felt like that as I adjust to raising my daughter in a foreign place, so far from so many friends and family. To downplay the difficulties that God has brought me through and is bringing me through downplays His power in my life.
Some of you will read this and think “Oh! Poor mab! She hates it there! She’s so sad! She should come home!” None of those sentences are true. I will return to the States when I feel that God wants me to (no matter how much I’m craving Casa Ole or missing my family or wanting to see a Texas thunderstorm). I am sad at times, but not all the time. I don’t hate it here (most of the time). And, I am not to be pitied. Each of us who believe in God are asked to live our lives the way He asks us to. We demonstrate who He is through our families, through the way we work, and through our interaction with other people. The only difference between me and many of you is my location.
The last time we were Stateside someone reminded us that we’re here for two purposes. One is for our work. The other is for the work God is doing in us. I’m not sure how long He wants to do that work in us while we’re located here. But, I know from experience that He’ll be with us on the good days as well as the bad.
Here’s to honesty on the anniversary of our arrival…