I was hardly released from jet-lag's hands when I traded the heat of Nepal and its unpredictable streets for the cold A/C and an organized cubicle in Florida.
I went from blistered bare heels to gold glitter heels. Hardly making cash to making hard cash. Seeing numbers of people to seeing people's numbers.
Only four weeks separated these extremes.
A quick visit with my precious family back in August was meant to be just that—a quick visit. I had plans to catch up, raise support, eat my mom's cooking, and sleep on my childhood bed. Maybe even play a few rounds of Monopoly Deal with my siblings.
It was going to be great. Then God placed a decision down before me, and even though I was tempted to pull a "Just Say No!" on Him, I had to stop myself and consider. I am defiant at times. I am human and I like to pretend I know what I need. I really have no clue.
The plans had been set for me to return to Hawaii and staff a Discipleship Training School. That opportunity was drenched in the good things I had desired and yearned for. But what I felt God prodding me to consider was to stay. To stay in Florida, to gather finances, to further the relationships there, and to find a mentor, church, and place to serve.
I have left Florida twice now, and I think both times I declared it would be my last. With some irritation at the constant change, I took the decision to prayer. I laid it before my leaders and those whom I respect. I sought God's heart and voice through the Scriptures. And He gave me an unexplainable peace.
A peace to stay.
I made the decision on a Monday. Tuesday, my previous employer called me for an interview. Since my belongings were tucked into a suitcase at a house 4,724 miles away, I scrambled to Goodwill. I purchased formal work attire, changed in the store bathroom, lost my keys, found them in said bathroom, and showed up to my interview with maybe 30 seconds to spare. I got the job.
Staying here is not what I wanted or expected, and it surely was not the route I had planned for.
I have had many friends transition from being support-based missionaries to returning to their lives at home again. Some have been launched into ministry, missional living within their cities, or started their own businesses. Others have fought purposelessness, depression, and have even turned their backs on God. The move is often frazzled from emotions.
A sweet friend who has experienced the transition herself reminds me to take it "moment by moment, day by day". I am thankful for her encouragement, as I want to rush through figuring out why it is even good for me to be here once again.
The level of self-criticism, anxiety, fear, judgment, perfectionism, and oppression I now battle has rocked me. I get on my knees and thank God He is the Rock that won't move—because remember?
I am only human and I know not what I need.
Life has swept me up and I am looking for a piece of comfort to still me from my failing performance.
"This, too, is good," He whispers.
Those four words hug my heart.
Friends, maybe you need to hear that as well. Maybe you need reminding that God is even good at all. I am holding to the belief that He has plans to redeem us and grow life from areas which previously brought ache.
You may discover the city which you've been placed in is hungry for the presence of the living God, too. Hungrier than either of us may have thought. Let us repent for the ways we have compared or cast judgment towards others and ourselves.
It matters not if we are far from our birth countries or tucked away in its very corner—because as the Church we have been called to live on mission, and that's not going to change.
We are not our achievements or adventures. We are frail and small. We need to be bent and broken, so the Maker can shape us and heal us. There is work to be done here and there.
Be in Him, and let Him prune you for His glory.