And here we are – post our first trip back to the States. We spent 5 weeks between Texas and Arizona earlier this year. Which felt like no more than 5 seconds in Dallas and 7 seconds in Arizona. (We stayed slightly longer in the desert hence those extra 2 seconds.)
I’ve been thinking on that trip lately after going through another teary-eyed goodbye. My younger sister came to visit for a month. Or, roughly, 10 seconds. 😉 How delightful to have such a cherished part of America here in Thailand.
But yes, the emotions of that goodbye flashed me back to our first visit home:
In the weeks before our flight to the States tears fell at the thought of hugging family. Oh, how I longed for those familiar arms! I just wanted to be with family and dear friends the entire time. To talk. Eat American foods! And laugh. And share Paxton. And reflect. And rest. And learn. And heal from the first year. And be filled up again.
I have so many sweet memories of that visit. So many. It stays with me the myriad ways folks reached out in support. Homes were opened, meals were provided, invitations were extended, ears were lended, stories were shared, donations were made, and encouragement was given. God shined through community. We felt welcomed, loved and cherished up down and side to side! Love rallying around us.
BUT on the less glorious side was the strange emotions (and sometimes lack thereof) of being home but not home, a sleep-confused baby, fleeting time, and plans upset left and right. (I thought we’d left Thailand – the country that has taught me all about flexibility and upset plans!) And all the foods I’d missed and pregnancy craved so much didn’t turn out to be all I had longingly inflated them to be. (Okay, this one is actually a blessing because now I have less to miss!)
You guys though, only now do I realize I had these expectations (that I was trying really hard NOT to have BTW) on the basis that America was sanctuary, and that we had to be filled and healed there to carry on here.
It’s a lot like this nonsensical rationalization I have that if I take the coldest shower possible in the morning then it’ll carry me through the blazingly hot days. Serious. These showers take my breath away! …but it’s yet to work.
Those 5 minute arctic showers have nothing on the other 1,435 sauna minutes in each day. Rather, it’s wiser to adjust life and find my cool throughout the day in other ways. Windows open. Fans. (Always fans!) Breezy clothes. Hair up!
Those 5 weeks in America couldn’t possibly charge us for the other 47 weeks in the year. And as it was, at the end of those weeks, Brian and I were looking at each other in physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion like: “Let’s go home!”
So, in the same way, we’re learning to adjust our lives here in Thailand, finding new ways to sustain and deepen our faith. Embracing this abundant life that looks very little like what we once thought of as abundant life. Recognizing God’s hand in a country where it often feels like it’s been lifted. Pouring more into our little family when we can’t do life with our larger families. Building a new sanctuary where God lingers – eager for us to invite him to fill, heal and carry us through each new day.
I was reminded recently that: “God will take you where you haven’t intended to go to produce in you what you could not achieve on your own.” Yessir.
We’re certainly further than our own feet would’ve ever wandered, or at least stayed. And there’s such strength, peace and contentment in knowing this is God’s leading. Amen? That’s where these feet want to be.
As the lyrics go in the song of recent, ‘Oceans‘, this is our prayer:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Pray it with us? That and perhaps about my finally giving up those cold showers. 😉
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We update regularly with the little bits of our lives, like: celebrating Grace’s 15 year anniversary, Pax hanging out with a monk, cliff jumping, our visit with a sweet Thai friend, and the Thai festival of water.
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