I’m realizing that up until now, which is 14 months since we left China, I haven’t fully let myself appreciate the city I live in. Even though time and time again I have felt there are things here that are SO Chris or I, that I’m like only God could have brought us here, I still hesitate to let myself fully absorb it. A few examples…
1. There is a FREE Montessori school for Joshua. It’s a charter and so only 3.5 days a week. I LOVE Montessori. He would love if it was 5 days a week because it’s so fun for him, but I also love that it’s only 3.5 days a week so I still get so much time with him at this young age.
2. There is a group of women who play indoor volleyball once a week. It’s like one of my most favorite things to play ever. I hadn’t played regularly for at least 13-14 years. It was one way that I feel like God was reminding me that He knows me so well that He loves to see me enjoy things that even I forgot loved.
3. At the park behind our house there is a soccer court where men play 3-4x a week. Most are Mexican which means my man gets 2 loves in, soccer and speaking Spanish. This is like a 5-10 minute walk from our house.
4. Oh- this park I mentioned in #4…Has tennis courts, the soccer court, a HUGE playground, and is like a hidden treasure of fun right behind our house. We don’t have a yard so as a momma of 2 young boys this makes my life so much more peaceful!
5. I live by the beach, I said it. I shouldn’t downplay it. Daily I tell Chris to look out the window because I am in awe of the beauty. There is a rock that I could look at for hours. This ‘rock’ is 581-feet tall! God constantly speaks to me through it. Some days you see it and some days the fog covers it, reminding me that though I can’t always see God or how he is working in my life, it doesn’t change the fact that He is. Some days the sun hits it in such a way that I’m totally mesmerized, making me think about a God that would take such time to create something so beautiful.
6. We have a Mini-van and a Mini-Cooper. Very different cars, but I LOVE them both. They were both given to us, yes, given. Like God wanted to say let me make sure you have a vehicle. And one of them being a mini-cooper?! Seriously, it’s like the coolest car ever. (And I’m not a ‘car’ girl!)
7. Friends. In the last year we have met some really awesome people. One special thing has been this women’s Bible study with a group who are so real and so honest that I was in complete shock. (You have to know that one of my fears in moving back to the USA were the ‘Christians’, but that can be another blog post…)
Okay, so the list could go on. But one thing I have been realizing is that I feel guilty for all that we have. I feel guilty that we went to a drive in last weekend and that I felt like a kid with a heart full of joy. I feel guilty that I am happy to be here, and I was not this content living in China. Or I am not counting down the days until we move overseas again. And honestly, I’d be content to stay here until the boys are out of school. Or I feel guilty that I’d rather enjoy watching Joshua play soccer than go and help serve orphans, homeless, or raise awareness for the issues with sex trafficking. (Here or abroad.) I feel afraid that if I let myself enjoy this too much or settle down that I will forget that there are so many needs in the world outside of the USA.
I think that I am coming to see that while I LOVED the adventure of traveling to new places that it’s also okay if it was just for a season of my life. I should be able to allow myself to enter into this season with as much joy and excitement as I did the first days I walked into YWAM. (Where I served in missions for 15+ years…and Chris is still serving there.) I think one thing we need to do for people who are in missions or who are coming out of being in missions is celebrate the change of life just as we celebrated when they/we entered into missions. I mean since coming back it’s usually met with, “Oh, what are you doing next?” It’s a legit question, but many times implying what are you going to do next that is in line with what you did in China. “Live by the coast, love my neighbors, raise my boys, and love my man,” doesn’t seem to get the same ‘ohhhs’ and ‘awwws’ that you get when you say you will take your family across the ocean to serve. (And honestly, that was basically what I was doing in China, just the location is different. At this stage in my life the boys pretty much are my focus.)
I am in no way saying that serving the Lord here in the USA is the ‘same’ as serving overseas. The challenges you face are different and the sacrifices are different. But I am saying that one is not worthy of more ‘praise’ than the other. A doctor serves society differently than a fireman does, but we need them both. And if that doctor decided to become a lawyer we wouldn’t think less of him/her, we need people to fill all of those roles and more. Like I think about Joshua’s teachers who I am daily thankful for, seriously they impart such passion and knowledge to my boy. What a blessing to me and him that they have pursued their desire to teach. They are no less than the doctor, they are all needed.
So with this I am asking God to allow myself to fully embrace all of the wonderful things I have here in this city. To fully feel His delight in me as I live here. As I make friends. As I enjoy the ocean. As I take my boy to soccer practice.
Jesus let me feel your joy in the daily activities of my life, here in the USA. No guilt!
(This whole ‘Missionary Rehab’ series is a way for me to process the last year of my life. My heart is not to offend or sound like I have figured it out. I just want to be real about some of the emotions and issues I have had to personally face in the last year+. I feel so very lucky/blessed/honored to have been able to do all of the things I have done, I would not change a thing. This is my attempt to process how to come out of doing all those ‘wild/crazy/adventurous’ things and live my life in a way that I bring all that I am to where I am each day–regardless of location. I’m not asking to be ‘fixed’, I usually know when my thinking is skewed, but it’s skewed nonetheless and this helps me process…)