Jumping into the abyss

I’ve been struggling since I got here in Africa. Most of the time, I am blogging about my daily activities here, instead of writing here at my normal blog. I’ve felt a bit lost since I’ve arrived, homesickness and culture shock wrapping themselves around me and making it incredibly difficult to adjust to my new surroundings. Today, amidst a bumpy morning filled with longing for home, I wrote this journal entry, which is a mishmash of prayers and thoughts. Who God is to me is growing so much larger – and I am learning, even amidst confusion and feeling lost. I am thankful for that today.

“What is it that I so badly want from home? Because really, do I even have a physical home? In that thought I think of Jesus, who had no place to rest his head.

I just long to feel myself. I long to feel confident, joy, peace. I long for my familiar faces I so love. I long for the freedom to be able to talk to strangers and have them understand me. I long for familiar food, familiar things that make me feel like I have a place in this world. I miss worshipping in a place where I understand the songs and words, where I feel part of a community.

I think I’m being challenged on my image of God. I see Him so much as an overseer, a director, an instructor. But I long to see Him as my Brother, friend, even moreso my Father. I always feel like there is a big gap between us, and consequently I feel like the closeness, that intimacy, is lost in that abyss.

What is that gap, God? How do I change that?

Maybe I need to be willing to jump into that darkness, that gap, and trust that He’ll meet me in that in between.

I feel like here bits and pieces of me are floating. I feel like coming here maybe was sort of my jumping into the darkness. And I’m floating, but mostly I am feeling like I’m drowning. I am missing the sure ground under my feet. I am missing the light, the assuredness I felt. This gap, this space isn’t fun or safe like I thought it would be. It’s anything but. And I’m sorry, God, for that being true. For I once prayed that I longed to be stripped of everything familiar to have just You. And I suppose, deeply, I still want that. So hear I am, in a country far away, stripped of everything. And I’m terrified. I’m drowning. I’m searching for you. 

Why did I automatically assume that the removal of my life, my family, my friends, my comforts would mean finding you? Was I foolish enough to think that you can ony be found in a place of loss, in a place unknown? You aren’t dependent on circumstances, or time, or place. You said to search for you with all of your heart and we would find you. Maybe searching with all of our hearts means losing famly and friends, home, security. But maybe, just maybe, you are more concerned with our hearts and that we are searching for you from wherever we are. 

I can’t believe I didn’t get that, God. I am sorry – but thank you for showing that to me now. Thank you.

It’s okay to be missing home. It’s okay to be missing family. It’s okay to be missing my Thursday night dates wth my girls. All of this is so wonderfully okay.

Because what matters the most, here or at home, is that I am searching for Him with all of my heart. I can do that at home – and I can do that here. I can do that in the middle of a lecture or the middle of a staff meeting at work. I can do that here, in the middle of a busy, crowded, shouting marketplace. Wow.

Please, Jesus, protect me from losing sight of this – bury this truth deep within my heart, so deep it is permanently written across my heart.”

Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. (Jeremiah 29:12-14)