Physically: Chicago. After much travel, amazing hospitality, and being loved and spoiled we are finally in Chicago again. And then all at once I am hit with both relief and angst with a wee bit of terror thrown in. We live here now. There is so much but as I sit here in a rare moment of quiet (except for the cars racing outside our window and the guy unloading a truck and yelling in the alley) I cannot think I how to adequately update or explain what is up with me or us for that matter. Sure, I can list what we have been up to but if asked how we are doing I am still not sure. I feel wrecked and overwhelmed. And it is not even because I am known for my teeny flair for the dramatic.
Nope, it hit me: we are starting over again. And yes, some of the faces are familiar, the language is known (as an aside can I just say that functioning all day in your heart language is a gift, never take it for granted), and we did after all live here for most of our lives. But it is still a start over. And I completely underestimated how picking up our lives from Africa and relocating thousands of miles away again would kick our butts. I cannot really sum up the emotional energy that was required in leaving Tanzania and returning to live in the states for a time. Any attempt to do so leaves me babbling like an idiot and in tears. I cannot sum up the thoughts and prayers and pleas that fill me mind everyday; How it feels to enjoy going out for a meal while at the same time thinking of so many of our friends who never can. How I am so enjoying watching my girls experience life in America and at the same moment terrified of them embracing all this culture preaches. How another family is moving into our home and how in the very same millisecond I am profoundly grateful God is bringing them there and intensely sad we will not be returning to once again live and love in that neighborhood. How I am flooded with choices here and rather than give me freedom I feel overwhelmed and unsure. How I get an email from a friend on our island who took the computer class at Pamoja and learned to use email and wanted me to know and how that makes me put my face in my hands and sob. How every time Annikah looks at me and asks “when are we going back?” I want to say “yeah, when?” I cannot really encapsulate how I feel except to say I am a disaster about it all. Really. Maybe words will come with time and reflection and maybe they won’t. But either way I am here and when I am quiet enough to ask God about it He laughs and reminds me that yes, we are here for now. This is what He wants and there is much we have to learn and much we have to share. There is healing for us and others and new calling and exciting things ahead. There is also difficultly that may look different but is also meant for my sanctification if I can only embrace what God wants to teach me. Trouble is I am a slow learner. Always have been. And that is why in the wee hours of this morning God reminded me of His Grace. Of my identity firmly rooted in Him. Not where I live or what I do. I am a child of God. I am blameless in His sight. Not because of anything I have ever done or will ever do but because One who is blameless died in my place. So I do not need to have all the answers; or let’s be honest people; really any of them, I just need to show up and rest in His Grace.
And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself. Acts 20:32
And even when I do not know how I feel or what to do with it I can seek the One who does know me. I am known. You are too. And that is amazing.
O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me,
O God. They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!
words of life from Psalm 139
Grace changes my life. Everyday and in every way.