Three weeks ago today we landed in Cape Town. Tired. Relieved. Overwhelmed. Excited. Anxious. Three and a half weeks ago I naively thought that as soon as we got off the airplane in SA we’d be set to go. We’ve been here before. Done the missionary thing. Know this area. We are professionals for sure. All we had to do was get through that horrific flight itinerary and it would be smooth sailing from there on out. It’d be like riding a bike.
Let me just tell you friends, I was very wrong. Leaving home and moving to another country is not easy, even if you’ve done it before. And taking 3 little ones with you doesn’t make it any easier. This time around I’ve had the hardest time adjusting to the crazy cold (even though locals will tell you we’ve had lovely spring weather since our arrival!), figuring out how to do laundry for a family of five without using a dryer (kids socks and underwear are such a pain in the butt to hang dry!), and relearning how to grocery shop and cook (where’s my ground turkey?). I’ve been discouraged because we don’t have our family car yet and the rental market is super competitive so we have yet to find our home. I’ve felt overwhelmed, homesick, and sorry for myself more often than I’d like to admit. But God has been speaking to me about this self centered sadness…and encouraging me to change my perspective.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4
I read these verses, and the whole book of Philippians, about a week ago after I had a crying fit while doing the dishes. I seriously couldn’t control my emotions and had to excuse myself for some quiet time. [Side note, the kids’ new favorite question is: “Mom, are you crying???” Apparently it’s a common thing these days.]
Paul’s words hit me in a new way that day. This life is not simply about my comfort or my happiness. It’s not about if I’m having a good hair day (which has happened zero times so far in this Cape Town humidity) or how well my kids treat me. It’s about others. We are here in South Africa, called by God, to serve those around us. We are here to learn. We are here to encourage international volunteers and to walk with them as they uproot their lives and come to work for Living Hope. We are here to continue relationships with “old” friends and to make new ones. We are here to empower local people. We are here to help friends in need when there is unrest in their homes. We are here so that our kids can learn from and love on other kids their age. We are here to be obedient, and to grow. We are here for such a time as this, for this season, until God says it’s time to go. So I had better get used to it…
I hesitate writing all this and putting it out there because I still feel so raw and new in what God is tweaking in me right now, but I hope that maybe someone else out there needs to hear those verses today? Be blessed friends. Thanks for walking this journey with us and allowing us the freedom to be real in the trenches.