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.

Visiting the penguins…the lighting (and the cute kids) make my hair look not so terrible.

8 thoughts on “Perspective

  1. Wow, I so appreciate you sharing the struggles you are experiencing, Carla! It helps me to pray more fervently for you all. Of course, you are experiencing culture shock and the loss of your nest. It’s hard waiting for God’s provision to come…..Having been on the mission field, I remember being in the trenches and feeling there is nothing good to report. You are in a spiritual battle, but the Lord will deliver you from every evil attack. 2 Tim 4:18
    Love you, Kneezle family!


  2. This struggling girl needed to hear this. Thank you for being transparent, Carla! I’ve been in that place many times where my kids have said, “momma, are you crying AGAIN?” But I’m convinced it shows them that – in the words I once heard from a wise woman named Karen as she said to her son named Big Kenny when he was a blue-haired youngster… “we’re all in this together”. I’ve repeated that to my kids so many times because of hearing her say that. Parents and kids living together for Jesus. As it should be. You are being an amazing example to your kids; bad hair days, crying, tweaking and all. Thanks for sharing your travels & ministry with us from afar. I am praying for you guys. xoxo


  3. You are precious in His sight! Being away for a year through me for a loop and it wasn’t even missions related! I will continue to pray as you adjust to your new life. Blessings Kneezles!


  4. My dear precious Carla, my heart is so thrilled to hear from.
    Yes, we are all in this Jesus thing together! I was sexually abused as a very young girl, my son’s father, abandoned us when I was going thru multiple surgeries for cancer. In my early 20’s, I was so afraid to put one foot in front of the other—God was there all the “Time”, just as he is in your life now. You are becoming a very strong Woman, a tree with it’s roots growing so deep that no storm of life will shake you other than removing the dry & dead branches (pruning)! It’s good & okay to cry releasing the emotions so that your heart can be refilled with Joy. However, keep in mind that too much crying & rubbing your eyes will cause wrinkles—like in mine—LOL
    You all are in my Prayers & I see such a Great Future with your love & works touching others!
    Thank you for being Bold & stepping out for what the Lord has for you to do. Know that you are loved (wish I had the opportunity to hang those precious socks, undies, etc. for you) instead I will pray for you as you encounter everyday struggles and become a Great Overcomer!
    Be Blessed


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