I am heading back in 2 weeks. Back to Africa. But not back to my desert home. It is strange packing and preparing to go “back” when really I am going somewhere brand new. It is strange preparing to return to Africa, but not to the Africa I know and not to the Africans that I love. And still not knowing if I will ever be able to see their faces again on this earth. But there is still work to be done. And while I am probably contemplating on this too much and some could argue being a little over-emotional about the whole thing, I am thankful I get to go back to Africa at all. Two years was not enough and I am thrilled that I still am able to be in Africa. It is a gift.
As I prepare to leave again I realized that I am feeling some of the same things now that I was feeling 2.5 years ago before I left for Africa the first time. I’m looking into the future of being somewhere new and feeling skill-less and worthless to any group that might just be nice enough to allow me to join them. I have these moments of self-doubt where I’m like “What am I doing?! Who do I think I am?! No one over there needs me! I’m just going to be more of a burden than a blessing! I’m awkward and selfish and require too much time to myself! I am weak and unskilled. Fragile and frail. Stubborn and grumpy and emotional. Oh, Lord, could you use even me?”
The coming weeks and months are going to be difficult, as all new seasons are. It is tiring to find people to connect with in and trying to fit into the fabric of new places. I am dreading the aloneness that inevitably accompanies leaving people that you love. I’m intimidated all over again. I think what I am afraid of is failing. If I had any “success” at all in my desert home it feels like it was a fluke. Like if anything I did amounted to anything at all then I just got lucky. What if my luck runs out this time around? I’m scared of being somewhere new and them being like, “What is this girl doing here? Does she know anything at all?” I’m scared of flopping, of doing nothing that matters, of being a waste of time and resources. And sometimes I get scared that I’m getting it all wrong! That I’m not following God the right way when I think I am. The Bible talks about those people—the ones who cry “Lord, Lord” but don’t actually commune with God.
It would be easier perhaps if in this life we knew that the tearings of our hearts meant something. That in certain hard actions we knew for sure that Gods kingdom would grow as a result. That in the sacrifices and sufferings that we are helping usher in his Kingdom. God promised to glorify himself in us if we submit ourselves to him. He even promises to work in our weaknesses—that in those places he will shine all the greater! Well, Lord, lots of places for that in me!
So while I love my family and friends here dearly and don’t want to be separated from them; I know that I will see them again in Glory. I know that we will spend an eternity together worshipping and praising God. And there is a world of people out there who don’t know the Good News. Who won’t be able to share in the glory unless they hear it. So I have to go. I don’t know how many good-byes the heart can take and I feel some days as though I am nearing my limit. But I trust in who God says He is. And I’m moving forward because I feel I must. I never want to shrink back from hard things. God has been enough for me so far and I know he will continue to be in new places with new people.
No turning back, no turning back.
“Success isn’t what you’ve done compared to others. Success is what you’ve done compared to what you were made to do.” Lecrae
“It is difficult to follow Jesus in a calling that others are better qualified to accomplish or that requires me to sacrifice something that Jesus doesn’t seem to be requiring my friends to sacrifice…These are painful deaths to die. But they enrich the soil in which good things grow.” Scott Bessenecker