“I’ll tell you this. Leaving that which you love breaks your heart open. But you will find a jewel inside, and this precious jewel is the opening of your heart to all that is new and all that is different, and it will be the making of you–if you allow it to be.”
Seventeen and a half years ago, I left that which I loved much–my family–to go on the mission field in Ecuador with my husband. He did not have to drag me along–I was a more than willing participant, but my family–especially our sons, their wives, and our grandchildren will never know how difficult it was to say goodbye and continue to say goodbye for the next 17+ years. My heart has been broken wide open many times–like the first Christmas when we went out for dinner and I could not stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks. Like when trying to decide whether to get on a plane or not during times of family tragedy. Like saying “no” when our sons wanted us to return home. Heart-rendingly difficult.
I’ve brought so many jewels back with me as we’ve transitioned back to the states:
- A new appreciation for the United States of America as well as an understanding of what the United States could learn from other cultures.
- Gratitude for the husband God has gifted me with. He is a man that I can count on to have God’s will in the center and who gives great grace. He makes me laugh, and puts the daily difficulties of life into an eternal perspective. His quirks make me love him all the more.
- A flexibility that I know I would never have learned in the United States as it is a flexibility learned from grappling with cultural differences.
- A passionate love for the Word of God which sustains me.
- A deeper, calmer faith forged during the challenges on the mission field.
- An ever quickening love for my Lord and Savior.
Please, don’t think I’m trying to make myself sound like some sort of spiritual giant–I’m far from it. For proof of that, read my blog post Woe is Me from last week. I’m sifting through the jewels that God has given me.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11