I have wrote on and off here about the struggle as a single person in ministry working abroad. It's not an easy task and more often than not, I long for a partner in this crazy life of mine.
The past few months have been really busy and as I reflect on that and just the desire to have that "someone" as my side, I find myself caught up in thoughts of the future.
I think about two of my very best friends in the world who are both pregnant with their second child and are walking out the family life that I've always dreamed of back in the States.
And I think of my friends back at Brentwood who are teaching the students that I grew to love with all my heart, day in and day out, dedicated to the lives of these students.
I think about my Ivy house girls, my PCC friends, my small group.
I think about my family...my nephew who is growing up without me being there to witness it. And my little sister who will be driving before too long (If you live in Paonia, CO...driver's beware!). And my other sister who is dating a guy I've only met once.
It is strange to live on the other side of the world.
It's strange to live without these people by your side.
And it's strange to never know if those "dreams" of marriage and family will ever happen to me.
A friend asked me over the phone the other day if I know when I'll be moving back to the States. I suppose it's a bit strange to NOT KNOW.
Moving forward to me these days is done in little steps...
Moving forward to me isn't what I'd imagined it would look like.
Moving forward is the "family" that I've been given rather than the one that I've created.
It's the smile on Florence's face.
It's the Good Morning from Bismark.
It's the race towards a morning hug from Gamali and the cuddle that follows.
It's the love of a girl named Portia.
The the small hand of Justice as we walk home from our church service.
Moving forward is the progress of a teacher's understanding.
It's the English that a child attempts to speak.
It's the confidence of Kesse, admiring his new backpack as he prepares, for the first time, to attend school.
It's the bed of a girl named Hannah.
It's hour long phone call with my mom about life.
It's the beauty of an email from a friend who is confiding in me across the miles.
It's the happy tears in watching a youtube video announcing the long-prayed for pregnancy of my friends.
It's the daily prayers that are lifted to heaven on this side of the world...and over there in America too.
So, in answer to the question...I don't know when I'm moving back. I suppose whenever I am called to return.
All I do know is that I prayed for a family and I got one.
I prayed for children and...well...I have 41 on any given day, and sometimes I guess I could could my 185 students among my children as well.
I asked for a partner and I got the faces of a dozen people I love travel through here during May-August.
Moving forward just looks different than I imagined it. But, I'm moving.
Moving forward looks like God's grace covering my days, his love embracing me in my loneliness, and his whispered faithfulness in moments of need.
And I'm learning to surrender to this kind of moving forward.