‘I don’t handle stress well and while that is the problem it is also the answer. I made a decision to pile my plate with many things all at once and attempt to juggle them all at the same time, it isn’t working so well.
There is this strange truth that I think most MK’s (missionary kids) would come to agree on. We understand on a deep nearly spiritual level we will never be home on earth. Yet I find even at the age of nearly 31 craving the familiarity of home. Knowing which steps creak, knowing where the hot water pipes run under the floor to warm my feet at night, the smell of home as you open the door after being gone for days, your favorite mug in that cabinet first shelf to the right of the sink. I want to feel comfortable in my surroundings, but I guess the truth of that is then I don’t trust a creator to provide for me when I need it, not when I want it.
It is interesting to me how a lot of TCK’s (third culture kids) end up back in their childhood stomping grounds, a place of familiar consistency. For me it has been St. Louis where the humidity mixes with the smell of hot tar in August, where the rivers have dictated the land and how the roads are laid out.
But it hasn’t always been here.
When we came back stateside originally it was to NE Montana, a land whose grandeur is only surpassed by that of Alaska in my opinion. However it was there in the Yellowstone River valley on a porch that faced west, shrouded with cottonwood trees that I was allowed to feel the peace that comes from being at home. Watching the thunderheads build and shout their echoes to the eastern river bluffs guarding the west, listening to the tractor turn over the soil, jumping from the gas pipe into the ice cold river water running through the canal south of the house, sitting in my gramma’s kitchen drinking un-sweetened ice tea as the Montana wind moved the giant wind chime outside the window resounding like buhdahist gong.
For a while I was allowed to know that as home and then like the prodigal I am I ran. I tried to name it something else, such as restlessness or sand in my shoes, but the honest truth is I was running.
Skip ahead 10 years and I found myself back in St. Louis, the first place I ever knew to be home, but also the place I was first asked ‘How does it feel to be home?’ and realize I didn’t have an answer because I didn’t know where that was anymore, I was 9.
So why do I even bring any of this up, because there is a heaviness that is laying on my heart, a pervasive darkness hovering over this city and I am understanding more and more, that despite the fact that I speak the language of this land, it is in fact my foreign land, it is my mission field because my purpose is missional life in love.
There is the misnomer that I sense sometimes that America is the Mecca of Christian-dom, it is not, heaven is. In large it almost seems the American church has forgotten that Jesus is the church and we are the bride. He does not reside in a building, the curtain to that temple was torn in two over 2000 years ago.
Meaning this land is not my home, it means everywhere should be home and nowhere should be home. A dichotomy I find that I am only comfortable with when I am with and in Jesus. I have wrestled with this for about 2 months as I have been considering where to look for house to buy. Getting hung up on feeling guilty for not feeling guided towards moving overseas, but then this weekend on the banks of a different river whose waters are crystal clear, an oddity in this part of the country, I read this:
The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying “Return to your home and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
I saw this, as the sound of water rushing over rocks surrounded me, and saw that this man was obedient ‘he went’ but what struck me was the fact that his life called to mission was to be in the town he called home here on earth. He shared Jesus love for him to his friends, to his neighbor, to those passing through, but the big piece is, he went, probably because he understand on a visceral level someday he would spend always with Jesus, but on earth he didn’t have to be with Jesus, Jesus was to be with him.
How often do I try to walk into each day buying into that wonky gospel we have been told is truth that God moves most exceedingly when we don’t speak the same language, that my passport must be full of stamps to prove my holiness that I must walk barefoot amongst tin roof sheds with children who are my peers. Guess what I have done those things and it is a lovely lie that has prevented me from reaching out to those I know around me because guess what, the darkness in those other places is just as heavy as it is here, it is just as heavy and I have been shrinking gospel truth and thinking otherwise. Please don’t get me wrong I am grateful beyond words for those who receive the call to foreign fields, it is not an easy call to respond to and it takes special and amazing people to answer it.
But for me I allowed these lies to take root and stress me out because I thought I had to choose here or there, it’s both, it has always been both because my God will be with me where ever I am and he will move mightily everywhere the body gathers, gets out of the way and asks him to show up and you know what He always shows up.
Which brings me back to the beginning, I don’t handle stress well, because I am not supposed to handle it because I am a freaking hot mess and a human no better than any other human on this planet but the truth is this, My God came to me, he died for me, paid a price I didn’t know I owed, and then called me His beloved. So I should probably stop stressing out.