I am feeling kind of raw right now. A mixture of being unsettled, not knowing where exactly I am headed, grief, and mourning.
I am missing people in South Sudan. I am missing my life and routine and rhythm and people in that place. I knew I would. I think I will for a long time.
I’ve read hundreds of articles on missionary life over the past several years, including many on grief, loss, and transition. I knew to expect these feelings, but it doesn’t make them any lighter. They hang heavy inside me. I don’t want to mask the loneliness, isolation, grief, and longing that is part of this transition.
Yet in so many ways, I want all this to be over. All this transition and grief and mourning, that is. I suppose it never will be, this side of heaven.
I want to feel settled again. I long for community at close proximity. I want to have a local spot to hang out in, where people know me well. I want routine again and sense of purpose. I know, it will come. I need to be patient. Not my strong suit.
In the meantime, I need to trust that it is ok for me just to be. Whatever being may look like right now in my life.
I feel antsy, stir-crazy, bored, pulled in multiple directions, unsettled.
There are a million things I could be doing during this period in my life, but I am having a hard time focusing on anything. My heart is somewhere in South Sudan still, and my mind wanders between past, present, and future. I long to rest in the Lord, as my constant rock amidst all transitions, but I find I am so worldly these days. My proclivity to selfishness is ever present, and my choices currently are more reflective of the sinful nature rather than abounding with fruit of the spirit. I’m trying to be gracious to others and to self, but I often fail miserably.
I brought back gifts from South Sudan for my supporters. They have been sitting at my parent’s house for three months. Each time I start to write out the cards and actually mail stuff out, I just can’t seem to do it. These items all remind me of the beauty and people of South Sudan. Somehow parting with them seems like I am closing the South Sudan chapter of my life. I keep trying to tell myself that yes, I need to close that chapter in my life, but it does not mean I cannot reopen it from time to time. Somehow it seems permanent. I think I fear that I will lose track of friends in South Sudan, that I will not remember to pray for them, that I will stop calling them, that I will let myself enjoy all that is around me and forget the plight of so many that are suffering there. I need God’s grace and wisdom to live here and still have friend’s there, to learn how to love people there but have it look different since I am no longer physically present.
I keep trying to remind myself that God’s calling for my life is for the entire duration of my life. I understand that he may call us to different things or places at various times in our life, but the general calling is the same – to love, serve, and praise him. Keeping that general call in mind helps me to see that even though my physical location may have shifted, I can still continue to follow that call. Whether living in South Sudan or Memphis or Iraq or anywhere else – my purpose has not changed. Logistics have changed, but I am still running the same race with the same end goal in mind.
As I wade through emotions and memories, I am consistently thankful for the duration on my time in South Sudan. I can say, with all honesty, that I know the Lord will continue to lead me. I just need to trust that even though I may not see the way, it does not mean that he is not there. I suppose faith is about stepping forward even when you don’t know where forward is, trusting that your guide has laid the path before hand, not without suffering, and full of love.