One year ago today, we left our home in Paraguay. I cried for hours. Actually, I think I had already been crying for days.
I cried halfway to the capital city. I cried while we sat at the tire shop getting a flat tire fixed and the men stared at me.
I cried unashamedly as we fueled the van up and the boy from our church averted his eyes from my pain.
Despite appearances, I was leaving well. I had said my goodbyes, did special things one last time with friends, I’d eaten local foods, prayed blessings over precious heads, even left time for impromptu goodbyes.
I did all the right things, all the things they suggest, but regardless, the act of leaving still threatened to drain the life right out of me. (Incidentally, I think that’s one of the biggest lies missionaries fall for. We think that if we UNDERSTAND something, we shouldn’t have to experience the emotions of that thing, be it culture shock, transition stress, etc.).
In some ways our departure from Paraguay was more painful than others we had experienced because we had worked so hard to put down roots and make it home. And it had truly became that, against all odds, in under two years.
I still miss it, but I haven’t cried for it again since that day. I know myself (and His grace). The leaving is hell, but I’m always ok when I get where I’m going.
In a strange way, it’s actually a blessing to have gone through so many transitions because now I know myself and how I instinctively handle them, which allows me to adjust my thinking and behavior to be able cope with them healthily.
And now here I am, three hundred and sixty five days later…in Washington state, a totally different life. Another change coming, this time a precious little girl joining our family. This is a transition I haven’t done before (well, at least not in PINK!). And it will be a goodbye of sorts too, I suppose but I have every confidence that God will guide me not only through it, but also through the emotions of another change, albeit a joyful, desired one.
There truly is a season for everything…and this year has been proof of God’s loving work, using all things to shape me into His image…sowing in tears, reaping in joy…it’s all His grace.