One of my homes. With the realization that I’ve lived at 5 different addresses in the span of the past 7 months, I’m here at the house where I took my first steps and the room that has all my t-shirts from high school and the car I learned to drive with and albums of memories and shelves of books I read before bedtime.
In so many ways it feels like I never left here, but in just as many ways it seems that I don’t fit this anymore. I woke up the morning after traveling 36+ hours across 8 time zones, 5 airports, 19 hours of flying, with the Kenyan president, through tight London-Heathrow security, over oceans, above deserts, held through turbulence and back to little old Franklin. I rolled over the next morning to see 5:30AM glaring at me from the screen of my clock, and wondered if maybe it was all just some fantasized dream, or a glimpse of heaven and the reality of Christ looking me in the face around every corner.
It’s frustrating, how easy it is for my finger to glide over the radio preset and hit the country station when I’m used to riding in silence. How I can jolt out of bed for an undoubtedly unimportant meeting instead of lingering to read the Word. How I can scroll my finger through “updates” of a couple thousand “friends” instead of digging into the people I’m surrounded by.
It just gets so busy, all of it. The being late, the running to this appointment and the list longer than my right arm, the piles of clothing waiting to be unpacked washed and repacked, the voicemails, the endless coffee dates and blurred chatter about the Olympics in the background of it all. Catching up on life when it has already moved far beyond where I stopped and you can hardly breathe to catch up. Breathe in grace. And how beneath all these crowded things there leaves little room for him to store up in your heart.
Grace for the grocery store that is overwhelming and the piles of clothes under my bed, the inability to text message, to drive on the right side of the road AND remember a seatbelt. Grace for being late and not knowing what to wear. Grace for the memories missed and the fear of missing out what’s to come and the mess– in my room, in my car, in my heart.
Grace for not seeking Jesus in each moment. For not seeking to glorify him in the simplest. There he was hidden in every gift waiting to be simply unfolded. Here he is buried under what we call the American dream and paraded out on sundays with a steeple on top and a Psalm on our twitter timeline.
How does 160 characters even begin to describe the majesty and holiness due? Just a little shout out for saving my life. How does one hour carved out of my morning begin to honor and dedicate myself? Or 3 hours of church a week? How does it begin to bear the pressure of expectation, dreams and hopes. Above. Always has to be above the list. And I have to keep looking up, again.
So instead of counting rush outfits, magazine necklace beads, little children, the hours until reunions, the 300 miles to Auburn, I’m trading it in for blessings. Naming grace, seeking the joy hidden in the “right now.”
People tell you that you can do it all, have it all, be it all. And after a while, you start to believe them. One activity is piled on to another and they all blend together losing sight of what is actually the root or life, our purpose here. To make Him known.
Grace for unanswered emails, unpaid bills and dirty laundry. Grace for the not enough hours in my day, grace for the words I don’t have, grace for the guilt I feel for people miles apart, grace for my over zealous view of needs, grace for unneeded luxuries.
I used to be afraid of grace, but then I realized that it is this beautiful gift. An understanding that you are incapable and fully reliant on Jesus. Not just a band-aid to cover our mistakes but a gift to further enjoy life. A gift Jesus freely gives to His children and he bids them come and rest.
In Uganda, I would hoist myself up on the counter top, somewhere between the toaster oven and flat of eggs. Here it takes more effort but I still try to stop, and curl up in my Fathers lap. It’s the frustration that it’s not enough just to claim him, but with all the noise of the day there is less room in my heart. There’s not room if we fill ourselves with things of the world. And don’t we want ALL of Him, not just a portion?
Thank goodness He is the same. The same hazelnut creamer, same Bible, same sunrise, same God. And there is just as much space for Him, here. I see the beauty the same from my counter top just as I do in my big comfy throne chair in my Auburn living room on a still, lazy Saturday morning.
That it’s the same God loving on high school girls by an Auburn young-lifer, a broken family by a fellow friend, two tired mommas weary of summer as the days grow long-loving their children well, a friend sharing Jesus through his gift of the art of film, a young man eager to love everyone he comes in contact with as well as I have ever witnessed and countless friends scattered from my small southeast corner of the world across the globe.
Grace for the mango larvae, the bed bugs. Grace for the tempers and the burnt cookies. Grace for little ones, grace for fear of flying, grace for a jet-lagged soul, grace for selfishness, grace for brokenness and timing that only God could orchestrate.
To answer the inevitable question of “when are you returning?” the answer is I don’t know. If, when, how, why…I don’t know what the Lord has in store for the next few years of my life. I would LOVE to return, but even more I would love the immeasurable joy of walking in all the abundance of life God has for me, wherever continent, whatever profession that leads me to. Bittersweet is truly the only way I know how to describe being home, missing the simplicity of Uganda in a heart-wrenching state, but seeking joy in knowing I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Seeking joy in the thrill of the challenge in uncovering grace under Lilly Pulitzer calendars and phones that seem to ring once a minute. Beneath moving boxes and new beginnings and between busy schedules and behind what we continue to claim as the American dream.
I want to be unreliant on any part of myself.
“I believe I shall look on the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” Ps. 27:13