It’s that time of year again.
This week we talked to friends who have just arrived back in their country of residence. Many other expats are frantically shoving last minute items into already full suitcases, saying emotionally overwhelming goodbyes and scouring the internet for airline tickets that do not involve thirteen hour layovers. Just typing the above sentence causes my blood pressure to elevate and my heart rate to quicken.
Life overseas is not for the faint of heart and going back “home” can bring a flood of emotion ranging from utter elation to woeful sorrow. It’s a strange dichotomy that can’t be explained, only experienced.
Tonight I find myself missing our previous life and longing for the familiarity of the beautiful country we called “home.” Please don’t hear me wrong. I absolutely love where we are right now and I’m beyond thrilled to be back in my home country but as one author so eloquently put it, I find myself in a strange paradox.
“They can be completely thrilled to be “home” and feel like they just left it at the same time. Give them the space to love both places and the time to grieve their loss. Ask them what they’re going to miss the most.”
The Lord has been incredibly gracious. He has allowed me to deeply love my home country and the other countries I’ve called home. I consider it an absolute gift to be able to write from both sides of the equation and tonight I’m talking to my expat friends and this is what I want to tell you.
-Life can be hard and the day to day task of fighting for joy can be an immense struggle but this is not your forever home and one day you’re going to miss the expat life… soak every day in and let it transform who you are. The Lord will graciously use the most difficult of days to make you look more like His Son and you may not even notice the changes until you’re in a completely new life season.
-I know that you feel alone and forgotten but the truth is you are loved, remembered and prayed for. Life happens and people get busy and the enemy would love to make you think you are alone but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only do you serve a great God that promises to be with you, you have an army of people that talk about you, pray for you, remember you and love you…even when you are completely unaware.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17