We’ve been in South Sudan one month. We’ve been on the African continent only three. Right now all four kids are sleeping outside (because it is soo hot inside) in tents with dad and I am inside not liking the little gnats that are flying into my ears through the mosquito net and the sweat dripping down my neck.
There are many things I love about being here, community, the challenge of a new language, the way my kids love being outside, new friends, learning to cook new foods, the beauty of parts of the world I’ve never seen before, donkeys as background noise and sunsets over the water.
But I’ve been plagued with a gnawing sense of guilt that I don’t love being here all the time. See there are things I miss too, friends that I can easily share life with without a language barrier, knowing what to do in social situations (well sometimes), feeling cold, showers where I could choose the temperature, running water, family, paved roads, quick meal options…I sometimes find myself wondering what is wrong with me
…here I am in the country we have longed to be in, learning Arabic. Here we are in the place God has clearly told our family to live and sometimes I find myself hot and tired instead of filled with joy.
This struggle mirrors one I have in parenting. I love my kids. But I don’t love being a mom to four under six all the time. Some times I am tired, the questions seem old and the messes seem endless. I feel guilty, I love my kids, this time goes so fast why am I not enjoying every minute?
I find myself facing here in Melut the same questions that I faced halfway around the world in a bedroom that was cold on a mattress that sagged a bit in the middle where a net didn’t dance around the computer
Will I embrace today and all that it has, will I seek the face of God today or will I focus on regrets or frustrations. Will I love Africa not because of what it gives me (which is much) or hate it for it’s frustrations or will I simply embrace the moment that I’ve been given because in this moment I can know God more. Will I seek the face of God here?
The kids are loving tonight. It is hot, it is muggy but they are sleeping under the stars. Before bed PJ told me, “mom I wish it was cooler outside but aren’t the stars pretty?”. Yup the stars are sweet one and we are enjoying them because it is so hot. I love the stars, but not the heat, I love the view but not the bugs,I love communicating small things in Arabic but not the work it takes to do so, I love where God has brought our family but not each moment. I love what I have been given because in this place I am being refined to know God more, to seek him with greater passion and to know more of who He is. It is ok that each moment is not joyful as long as each moment brings me closer to the greatest joy there is, knowing God more deeply and being refined in Him.
It is gazing at the stars and seeing them more clearly because of the heat.