It is quite crazy to think that a year ago I was starting my journey in France. Really I had no idea what was in store for me. All I knew was that I had to let go, surrender completely to the will of my Father and trust that He would be faithful.
Coming home from such an incredible journey has been challenging. When I first came home people would ask me how I was adjusting and if I was suffering from culture shock, and for the first month I said that there were things I missed, but I wasn’t really culture shocked. However, I was really wrong in that. It definitely took me a good month and a half to actually recognize the fact that I felt like there was a piece of me missing. It’s actually a very frustrating thought for me and what is more frustrating is that there aren’t many people who can understand what I have been going through. There are times where I feel like I am lost in a world that is moving too fast as I try to find a piece of me that will never come back. Honestly I can barely understand my own feelings, so I don’t really expect others to, yet I feel upset by the fact that I can’t explain what I’ve lost.
My time in France enabled me to grow – a lot. I’d say in almost every aspect of my life I grew (except the physical part… I’m still only 5’1”).
The reliance that I had to have on God was a crucial part to this growth. There I was in a country that I didn’t know, low confidence in my language skills (especially when it came to speaking), and really having no idea as to what to expect. Nonetheless, God definitely exceeded all thoughts that I ever had on how my journey would go. I believe that’s why it’s been so difficult returning home. Having had these great God moments and having lived close to their epicentres, moving away from them sometimes makes it easier to forget the amazing things that I have had to go through. Their memory lingers in my thoughts yet they have began to slowly fade and I can’t go to the places to remind myself.
This reminds me of the children of Israel once they had left Egypt. There comes a time where Moses sends out twelve spies to go search the land that the LORD had promised them. Ten of the twelve spies spread lies about what they had seen, which causes many of the Israelites to lose trust in God and his ability to deliver on His promises. In fact, they wanted to overthrow Moses and go back to Egypt! The nation that oppressed them and made them slaves! (Numbers 13-14:4) It didn’t matter that God was continually doing miraculous works for them, the memory of what God had done for them began to fade and they began to see the next challenge as being bigger than the one who freed them from their slavery. And this is the importance of Passover.
“You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’” (Exodus 13:8)
Passover commemorates what God did for the children of Israel, in Egypt. There needed to be something to remind the Israelites of God’s faithfulness and might. Our memories aren’t the most amazing things all the time. And realizing that the Israelites would not forever remember what happened in Egypt with the same passion as when they were leaving, God created a week, every year, where the Israelites would spend time reflecting on the miraculous work of the LORD and what He did to free them. (Exodus 13:3-10)
Now unlike the Israelites, I never built a golden calf and started looking to that as my help, but there have been moments where I have began to rely on myself. Since coming home there have been some challenges that I have had to face and in some of those moments I have looked at them as giants instead of remembering the many amazing works that my Father demonstrated to/for me while abroad. However, through these moments I am thankful for the grace He has for me and that He is patient. When I stray a little off side He waits for me to comeback.
I am very thankful that I have written many of my experiences from France down because I am able to look back now, and even though I am not around the places where all these wonderful events occurred, I can somewhat relive them. I can remind myself of what a faithful Father God is. No matter how lost I feel at times, I know who goes before me and I know who stands behind.
What a difference a year makes…