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Welcoming the Opposite Life


Today, I'm linking-up with The Grove at VelvetAshes.com, where we’re talking, this week, about opposites.


It’s like living in a pressure cooker.


Everything surrounding you is new, and beautiful...but unfamiliar; foreign, confusing and challenging. The vast array of differences reach from language, to food, to any and all daily tasks.


The comfortable life you once lived, where the route to work was etched in your mind, bills were paid easily online and frozen dinners/fast food saved you from having to cook on days you were too busy...that life, you’ve now left behind.


You have entered a new place. A new culture, and a new community welcome you.


But do you welcome it??


My entrance into African culture wasn’t graceful. It was awkward and uncomfortable; the once simple tasks of daily life, now became very hard, time-consuming and uncertain.


No refrigeration = cooking every meal.

No running water = dependance on rain to fill the water tank and hand-washing laundry.

No electricity = using headlamps after dark.


Changes. Differences. Learning language. It was all overwhelming at the beginning. This opposite life I’d entered threw me for a journey I wasn’t sure I was ready for.


Yet, in the middle of the chaos, there were moments stillness and peace...excitement even. But, I had to call to mind the reason for my hope, the reason I was there in this new place.


Relationships.


So, as I embarked on the task of taking hold of this opposite life, I began to practice remembrance.


Counting the gratitudes of the journey behind me, led me to embrace the journey before me.


All the encouragement and affirmation we received during our preparation. Financial support that God provided. The ways He worked to prepare us for life across the pond; there were so many ways to remember.


“I will remember the Lord’s works; yes, I will remember Your ancient wonders.” Psalm 77:11


As I continued to remember, peace and conviction began to fill those places of uncertainty. The Gospel began to take a deeper root within me.


Stepping back from the disruptions of life, I began to see people. When I was past some of the culture shock, my eyes seemed to lift from the struggles of my own soul - the desperate battle to adapt - to the presence of the wonderful souls surrounding me. The reason we were here.


Day by day, life became a little easier and a little more familiar.


It started with small things. The intentional time learning to braid hair, pound rice or shuck beans. It was the small group gathering where I’d normally serve coffee, now I’d learned to make black tea. The first time I understood a whole conversation.


Landmarks along a journey to welcoming an opposite life; one with beauty, fullness, but always learning, always shifting.


The adapting doesn’t stop. Neither does the learning. We grow in our love and our character, if we welcome it, if we participate in it.


Holding our expectations loosely, we can transition with hope. Trusting God’s purposes for our life, remembering His acts of grace to bring us where we are, and lifting our eyes to see those around us, who need abundant Life.


How have you welcomed the opposites in your life?

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