‘It Is What It Is, Man’
Guest post by FHI student Kristen Wind, who lives in Richmond, Virginia but is originally from Perth, Australia. This is about her recent visit home. Article originally posted on her blog.
When people ask me how I feel about living away from home, I don’t always know how to answer that question. I love my life in Church Hill in Richmond, Virginia, alongside a husband who is sweet and kind, yet strong and wise, and who loves me and our boys with such fullness and humility. I love our friends, our community, our spiritual family and the ways we feel God is active here. After much prayer and consideration, we believe that this is where we are supposed to be.
Day to day, I feel full, content, happy and confident that we are following the path God has laid out for us. I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today had a handsome Southern boy not swept me off my feet and moved me here to the other side of the world.
However, moving to the other side of the world has not always been a fairy tale. It has painfully stripped away many of the false comforts and “band-aids” that formed my identity and kept me chugging along apart from Jesus. Over time, I’ve come to discover who I really am and to Whom I belong — and that my identity, peace and happiness are not based on circumstances, beauty, my family, material things, intelligence, popularity, pleasing people, keeping up appearances, or what I do. Rather, it is firmly rooted in Christ Jesus. I no longer feel tossed about.
But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.
BUT… the pain of saying goodbye to my family after every visit to Perth never gets any easier to handle.
I’ve lived in the US for seven years now, and we recently arrived home from our latest trip to Perth. When we come home, I normally “soldier on,” trying to switch off Australia and jump straight back into life as quickly as I can.
This time was different.
At 4 AM on the Monday morning after we returned, I was wide awake, completely undone, anxious and fearful about facing the day. My “soldiering on” plan was not really working to push through the jet lag. It had been a few days since I’d really slept. Frustrated, and feeling hopeless, it didn’t seem like my prayers were being answered, or that God’s grace was meeting me. All that seemed real was that I had three sleepless boys, battled intense and nauseating migraines the day before, and didn’t know how I would make it through the day.
As I said, my philosophy is typically to just get on with it — or, as my brother Rhys would say, “It is what it is, man.” But I felt so exhausted, afraid, and heartsick.
Enter in the sweet nudge of the Holy Spirit saying, “What exactly is it that you want to invite me into? What are you not acknowledging? What hurt do you want me to touch? I can’t help you if you are not willing to acknowledge what’s going on and what you’re feeling.”
It wasn’t even on my radar, but all of a sudden I knew. I heard from deep within myself: “I wish my mum were here right now. She would know just how to help, just what to do with the boys. I miss my family.” And I just starting crying for hours.
I don’t think I had ever allowed myself to feel the weight of these things before. But I was held by the sweetness of a God who feels our pain, cares about our feelings and hurts, captures and cares about every tear, Who understands our feelings better than we do, and weeps with us. In that moment, I knew that it was safe to feel, because I knew to Whom I could take those feelings.
That moment turned into another opportunity to knock down some walls I had built around my heart, to release some emotions I had buried deep for fear of their pain, and to simply say, “Pull me a little closer, Lord, and meet me where I am today.”
He can only meet us when we first acknowledge that we need to be met. He knows what to do with our tears, fears, weaknesses, and emotions. He sees it all through the eyes of love.
“I don’t understand the mystery of Grace— only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”
– Anne Lamott
And in that moment He left me with a couple of go-to words for the days ahead.
That “God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). That “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave or forsake you (Joshua 1:5).
When we are at our most raw, vulnerable, ugly, we need to pause and say, “Pull me a little closer Lord.”
I don’t know why I ended up here on the other side of the world, but… “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).
He has been so faithful to provide for us where we have been planted. In the middle of the tears, the sleep deprivation, and long nights watching the sun come up, I now can’t help but feel thankful and grateful. That is something that can only make sense in the Kingdom of God. He always shows up where we weren’t even looking for Him.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord while I am here in the land of the living.
So how do I answer the question, “What is it like living so far away from your family?” It really hurts, and I miss them, and there are moments like these I especially wish my mum were here. BUT GOD!
God is real.
God is good.
That truth has left me with some food for thought, and crucial questions for how to deal with these feelings moving forward. What emotions do we tend to strive to not acknowledge or feel? And how can coming to a place of acknowledging them actually set us free?
We all have fears and worries. But bringing God into those fears can change everything, and He can show you the truth of His love in any situation. Learn practical ways to pray through and deal with your fears and anxieties on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at FHI’s Freedom From Fear seminar.
You can register today at https://fhi-freedomfromfear.eventbrite.com.
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.