My eyes glistening wet, holding back the tears I admit, “It has taken more faith for me to return to Tennessee than it did to go to Mexico in the first place.” The Mexican village that once forced me from my comfort zone has become like a well worn shoe, or should I say, huarache (Mexican sandal). Language, customs and mannerisms which were once foreign to me, had become my norm. Now, don’t get me wrong, living in Mexico was far from easy. In fact those 16 years were filled with constant crisis management. The vicarious trauma & personal hardship that we have experienced are enough to make anyone a little overwhelmed. Stories, I could tell, but refrain…. At times it seemed like it would never end, yet today I sit in another country. One where people call me “Sweetheart” & “Honey” and then say, “Chew ain’t frum round here, are ya!?!” I must “re”tune my ears to understand their Southern draw, and then reply, “Well actually I am from here, it’s just been a while since I’ve lived here.”
What was once my normal, has now become strange and unusual. Sometimes when people speak to me, I stare blankly. I’m processing, translating & trying to understand. As I am once again stretched beyond my comfort zone, I struggle with the question, “Why am I here?” Over the years, I’ve heard many missionaries say that it was difficult for them to return to their home country. And so it is! The familiar…now unfamiliar, my identity…challenged. Who am I? Where is my place? Then unexpectedly, I heard God’s still steady voice…”America has become the mission field.” I look around, I listen, I contemplate and I know that this is true.
A lot has changed in the last 16 years! America, Tennessee, you have changed! Then again, I have changed too. His reassuring voice, comfortingly familiar, “Everything that you’ve learned the last 16 years is to prepare you for this!”
I knew coming here would bring clarity for the next step and next season. And little by little I am starting to piece together His purpose in asking me once again to take off my comfortable shoes.
What comfortable shoes is God asking you to take off inorder to follow Him?