I can’t believe it, this time next month, we’ll have been home for a whole year!
After we moved home from India, a lot of people told us they just couldn’t imagine packing everything up, living in a developing country for a year and a half, eventually coming back and spending the next couple months staying in hotels, temporary apartments or crashing at a friend’s place until they could move into their own apartment again.
When I stop and look back at that season I’m amazed that I (we) did all that too. I couldn’t feel or see it then, but I know grace had everything to do with our ability to handle so many changes in such a short period of time.
I once talked with a friend of mine about how intimidating having kids seems. I told her I was scared of my own selfishness and even inability to love them all the time. But she replied, “You know what though, there’s always enough grace. You don’t think you have it now, but you just have to learn to trust that God’s grace is always going to be there for you to tap into in the midst of the late nights and temper tantrums. You don’t think it will be there, but when you need it, it WILL be there.”
I think that’s so true for everything. Whatever situation comes your way, whether that’s living in a foreign country or having kids, grace is already there for you to access in those difficult moments.
As I’ve processed my [false] guilt over all the things I didn’t do in India, one of the things I’ve told myself (and others) is: “Yeah, I didn’t really excel at living in Delhi, but it’s ok because God just didn’t give me grace for that place, so I’m off the hook.” Rather than attacking the lie head-on that I needed to be more or do more, I just put another band-aid on the pain and dismissed it as simply not having a special India-grace-gifting. I still wasn’t letting myself believe that maybe, just maybe, I didn’t fail to begin with and there was no condemnation coming from His side.
There WAS grace for India, even though at the time performance kept telling me, “You’re not doing enough. You should be doing more. You’re doing a bad job. You’re disappointing God. You’re being a bad Christian. You’re failing as a wife. You should be stronger.” The loud, harsh voice of performance made it hard to hear the still, quiet voice of grace.
God doesn’t play by our rules or judge us by our own standards. His grace is not given based on someone’s abilities or aptitude. I still believe that some people definitely have more grace, either naturally or supernaturally, for India. I don’t know why that is, but I know it isn’t because certain people are “better” than others.
We have a couple of friends who have spent the past ten years living in Delhi. And when I say living, I mean that in the middle of paying bills and getting groceries, they’re running a business, shepherding a community of young Christians and trying to adopt a little girl. Another couple of friends who arrived in India around the same time as Michael and I, have no plans to return home either. They’re in the process of putting their roots down deep despite all the day-to-day challenges living in a foreign culture presents.
Both of these families count the cost of living in India every single day. They’re fully there and fully experiencing every bit of India that Michael and I did, and sometimes it’s still hard for me to not wonder at how in the world they’re doing it!
But it’s all relative right? While I’m busy being amazed by (…and blessing and thanking and admiring) their commitments to India, someone else is looking at me and wondering how in the world I did it.
So really, at the end of the day, there’s no use in comparing our lives to those around us and beating ourselves up.
To each a portion has been given, and He will always give you the grace (ability) to steward it well.