As the days and weeks pass by, my departure for my life in Uganda ticks like a bomb about to explode.
It’s my greatest joy, my saddest goodbye, and my biggest adventure all rolled into one.
When I look back, I can’t believe how quickly the days are passing.
And honestly, it surprised me.
When I first got my job at Rainbow International School back in May, I thought my return to Uganda would never come soon enough. But now, as my to-do list only seems to grow, many things still need to be purchased, and I have dear friends to spend time with and say goodbye to, I am overwhelmed with feeling like I’m running out of time.
Yes, this new chapter of my life is definitely an exciting one. Anyone moving to another country will tell you that. But what they don’t tell you is the range of emotions that are coupled with the adventure.
I would love to tell you that this preparation process has been all rainbows and butterflies, but that would be a lie. Of course, I’m excited. Of course, I am devoted to this path I have chosen. But it’s hard to feel that all the time.
In the midst of working 35+ hour weeks, paperwork for visas and teaching certification, lists upon lists, endless conversations on how I will cook food and purify my water, studying 70 page syllabi for my future classes, heartbreaking decisions about whether or not to leave my cello behind, medication debacles, and so much more, I’ll admit, it’s hard to keep my eyes straight forward.
There are days I feel my attitude is under attack. The enemy uses outside forces and thoughts in my own head to fill me with doubts. Somedays I feel incapable. Somedays I feel I am bound to fail. Somedays I feel wrapped in guilt over leaving behind my family. Somedays I fear the difficulty everyday life in Uganda will bring. Often I fear loneliness living alone in a city on the other side of the world.
It’s not pretty but it’s reality-for me, and my guess is for anyone obediently doing what God calls them to do, which, let’s face it, is rarely safe or comfortable.
However, (don’t worry here comes the sunny part) there are important lessons being revealed through all the struggles: God doesn’t desire for me to feel these things, but He uses everything. God wants me to see now that not every day in Uganda is going to be rainbows and butterflies either. I’m going to be spending my first two years teaching (which would be difficult anywhere), in a foreign country, teaching students from many, many different backgrounds, working in an environment that is not kingdom focused. I will be so far from everything I know to be normal, for a long time. This is going to be the most stretching thing I’ve done in my life so far, and how good a father would He be if God let me walk into this experience completely blinded to the reality of what is to come?
It also gives me great comfort to remember that no matter what, God is in control. I don’t need to know exactly how everything in Uganda is going to go because I know my Father in Heaven already sees it and has my back. I feel relief knowing before He made me, He knew how all of this was going to go. He knew I would get stressed and question if I’m strong enough, and He chose me for this path anyway. He already knows the mistakes I have yet to make and He keeps loving me despite them all. He equips me for everything I need to carry out His will (Hebrews 13:21).
When my moments of doubt and fear and guilt come, it doesn’t feel good. But what does feel good is knowing God is taking time to prepare his daughter, and He has set this path that is uniquely mine out before me.
To anyone who is preparing for something like me, or maybe something completely different, but experiencing the same emotions: Don’t be afraid to talk about it. I think a lot of times, as Christians, we feel like we can’t show our struggles. We have to act like following God is easy so other people will want to do it too. But the truth is it isn’t easy. It’s intentionally a hard walk so we are forced to rely on the strength of God rather than our own. Following God’s will is serious stuff. We’re not promised safety or ease. However, we are promised that God will never leave us. There is stress involved in this life, but it is well worth the trouble.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God foes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”