Constancy and change

People who live overseas often talk about change.  Different homes, different people, and different perspectives change us, then we come back to find that the home we left hasn’t. The people haven’t either, at least in the dramatic and sometimes severe ways that we often do.  I have known both sides of this coin in various seasons of life. 

Right now, I am one of those who have been weathered and shaped by change.  The most apparent and significant of these is becoming a mother.  It has been two + years since I have been home, and since then, as always, I’ve always had little bits of this place tucked into the thread of my mind’s imagination.  The anticipation of springtime’s daffodils and tulips.    Old grandfather clocks chiming on the quarter hour.  The porch swing creaking.  The smell of old books.  My spot at the dinner table.  Little things like this make up my memories of home.

I realize by coming back, this time in particular, how God has bent my heart toward my home in Malaysia.  Washington isn’t a place that isn’t to be missed as much as it is to be enjoyed when we do get to come here.  I love it here for many reasons, but I love my Penang home too.  My son was born there.  We have a church family and the work that God has called us to do there.  We've felt the weight of sacrifice and the faith that grew there alongside it.  The place in which our dreams start to look like God's dreams for us is not easily forgotten.  Our lives really are like that tapestry metaphor: life looks all sloppy and messy on one side, but when we turn it over a beautiful image appears. The pattern emerging is this: We give things to God, He gives them back to us more abundantly that we could ever imagine. Sometimes we just need to take a step back to see it.  

The home I grew up in was made in part from the brick of an old local warehouse.  The marks are still there – Oct 3, 1907.  Sometimes it takes a timelessness like this to realize how much the life of my family has been shaped by change.  And yet I observe within the walls of this house of how no oceans need be crossed to live a life of faithful service to Jesus.  Sometimes radical living is unloading the dishwasher for the ten-thousandth time.  It’s going to work every day for decades and never complaining.  It's being a stay at home mom for decades and doing it all over again with the grandkids.  Sally Clarkson says, “A radical life for Christ isn’t always visible to outside eyes.”   I suspect that this kind of sacrifice is much greater than what I know now.

So I will enjoy this season “home” for the gift that it is to me– time to reconnect with family and friends, time to feel the soft grass under our feet, watch my mug of hot tea steam, and to enjoy that beautiful sound of quietness that I had forgotten about as a city-dweller.    It’s time for rest for my soul, because the Lord has been good to me.  I always knew it, but now I get to step back and see it. Both constancy and change remind me of that.   

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