Now that I’m here, I find myself fighting a beast – the beast of homesickness. My thoughts can so easily go back to home, missing my family and friends, missing the laughs, the countless hours of chatting about anything and everything.
The thing about the beast of homesickness is that it presents itself in different forms. Some days it can be seen in a sigh when I’m wishing that I could relax in my own bed or eat some Red Robin French fries. Other days it’s a small tear running down my cheek as I just miss my family. But other days, like today, it grips onto my heart like hands on a wet dishrag and squeezes until there’s nothing more left.
It’s a kind of pain I’ve never felt before in my life. It’s an ache for my mom’s arms wrapped around me after a bad day. It’s the longing to hear my dad quote some tv show or movie for the millionth time, or wish to hear my brother’s laugh while watching tv. It’s the tears and sobbing that flow out when I’d give anything just to sit around a kitchen table and talk about anything that comes out of my heart.
And do you know what the worst part is?
I chose this.
God called and I said, “Yes.” He said go, and I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
But what other choice did I have? To disobey God’s calling in this season in my life?
What makes it all even more difficult is that most missionaries don’t want to talk about homesickness. They don’t want their supporters to know that they’re struggling. They don’t want it to be used as ammunition for anyone who thought they couldn’t make it. If they don’t decide to make a career of missions, they don’t want to hear the words, “See, I told you she couldn’t make it.”
But the truth is that homesickness is a very real thing in the mission field. I was reading a blog post by another missionary who compared missionaries to being the round peg God is trying to jam into a square hole. Nothing seems to fit just right. I try my hardest to fit in and would give anything to just feel like “one of them” and not stand out in the crowd, but the truth is God designed me to stand out in this place and at this time in life.
I’m still learning the cure to homesickness. I don’t think there’s any one remedy. Some days it’s to immerse myself in work. Other days I just let myself cry. Sometimes finding a few people to spend time with does the trick, and other times it’s spending some time alone with God. Some days it means going out to eat a meal I didn’t have to prepare, and other days it means staying in and getting on Facebook.
I know without a doubt that God has called me here. In this last week alone He has whispered to me more times than I can count, “You’re right where I want you. Don’t let your heart be troubled. I’m here with you and I won’t leave you.” And there are some days that repeating that over and over is what gives me the strength to get through the day, because honestly at this point the thought of fighting this beast for the next 2 years is overwhelming. So I look for God’s strength for each day, and when that’s still too much to bear, I search for it minute by minute.
I don’t want to spend these 2 years wishing I could be home just so I can get home and wish I could be back here. The truth is that my heart will always and forever be split between these two places, home and home. The home I grew up in, and the home I’m making here. So despite the pain and heartache I will keep moving forward. I will keep on loving, keep on teaching, keep on praying, and keep on pressing on. And day by day, God will give me strength to do His work, in His timing, in this place until this season changes into another. And my prayer is that what I have learned in this season in life will help me in the next.