It’s hard to quantify just how scared I am about returning to the United States.
I know it seems funny, especially to those of you who live there, but I’m terrified.
Yes, I know that I was born there, lived there for 28 years, and left only seven years ago.
But the waves of fear have begun to pour over me nonetheless.
While I can focus on all of the things that I have done in the United States, my mind races to the list of things I haven’t (i.e., set up a household with children, raised children, put my kids in school, lived in Georgia, worked part-time as a Mom, etc.).
And as I just typed out that abridged list, my face became flushed because of stress.
I always found the concept of cultural re-entry shock somewhat amusing. AS IF living in your home country is so tough you need counseling (I used to think). Time to get out the world’s smallest violin…
Let me just say my thinking on the matter has significantly changed. In fact, I would say that what I’m going through right now closely compares to how I felt when I arrived in Kazakhstan in the middle of winter seven years ago not knowing anything about the culture or any Russian. And I haven’t even arrived in the States yet.
If it hadn’t been for God’s telling us that it was time to go and that it would be better, I don’t know what I would do.
It is taking every ounce of faith I have (and sometimes more faith that I have) to hang on to that word.
I read today about God telling the Israelites that He was going to take them out of slavery and bring them to the Promised Land. Initially the Jewish leaders were overcome with awe at that news; they bowed in worship.
But things quickly got harder. Pharaoh was incensed at their request to take a three day journey to worship the Lord. He demanded that the Jewish slaves continue their back-breaking task of making bricks, but he took away their allotment of straw. When the people couldn’t meet their quotas, the Jewish leaders were beaten.
The leaders cried out in anger to Moses (I probably would, too, if I had been beaten) and even Moses wavered and asked the Lord why He had done evil to them. You read that right. Moses accused God of doing evil to His people.
Change, especially change that comes from God, can bring out every emotion we have. And it’s especially hard to hang on to a promise of something you can’t see, especially when your present situation is getting harder and harder.
Today I found myself questioning God through my tears as well.
“Lord, how are we going to take care of our children?”
“Where are we going to live?”
“How are we going to make it?”
And then the questions turned to an accusation,
“This doesn’t look like ‘better’ to me … ”
Back to the story of the Jewish people. I noticed that God didn’t get angry at Moses for asking questions, even impertinent ones (like mine). In fact, He overlooked Moses’ accusation and simply said, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land. …
Then the Lord gave Moses the master plan. God was going to “multiple signs and wonders” in Egypt, proving to the Egyptians that the Lord is God.
In the meantime, the Israelites were going to walk through a time of great uncertainty but also a time of great miracles. And the story of their deliverance would become one of the main themes of the first half of the Bible.
Still, without the benefit of hindsight, I’ll bet it wasn’t easy for them to walk through it. Would the Lord win the day? Would they go back to being beaten? What did the Promised Land look like, anyway? Would they like it when they got there?
I’m not sure how to end this post, exactly, except to say that I’m holding on to God’s promise to me and my family. I’m trying, when the fears come, to trust Him. Sometimes I’m doing better than other times, but I know that God is faithful. His promise will be fulfilled.