Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just being honest

Anyone who has moved a few times knows how hard it is.  It’s a big adventure, but it’s hard work, too.  At first there is the excitement of a new place & a new house.  Then you learn where Target is and it starts to feel like home.  But after the boxes are unpacked and the pictures are hung, the hard work begins.  As an Army wife, I always thought of it as my own mission -  Mission: Find Friends! 

Outside the military, though, it’s quite different.
Coming back from serving God overseas, it’s quite different, too.

See, we naturally gravitate towards others who are like us.  Those who think like us, live like us, understand things like we do. My military friends understand what I mean. As a military family, we always lived in places surrounded by other military families. These were people like us, with families far away and living for just a short time in a new place. We all knew that our time together would be short before the government would send one family or another on to a new place. 

The result of that was deep, real, intimate friendships.  With no time for small talk, we got right into the big stuff.  Friendships grew more important as husbands would deploy.  We helped each other.  We cried together.  We laughed together.  We loved God together.  We’d enlist the help of our husbands for friends living through a deployment who needed help in the lawn, or with home repairs, or just needed help to take the Christmas boxes out of the attic. Our husbands gladly did these things and their husbands returned the favor for us. We all loved each other like family.  Friendships were the “I love your kids as much as I love mine” kind of friendships.  They were friendships that lasted through any amount of time or distance. 

I miss that.

It wasn’t the same in Cambodia.  As soon as we got there, I struggled to meet people.  When I did, it was a while before we trusted each other a fraction of the amount as before.  I was meeting women and moms from other countries, other cultures, all in Cambodia for a wide variety of reasons.  A few friendships developed deeper as I found the expatriate community a little similar to the military community, with all of us so far from home, going through similar circumstances. 

It was in the in-between time – the time from when I got to Cambodia and met no one to the time I began to find true friends I could share my heart with – that was hard.  For a few months I was in a strange in-between world where I felt lonely and uncertain. That was when I clung to God and, looking back, I see that it was an important time for me. Dealing with all the new sights and sounds, and trying to cope with all the darkness around me, I would have turned to friends, but without any, I turned to Him. Looking back, it is very clear that He led me through that time for a reason.

And now I am there again.

We naturally seek others who understand us and I’m not sure there is anyone in all of greater Houston that understands me right now. My heart still longs for Cambodia and its people. My homeschooling journey is continuing. My husband is looking for an Army Reserve unit, which reminds me that we could face another deployment anytime. My kids ask where we will live next because their sweet little hearts aren’t even able to settle here for now.  My whole extended family is nearby for the first time in ten years and my mom is waiting on medical test results we are all anxious to hear. My phone doesn’t ring so much anymore as friends move on to new, exciting things in their lives. My house in North Carolina that I loved is empty and I long to see it one more time before it sells. My heart is hurting.

But I will cling to Him.

Because I know, one day, I will look back at this time and see that He needed to hold me close for a reason.  I know that, all together, no one is just like me.  No one can match every need I have. But if you just take one sentence above at a time, there are many who understand.  I will find others to love me just as I am.

But for now, He does.  And I will cling to Him.