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remembering changes

Two years ago this week, I moved from Germany to Tennessee after two years in Europe. My journal reflects abundant mental processing with dozens of pages of closely-written cursive. In memory of that transition, this week I reread some of what I wrote and thought about it in light of the present.

In a long entry dated 18 June 2008, I lapsed into a prayer after describing some of my thoughts and struggles after only four days back in the States.

Lord, keep me seeking You for help . . . I want to rest; I need to rest, but I don’t want to get lazy. Help me be patient with myself in this adjustment. Perhaps that’s the hardest thing for me to do right now – have patience with myself! This place is familiar but I am not the same person. I pray especially that I will not even be tempted to change back into that person, even though people expect me to be the same.

It’s not that I’ve reinvented myself – it’s that You changed me and grew me to fit a different mold. You sculpted more of Yourself into me and showed me how to rest in the confidence that You created me and will sustain me. You showed me that I don’t have to compare myself to others or endeavor to be like them; that I am beloved as I am and You made my personality to be perfectly capable of relationships with a wide variety of others.

You broke my shell and showed me that although I’m not loud and outgoing, I am a relational creature. Fear held me back, as did the box I and others put me in: the box of shyness, reserve, and anti-sociability. But I’ve learned that on the contrary, relationships are of tremendous importance to me. You have showed me the beauty of purposeful relationships: mentoring, discipleship, accountability, and friendships that produce edification. I’ve had to work through miscommunications, misunderstandings, personality clashes, and disagreements. I’ve learned the value of direct confrontation and You’ve given me a few chances to practice it. You’ve taught me about being in authority and under authority – at the same time. I’ve learned how to love people better.

Now, not forgetting all these things, I ask You to build on them. Draw me deeper into You. Protect me from jealousy. Hold me steady in my resolve not to take offense at people’s questions [about my time in Germany], to respond with patient explanations, and to not care what they think of me or my decisions. Help me seek wisdom in the best places. Help me sift through the flood of advice and discern what is true and helpful. Help me stay on course, grounded in You, content to wait for the things I desire in this life, and eager to enjoy the blessings that each day holds without looking too hard at the future. Amen.


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