Have you ever gone through a season of tears and aches and you sought answers and none was forthcoming?
Ever asked God (what you thought was) hard hard questions but instead of answers got the feeling that God was waiting on you?
In the last one year, I’ve had a fair share of those moments.
To borrow Floyd’s words, “that yank on the belly of your soul’, can leave one wordless. Or mumbling incoherently.
I hope to do neither…but this journey has been anything but neat or comprehensible.
A little back ground;
I am Kenyan (a gorgeous country in the Eastern part of Africa, lying at the equator).
Thirteen months ago, my husband and I moved to the United States.
Prior to our move, I was working at our start-up, a consulting and training firm, after closing a clothing and jewelry retail outlet.
We were loving the smell of new business, new clients and were absolutely excited about business potential.
My husband was loving his work – his career was finally aligning to purpose.
We adored Africa (still do). We knew God had called us to make a difference in our country and continent.
Our roots ran deep. We loved our local church and our couples group. We loved organizing couples seminars and singles events. We loved our mentors and enjoyed a deep connection.
We were not the kind that “dream of making a living abroad”.
Nonetheless, three years ago things began to shift, though we had no idea at that time.
It was a normal day. I had a sick friend at a local hospital. I was about to board a bus to the hospital – and my mind was on what she wanted to eat, how I’d feed her, the stories she had, the updates from the doctor.
My mind was not on moving. Yet that’s the news I received before I boarded the bus. I called my husband and we laughed about it. And dismissed it.
But we have two years to think about it.
While we do not want to leave, we finally begin to open up to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, God is working out something incomprehensible but divine.
Two years offer a lot of time to pray, consult, research, wait on God. We fleece and ask Him to confirm everything.
We (okay, my husband) has a simple way of looking at it.
If God wants us to move, He would show up in exact specific ways. He relaxes and gives God room to move.
I try to relax and to kick back but I don’t have the introverted relaxed personality my husband has. So I feel like I am picking up the fleece. Not a good place to be.
In the middle of 2011 and armed with plans, connections, ideas and dreams, we finally move.
Having prayed and walked through the process with our mentors, we are at peace about our decision.
But we quickly discover that nurturing dreams is one thing, walking them out is a different deal all together.
We are thirteen months old in our new country of residence, the United States. I look back and wonder where time has gone. It still feels like we arrived yesterday.
My husband has connected with work he loves.
I have been in and out of small jobs – and they drove me crazy. People think am choosy. I am. We all are. I am just not good at hiding it.
I am now wholly devoted to kick start our business/ministry, from a slightly different angle than what we had in Kenya.
God has continued to be awesome at what He does – shepherding his two kids.
I miss home terribly.
I miss the crisp evening air and the sounds of an African morning. I miss walking to the roadside shop on a lazy afternoon to buy fresh produce for dinner. I miss the choice cuts from my local butchery.
I even miss the noisy traffic, dusty air, red soil, crazy public transport. And the weird politics and shenanigans on evening TV.
Most nights, I dream of Kenya – I wake up surprised that am not home.
I think I have grown more in this past year than I would have if I had stayed in Kenya.
I have learned to trust God on a whole new level. When you are in foreign country and all you have is a big dream, you learn to trust God for everything.
Sometimes I think God may have brought me this far in order to get me alone.
I am a busy bee by nature. I detest idleness. I have always filled my life with activity – not always a bad idea, but again not always a good idea.
God did shut down everything – my usual life, business, ministry, busyness – so that I could sit still, hear and focus exclusively on the things He wanted me to hear.
Alone in this great land, defiant in my dreams and tenacious in faith, I have had no choice but sit still, listen and and learn.
It’s not all gloom.
I am falling in love with America.
It’s a fascinating land, a melting pot of world cultures. I am almost persuaded that at least every nation on earth has a representative here.
Coming from the stiff old-British culture (Kenya obtained its independence from Britain in 1965), I am amazed and delighted by the casual outlook here.
Casual in general life but cut-throat in business and work. Compared to Kenya anyway.
I love the efficient systems and simplified living. I may not like the frozen vegetables much but at least they are all cut up and ready to cook!
I love summer, early fall and late spring. I am still figuring out what to think about winter, besides “I can’t go through this again!”
I am loving the new connections we are making, the fresh opportunities that God is bringing our way.
Lessons I have learned.
If there’s anything I’d like you to take away from this post, it’s this; don’t give up.
I want to encourage you – yes, you. You are busy working on your dream, following the Lord but you feel like the world is on your shoulders. You feel like it’s easier to let go or find something else to do.
I want to encourage you – nothing else will make sense other than doing what God created you to do.
If you hang in there, if you keep doing what you are doing long enough, breakthrough will come.
I know. Not earth-shattering news, you’ve heard it all before.
But hang on to it like it’s the truth.
Because it is.
God does not owe man anything. When He says He’ll do something, He does it. If you keep putting your foot in front of the other, you will reach Canaan.
I cannot sign off without sharing some of the other life lessons I have learned.
1. You will not always understand or know where your dreams will take you.
You only need to know the Dream Maker, the Dream Giver. Surrender the details to Him.
2. You actually know way less than you think you do.
Be humble, stay teachable, hang on to God for dear life.
3. Try and enjoy the process.
Otherwise you might find that you lived 10% of your life (destination) and missed out the rest of the 90 % (the process)
4. The world does not revolve around you.
Seriously. Grow up, release people to be people and live your life.
5. Only God can bring your dreams to pass.
Don’t hustle people for promotion. Tone down expectation.
6. Knowing who you are (in God) will carry you through ugly soul-deadening seasons.
7. Treasure your relationships
Family, friends. Life has it’s ebbs and flows. It will not always be the same.
8. Learn to let go of seasons.
Grieve, cry, roll on the floor if you must. But let go of the past and embrace the new. Don’t hold on to what is already gone.
9. Learn to cleave.
Your relationship will help you weather the toughest storms.
10. Treasure your mentors, people who pour their lives to you.
They won’t always be there. Not always in the same way anyway (some props will be kicked out down the road)
11. If you can (please try), learn the needed lesson the first time round.
So that you don’t have to go round the same mountain again.
Question – How is your journey? Are you pursuing your dreams no matter the the cost?