This Moment

This moment is painful. This speck of time I want so desperately to escape. Go backwards. Go forwards… any moment but this one. Any time but now.

The enemy is whispering. . .  Failure. Unloved. Weak. Alone. Hopeless. Broken. Unwanted. Forgotten.

His lies. . . Run. Escape. Don’t press into Him. He has no plan for you. Run. Escape the pain. Run. Run. Run. . .

I want to be there, last summer, laughing on the beach and so full I thought I might burst. Two years ago… basking in the Iraqi sun with my Kurdish friends singing Happy Birthday. That college night  surrounded by the family I chose, up until 3AM and laughing so hard I cried. At that gymnastics meet I won, grasping the plastic “gold” medal, my most treasured possession. I want to be 5 years old again, when scraping my knee was devastating, yet all I needed was to be wrapped in their arms to know my world was perfect again.

I don’t want to be in this second. I want it to be next year, my heart more mended, my pain more forgotten. Want it to be that moment when all the puzzle pieces fit and He says look daughter, this is why I created you to be you – this is why I brought you through. I want it to be my wedding day. Want it to be the day I become a mom. I want it to be tomorrow. Next week. Next month. But now? This now I just want to escape. This now-ness is a heavy blanket crushing me – I want to be out from under it.

But now is what I have. This moment is where I grow. Here is where He loves and shapes me. This second is where He picks me up, draws me closer, and urges me to trust.

This moment I choose to give up control. This second I choose to take comfort in El Roi,  my God that sees. This moment is where He has me and so this is the moment I will take shelter under His wings.

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Homesick

Iraq isn’t home.

This place is so nice. I love the people. I love so many of their values. I love drinking chai. I love the relationships I’ve made here.

But it isn’t home.

I will never be Kurdish.
I will never completely understand the culture.
The language is foreign, the way people dress is foreign.

Even if I lived here a decade I would still stick out like a sore thumb. I am an alien to this land.

Even when days are their very best, the weather beautiful, the conversation amazing, part of my heart still longs to be home, to be in Texas.

I am IN Iraq, but I am not OF Iraq

Is this how I should feel about living in the world?

Is this what it looks like to be in the world but not of the world?

Is this what Jesus meant when He said, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world . . . They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” (John 17:15-16)

I am an alien to this planet.

The world is not my home, the united states not my home.
Texas isn’t even my true home.

Heaven is my home.

I am called to love the people in this world. I am here to live among them and show them God’s love and mercy.

But it isn’t my home. I should never feel that I belong here. My ways should be different, my language different, my love different.

Even on the best of days I should long for my true home with my Lord.

Perhaps I should be a bit more homesick.

Promise not to tell . . .

But I love morning in Iraq.

I know, it surprised me, too.

For those of you who know me, you know that I am the furthest possible thing from a morning person. But there is something about the mornings here. There is something about the quiet business, the peaceful noise, a symphony of sights and sounds. The beauty of it all catches me off guard each morning as I walk to the office.

Sounds of an unknown language echoing off the concrete houses.

Women cleaning in their courtyards, splashes of water joining into one stream racing down the gravel.

The song of a cart peddler calling out to housewives to buy fabric, flowers and home furnishings.

A distant whistle of a traffic officer ushering the beeps of taxis and buses hasty to begin a new day.

A man adorned in gili kurdi (tradional Kurdish dress) engaged in light-hearted conversation, running prayer beads back and forth from one hand to the other.

Fruit stands opening for a new day.
Shoe shiners perched on the steps of my office building.
Beggars pleading with sticks of gum and packets of tissues.

It’s everything
Brisk, cool air. Clear, blue sky.
The way light passes through the houses and reflects off the cars.
The morning song of a bird.
The sound of a breeze as it passes through a tree and rustles the leaves.

Are mornings here so different from the morning of a home I love, half a world away?

Maybe I should get up earlier in the States.

I said maybe . . .