The Waiting Game

As a child, I had broad, sweeping dreams. These dreams became more refined when I was a teenager—to start a children’s home in Mexico, or to be a Bible translator in South America—influenced by accumulated knowledge and experiences. But upon reaching adulthood, my dreams folded themselves into practical, comfortable reflections of their childhood selves. I definitely never dreamed of the reality that I am in right now—waiting with my new husband and baby girl to begin life as missionaries in Papua New Guinea, of all places.

Many of our friends and family have asked, “How does it feel to be moving to the other side of the world?” The question catches me off guard. Rather than thinking about life as it will be in Papua New Guinea, we’re trying to survive the disorder and deadlines leading up to the move. While it may seem like an exciting adventure, right now, there is nothing exciting about our existence. We are in a hazy “no man’s land” of transition. And by the end of this year, we will have been in that land for seven months.

We’ve packed up and shipped off most of our possessions, and are living out of suitcases. This should be a time to regroup, reconnect, and refocus—but mostly, we are just waiting.

To an outsider, this period of transition may seem glamorous. We suddenly have all the time in the world to do all those things we’ve always wanted to do—travel, sketch, write poetry, and read classic novels. But we’ve found that this stage in our journey has unique challenges. We’re not working, yet we’re not on vacation—we’re somewhere in the middle.  Despite all our free time, we suddenly have little motivation to follow through on any of our good intentions. Consequently, we experience a strange sense of guilt because we’re merely existing, but not producing.

When we dream of dramatic adventures, we hardly ever account for this time of transition. But I’ve found that this waiting period has brought to light aspects of my character that were not visible when my life was more settled. I didn’t anticipate feeling so isolated. Our family is separated from the community we left behind, and not yet settled in to our new life.

I find that I’m re-reading passages in the Bible that mention strangers—because I feel like one. There’s a lot of comfort in the promises of belonging that Paul makes in Ephesians: “You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you are also being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph 2:19–22 ESV).

My move to the mission field doesn’t make me an isolated part of God’s kingdom, working on my own. I am still part of a larger whole, joined through Christ.

It has been confusing and humbling to see my inadequacy as my dreams become reality. But in these foggy times, I’ve found a greater potential to meet God and to see Him—and myself—more clearly.

Francine is a freelance writer and editor. She and her husband Tim are in the process of moving their family from Hamilton, Ontario to Papua New Guinea.

Richard Stearns, CEO of Worldvision, wrote a call to action that should change the way Christians live their lives. Now available through Vyrso.

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