As I looked in the mirror this morning, I realized that in this place I look different. I feel tired and old. The bags under my eyes from travel and my wrinkles seem much more prominent than on my most tired days in Uganda. When I get up in the morning there, I am most concerned with having time alone with God to pray and read the Bible with a cup of coffee before the children need something. Here I woke and thought, “I look terrible, what will everyone at church think of me?” It is embarrassing to me that I came to speak about what God is doing, but am really more concerned with what everyone thinks of me. I wondered what to do to improve my appearance. I don’t usually wear make-up except when I get a chance to go on dates with my husband, and even then, nothing that covers wrinkles or bags. I don’t even own that kind of make-up. As I put on my sweater that I wear every morning in Uganda I now noticed holes that I never saw before. Why is it that every time I come back to the United States, the stains and holes in all my clothes become so obvious to me? I love that in my daily life in Uganda I don’t care about those things. I focus on the people God has given me to love, my family, my students, my neighbors and the children at GSF. I don’t worry about my clothes or appearance. Why should that be any different here?
In Uganda, my children wear clothes with holes and I don’t care. That is normal. Here I begin to feel embarrassed. It is so strange living in these two very different worlds. It is tricky to learn to live with contentment in both of them. I recently read this post written by another missionary serving in East Africa and it really resonated with my experience. https://www.abwe.org/blog/awkward-missionary-%E2%80%98middle%E2%80%99-between-poverty-and-wealth?fbclid=IwAR1FUHQUIXVqMg2Q2-wwm5zn0Q5aMusP_FUozQtr4oAz41Uzys_UuuHJs8Y
I want to learn to live with contentment in both settings. The apostle Paul says in Philippians 4 that he has “ learned the secret of being content in every situation... living in plenty and in want.” I want to live this life of contentment on both sides of the ocean. I thank God for the many ways He shows me His faithful loving care for me and those around me in both places. As I arrived in country, my dear friends had a pile of winter clothes and shoes for me that they either purchased for me or lent to me. It was so good to see God’s provision in something as basic as the clothes I needed in order to stay warm. It reminds me of Matthew 6.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:25, 28-30, 33 ESVhttps://bible.com/59/mat.6.25,28-30,33.esv)
As I see God’s provision for each of my basic needs it reminds me that I can be content in each situation. I can choose to live in faith rather than in fear. And I remembering God’s faithful loving care and provision for me is an important part of shifting my focus. I pray that when fears and discontentment begin to take over, I will instead focus on God’s gracious loving care for me and how He has called me to show that love to those around me. Whether I am in Uganda, or in the United States or anywhere in the world, I am in the arms of my loving Savior.