I am an individual that gives high value to anniversaries. Whether that be birthdays, years married, or years living out of the country. I feel that each of these occurrences deserves reflection. Reflection on growth or change that may have taken place. Reflection on challenges overcame or challenges that overtook. Either way, the next year mark of anything, typically brings me to reflection.
August has been one of those months as our family has celebrated 3 years here in Guatemala. If I was to be brief and sum up each year in one word it would look like this:
Year 1 – Honeymoon
Year 2 – Trial
Year 3 – Celebration
As many of you have heard from my mouth (or fingertips via social media) on multiple occasions, moving your family to a completely new place is difficult. Watching your family go from 2 to 3 in your home country is difficult enough, but watching it go from 3 to 4 in a country that is not your own is something else.
When we first arrived, we were on a high. New place, new adventure, what more could you ask for? Then year 2 rolled around and the reality of what we were doing (or that we had no idea what we were doing) was heavy. I can think of multiple conversations Jen and I had about moving home. We pushed through by God’s grace, and today we feel like every day is a celebration of what God is doing, and the fact that we have made it this far. Our life is actually starting to gain some normality as well. Only 3 years in the making.
There have been many lessons learned, many tears shed, and many preconceived ideas radically changed. Jen and I still have instances where we look at each other and just chuckle, kind of in disbelief at what is taking place. Ultimately, we are not who we were when we first came here. That’s the goal. Not just in “missionary” life, but in our daily lives. Make strides forward, big or small doesn’t matter. Just don’t go backward, and don’t stay stagnant. That has been the biggest lesson we have learned.
Be willing to spend a lifetime making steps forward, no matter the stride size.