I have a friend who has devoted her live and her family’s life to being missionaries in Vietnam. I love them dearly and I am so proud of the faith they have and the sacrifices they have made. When we moved out of the country it was definitely a step of faith, but it was going to be for a steady income and a pretty decent life in Germany. It felt like an extended vacation and I can remember crying out of homesickness only one time. I had been there over a year and I was sick and pregnant, had a sick toddler and Brian was out of town. I longed for a nearby family member to help me out. My friends had young kids and couldn’t risk getting their families sick. And that was it. One time.
Brian has been feeling the desire to go. Go somewhere, anywhere, just to get out and travel and possibly live somewhere else again. I just can’t see myself going anywhere at the moment. I loved Europe, but I feel my life is so much more effective here. I lived for myself there. I was able to socialize with my English-speaking friends, travel and chat with my neighbors that spoke English. I didn’t meet many people at the parks, or stores or anything like that. I was bound by those who spoke English. I took German classes, I learned enough to buy groceries, go to doctors appointments, and get by, not enough to build relationships.
One year ago I started this blog with an intention to live my life intentionally. I wanted to my daily life to be an example of not wasted moments, but intentional efforts to live a life that at the end of my years could be defined by purpose. And here, right here in Costa Mesa, right here right inside and outside the walls of my home I am being used to create community. I have built relationships with neighbors and have helped create friendships between strangers. My home has become a place where people feel welcomed and place where friends and neighbors can stop by and visit. I told a friend to knock on my door the next time she went to the park across the street and she said, ” you’re door is always open when you’re home isn’t it?” It is and I like it that way! I would love to go and see another part of the world, but I feel that I am being used right here, right now. Perhaps even more so than I was ever used in Germany. Today at church, we looked at a familiar passage to me Matthew 28:19, the great commission. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” I used to think of this verse as a call to go and leave! I could see myself living a life similar to my friends in Vietnam. But today, it struck me a bit differently. I saw it as a call to go and step out of that which is comfortable. When I had my first “neighborhood movie night” it was uncomfortable and I was nervous. For a year, I had let neighbors come and go without meeting them and getting to know who they were as individuals. I think that while some of us may find ourselves in other parts of the world, we all have a sphere of influence that surrounds us where ever we are. It takes a conscious effort to look at our lives and make choices knowing that we have the ability to influence and change the lives of those around us.
I don’t think I have let you know this, but my neighbor, the one who was diagnosed with a disease and was dealing with a break-up at our first movie night (click here to read about it) came over about a month ago and wanted to take our family out to dinner. She said, “I just want to let you know that my test results have come back with no traces of the disease. I know you have been praying and I just thought that maybe that had something to do with that.” I was so excited that she shared that with us. I was so happy that I had stepped out of that which was comfortable to get to know her to be saddened by her grief and to also be able to rejoice with her as she shared this news with us. We are no longer just strangers who wave to one another as we get our mail, but we know each other and the moment of brief discomfort was so worth it.