Three years ago today I landed in my current home.
I distinctly remember standing at the baggage claim with Stinkbug (10 months old) in the Ergo and Ladybug (2 years old) in the stroller, and my earthly possessions stacked around me in 14 suitcases of varying shapes and sizes. The strange sounds of a foreign language floated around me, teasing me about my unavoidable (HARD!) future of language learning. Everything felt floaty– that out of body feeling that comes after a not restful night of sleep scrunched into an airplane seat, and a time change of seven hours. Jet lag.
Somehow we got all our bags into the van and got to the apartment where we would be living for a few months. We had some take-out chicken for dinner. I drank a Coke to pry my tired eyes open until a proper hour for bed. It all felt like a walking-dream.
That night as I crawled into a strange bed in a strange land, I opened Daily Light— a goodbye gift from some sweet sisters– and read 1 Corinthians 15:10, “…by the grace of God, I am what I am.”
Because of what my husband and I do for work– living overseas and seeking to share the gospel with people from another culture, we get a lot of undeserved praise. People sometimes act like we’re super spiritual beings… like we’ve arrived on some higher plane of enlightenment, or something crazy like that.
If these poor, misinformed souls only saw the inside of my heart, that would stop them dead in their tracks. If they saw the way I struggle with entitlement and jealousy… the absence of contentment a lot of my days and the fear of man constantly pulling me down. If they saw the bad attitudes I harbor so often and the judgments I hastily cast on others. If they knew how selfish I am all.the.time…
Believe me, I am not awesome. I am a stinking wretch. I only live here and do what we do by the grace of God. Like Paul writes to the Corinthians– IT’S ONLY BY GOD’S GRACE THAT I AM WHAT I AM! I am no better than anyone– most of the time I feel like the worst, most fallen human being on the planet. It’s only by grace that I am what I am.
There have been a lot of ups and downs these past three years. If anything, moving overseas has opened my eyes to how sinful I really am. With a lot of my comforts removed, there is nothing for that ugliness to hide behind, and I am in a constant battle against my flesh. Only by grace have we made it three years. Only by grace can we continue to do this. It is only by grace we are what we are.