I remember it so clearly. Three other young moms and myself sitting in a hotel room, ready to learn how we were going to help our kids and our family thrive in this foreign land. Our husbands were getting the basics in relating to the culture and teaching English, while we sifted through how to recognize culture shock and how to cook normal-to-us food in a land with not so many normal-to-us ingredients.
The woman who led these discussions had been on the field for fifteen years and I remember her speaking with such wisdom and grace about what we were to encounter in the coming months. It was hard for me to grasp her passion for this life overseas. As she explained the “honeymoon stage,” I thought to myself, pretty sure I skipped right over that. I’m a month in, and already disliking so many things about being here! How will I endure the two years we’ve committed to?
Glory to God alone, that was six years ago. Had you told me then I’d be here for several more years, I would’ve laughed and then cried uncontrollably.
It hasn’t been easy. I have just as many stories as you do of things such as loss, missing family and friends, finding my identity as a mama in a foreign land, grieving about all the things my kids are missing out on, and wondering just how many more times I can take listening to the local aunties berate me for how I’m parenting.
Recently it was my oldest son’s birthday. As I was asking him what fun things he wanted to do that day, it hit me: there is almost nothing fun to do for a child. The tears fell as I grieved not being able to treat him to a fun restaurant or take him to a park where he could actually run on the grass or invite friends his age over to celebrate with him.
But God is a faithful Father. He turned my grief around later in the day when we went on a bike ride and discovered a trampoline that didn’t cost much to play on. As I listened to the joyous giggles of my son, I was reminded of how God promises to be with us, no matter if we’re mourning or rejoicing.
This steadfastness of our Father is what keeps me going. We believe He has called us here for this time, and we won’t go anywhere else until He makes it clear it’s time to move on.
It’s a daily act of laying down my desires for the plans He has for my family. I often look at friends we’ve had to say goodbye to, wishing I could be in their shoes—buying a house, building deep friendships, living the American dream. But it’s all a facade, right? It’s what the enemy wants us to see. Those mamas that I started out with here? They have all transitioned back to the States—because God made it clear to them—and I doubt they’d describe their life now as dreamy. We read some great posts last week about this exact thing. Our heart often yearns for what we don’t have, what we think we should have.
So for those of us carrying on for now, be encouraged to cling to the Father during the hard times and rejoice with Him during the joyful times. We will have both no matter where we are, until we reach Home.
How has staying been hard for you? What are keeps you encouraged?
Good, salty snacks are hard to come by around here. They have chips, but most are weird flavors like yogurt or spicy prawn. They have popcorn, but it’s all sweet. So when I stumbled on this unique snack of roasted chickpeas, I had to try it. It’s simple and so versatile–you can literally make them any flavor you want!
Patting the chickpeas dry will ensure they get nice and crispy!
A simple splash of olive oil and sprinkle of salt is all you need before baking.
Brown, toasty, crunchy, and ready to take on any flavor you want to add! I love smoky paprika…or garlic….or cinnamon/sugar.
They should be crunchy on the outside and a little soft on the inside. Yum!
Tips from: The Kitchn
Time: 45 minues
1 can chickpeas
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp of herbs or seasonings such as paprika, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, rosemary, thyme, etc.
Heat the oven to 400°F (200 C).
Rinse and drain the chickpeas, then pat them dry with a clean dishtowel or paper towels. Remove any chickpea skins that come off while drying, but otherwise don’t worry about them. Spread the chickpeas out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Stir with your hands or a spatula to make sure the chickpeas are evenly coated.
Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring them every 10 minutes. The chickpeas are done when golden and slightly darkened, dry and crispy on the outside, and soft in the middle. Toss them with your seasoning of choice.
Best eaten when still warm, or you can add them to a salad or soup for something crunchy!
What weird snacks do they often serve in your country? This could be a fun list!