"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
God knows where I am and He goes with me.
Does life ever just not end up the way that you imagine? Or maybe you imagined it, but can't believe what you imagined actually happened? For example, I live in Russia. How did that even happen?! Six months ago I remember informing my brother of the possibility of this pretty intense move across the world, and he replied with, "Russia?! Where did that come from?!" Honestly, I've heard similar astonished responses from students since living here, "You're an American? Why did you choose to come to Moscow?!" - accompanied by a look of confusion on their faces.
But you know what? I've never questioned this decision. Mostly because I've never questioned the calling. It has been abundantly clear that for this time, with these people, in this location, I'm supposed to be doing what I'm doing. Because as weird and awkward and frustrating as it can be to move to a foreign country, I feel so at home.
I feel at home in developing relationships with new friends that I feel like I've known for years. (How in the world have I only been in Moscow for three and a half weeks?!) I feel at home in figuring out how to do what I love here and establishing a new "normal" -- walking through the massive park/forest by my flat, exploring the city, and finding coffee shops (I just paid over $7.00 for a "rough coffee" - not sure what it is, but it's something I know I like, therefore, my new "go-to" drink.) My friend, Lauren, and I went to a delicious Indian restaurant for dinner last night at talked for two hours. It blessed me so much to be able to have an honest, deep, fun, refreshing conversation with a friend. I feel like I'm starting to establish myself here in this new, gigantic city and get my bearings a little bit. And then the snow will come and I'll feel like I'm in heaven. So many new things, but familiar at the same time.
Also, how could I not understand my purpose in being here when I feel like every time I turn the corner the Lord is teaching me something new? He is so faithful to reveal truths and bring comfort just at the very moment that I need to receive it. I have constant reminders of my inadequacy - in leading, in walking in the Spirit, in choosing joy, in fixing my eyes on Jesus. I must choose to believe that when I am weak, God is strong, and His grace is sufficient for me. More than that, the weaker I am, the more I am able to rely on His abundant strength -- His power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) As Paul says in the following verses, I really should delight in my weakness so that I can reveal and understand more of the Lord's power!
While this all may have just sounded like a jumbled up realization that "Oh wow, I live in Russia", for me it is a reminder that as I learn a new culture, language, schedule, team, and a new part of myself, God is good through it all.
I had kind of a weird morning today that ended with burning the soup that my roommates and I were going to eat for lunch (who burns SOUP?!?!) and though it would probably not be beneficial to list every other frustration from the last three weeks, they exist. But life is not just hard because I live in Russia. Life is hard every where. Every season contains a mixture of emotions and experiences. Right now, they just all happen to be very extreme and moving in every direction. But I can rest assured that wherever I go, whatever emotions come, whenever things change -- God is steadfast & He is with me.