Peter and I were expecting to be up in the night tonight with coughing children. Instead, the house is quiet and insomnia has kept me up, for whatever reason. It’s 2am . . . why is it that my brain does its deepest thinking when I am supposed to be sleeping?
We’ve now been in the USA nearly 10 weeks. It’s been a wonderful trip in so many ways. We’ve made great memories and been able to spend so much time with family and friends that we love so much. God has been so good to us and we have so, so much to be thankful for.
But . . . time for some honesty here . . . the trip has had its stresses. This past 2 weeks has been non-stop busy. Peter has been up and out of the house very early most mornings, having breakfast meetings. And then we’ve had a couple social engagements as a family most days. The kids have been going over to friends’ houses, spending the night with grandparents and cousins. I think we need a secretary to keep our calendar in order! I’ve been feeling calm for the most part, but today I think things have started catching up to me a bit. We’re all ready for some down time where we’re not running out of the house for the next social engagement. I’m exhausted and coming down with the cold the children have. We have the daunting prospect of packing ahead of us. And that cauldron of mixed emotions is starting to churn inside of me . . . really wanting to go home – to be back in a routine, to be able to spend quality time as a family, to sleep in our own beds – and at the same time, starting to feel that wrenching feeling that comes as we say goodbye to our family and our church family and leave behind the beautiful and familiar surroundings I grew up in. The beauty of this area is really amazing. The sunset tonight was awesome and I have been drinking in the blue skies, gorgeous evergreens, rolling farmland and the early autumn crispness to the air. England is a beautiful country too. But Oregon’s beauty is really unique. Usually I am pretty emotional as I start out our times in the USA . . . it hits me how much we’ve left behind. But this time, I think it’s hitting me more at the end. At these times I often think of the concept of “home.” Where is home for us, anyway? The answer could be one of several . . . but actually, on this earth, we are just passing through. “Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” (Hebrews 13:14) God make our hearts long for that city. Let us not entrench ourselves here on this earth.
We value your prayers for our family in these last days before we fly back to England – for Peter as he speaks at our sending church on Sunday, for healing for those of us who are unwell, for strength emotionally and physically as we say our goodbyes and fulfill our last social engagements, emotional strength for our children too (they are doing great but we realize these days are not easy for them), for sleep for us all both during the nights we have left here and then on the plane trip home. These are tender times for us. Your prayers are holding us up. Pray for us, that our hearts would be full of thankfulness and joy. I am thankful for a God who knows we are dust and is a compassionate Father to us. Now . . . off to try to sleep again.