I was just sitting here and thinking of my early days in America. My MIL had said that it takes a good 3 years to adjust, and she was right.

About 6 months after coming here we moved to a neighboring town, where my son was going to school. We were at least 40 minutes away from the rest of hubby’s family, and from church. I had joined a little fellowship in the community, and Tuesdays were the highlight of my week. But I was too different and reserved to have many friends and the loneliness sometimes reached unbearable proportions.

Hubby wasn’t home much, and when he was he was tired and absent. My family was way across the Atlantic ocean, and phone calls were few and far between because of the cost factor. Relationships with hubby’s family weren’t as comfortable and free as relationships with my own. We had one car, and most days I was cooped up in a small space with 3 boys under the age of 7.

I remember days in which I would just curl up in a fetal position on the kitchen floor and cry my eyes out.

The flip side was that my relationship with God was growing, in my loneliness I sought refuge in Him. He would often give me something to share with the people at the Tuesday fellowship and there were many times that he really opened up His word to me in a fresh and new way.

Still, I often struggled  to feel his presence in my daily life. There were times He felt so far away. 

One Saturday, frustrated beyond words with the same-old same-old struggles, the persistent loneliness, the drudgery of being at home all the time with no outlet, I told hubby I was going for a drive. ALONE.

I didn’t go far. I pulled the car to a stop at a dead-end road road in the woods and proceeded to pour my heart out to God. It felt like He wasn’t answering, or worse, like he wasn’t even there. So, in absolute frustration, I shouted at God. Where are you???? What do you think you’re doing????

It wasn’t long before I heard His still, small voice. “I am right here.” In my mind I could picture him, his face inches from mine, looking at me with the most patient, tender and kind expression. He wasn’t miles away, or somewhere in the unreachable heights of heaven. He was right in front of me, meeting me face to face as any friend would.

I realised that it was me who had drawn back from Him. To protect my bruised heart, I had thrown up fences and booby traps that would keep everyone out, including God. He had always been close, but I had ignored that.

Things improved after that. I only had to remind myself that Jesus was with me, and draw on His presence to see me through.

It still took a great while before America became more like home. Yet I clearly remember the day that my heart was overflowing with joy as I told God I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. The memory is so clear, that I know exactly where I was at the time. I was crossing the bridge spanning the Intra-Coastal waterway on my way to another Tuesday fellowship.


9 responses to “Remembering

  1. That is really neat Sumi. I love how God uses you to speak to me about things. 🙂 I am so glad that God brought you to the US and that you’ve learned to love being here.

    I look forward to meeting you one day.

  2. You are so strong. I don’t know if I could move to another country, not having my family near….that would just about kill me.

  3. Liefste Sumi – Was dit soo erg! My dierbare kind! Maar ek stem saam met jou vriendin – Jy is n sterk mens Sum, met innerlike krag! Jou Ma is trots op jou! Baie liefde – Ma.

  4. Sumi, hierdie ding se its awaiting moderation – ek weet nie hoe nie! Het jy die vorige een gekry? Ma.

  5. Ja, wanneer ‘n nuwe persoon ‘n comment laat, word dit nie outomaties bygevoeg nie. Dis ‘n sekuriteits maatreel. Ek laat net comments toe van mense wat ek ken. Volgende keer sal dit nie weer ge-moderate word nie. 🙂 Hanlie, dis ‘n pragtige foto van jou!

  6. Interestingly, I could make parts of that out! 😆

  7. 😀 Cool! We’ll make an Afrikaans-speaker out of you yet!

  8. Yeah, I think I understood some Afrikaans too! It must be due to past studies of French, German and Swedish years ago. I think one part basically says “whenever a new person makes a comment, there is an automatic security feature.” “Hanlie, that’s a cute photo of you!”

    I’m still quite fluent in Swedish due to a year as an exchange student. I turned 18 in Sweden during a formative but LONELY year. I identify with many of your comments. And then there were the years home with my three kids born within 40 months…

    I love your wonderful post, “Darkness.” I love the idea of being “in the tent” with God, safe in the darkness with Him! On the other hand, perhaps in a different sense, Ps. 139: 11-12 says “If I try to hide in the darkness, the night become light around me. For even darkness cannot hide from God; to You the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to You.”

    You also described being “shut up.” That made me think of “Be still and know that I am God.” Apparently the verse means “Shut up! I am God and you are not.” That’s one of my favorite concepts. “I am God and you are not.” I had a realization during a time when I wanted to keep my daughter safe at a difficult time in her life. “All” I wanted was to see her, know what she was thinking, influence her, but really, I was asking for “just a bit” of omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence. Wouldn’t that be handy for all parents? (That and a “bionic kleenex box” installed in the wrist.)

    Psalm 139 makes it clear that He is what I call a “nosy” God. Some of us don’t want a God who will never leave us nor forsake us. We want to think we can have some “privacy” or more likely, “secrecy” somewhere. When we think He isn’t watching over us, we wonder if He was “on vacation” or hiding somewhere for a minute. There really isn’t anywhere for Omnipresence to go, eh?

    I guess I’d better quit chattering.

    You edify me every time I check in! Thank God!

    In Jesus’ love, Michal Ann
    Lake Forest Park WA

  9. Sumi – I was thinking about what you shared in my office the other day about music class.
    You truly are living a sacrificial life. I am grumpy because we are always broke – but you show joy in much more serious circumstances. Thank you for sharing yourself with me and the kids at HCS.

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