Expat Life: For the Love of Family and TravelPart II

Read Part I here to read my encouragement and caution for nomads, expats, and adventurers-to-be.

So why move abroad and furthermore, why stay?

The most obvious reason for me as a follower of Jesus, is that I go where He leads me and stay where He tells me to. But I won’t lie and say I’ve always been comfortable with that simple of an answer. God leads, and I choose to follow based on what I believe to be His leading. It’s still my choice, and I believe God gave it to me. But I really try not to go running to Him throwing a fit when it’s not working out the way I envisioned it. I chose this path, and He’s gracious to walk it along with me.

Secondly, it does get better. And then it gets hard again, but then it gets better. Looking back, I just can’t think of anything I would trade for the life I now have.

This life I have has taught me to appreciate family, and made the time I do have with them very precious and intensely appreciated.

This life I have has taught and is teaching me to appreciate people. All people. They way they think, the way they live, the way they love and receive love.

All these things also help me serve God’s kingdom in a useful way I think, and therefore, are extremely valuable to me.

Your family will be ok with out you.

God’s taking care of them like He’s taking care of you. In reality, I experienced feelings of helplessness which my family members who were there also experienced in the situation with my uncle.

My prayers at times like those, should not be underestimated. I am far, but God is near.

Note: there are times I believe God would say, “your family needs you,” and if it were me, I’d be there in a heart beat. But it’s more important to listen for that voice and drown out the one that is placing blame and shame on you for ever leaving.

It has to do with contentment too

The grass is always greener on the other side, or some other interesting color which seems prettier than what you have. (Because seriously, the grass can’t get much greener than here in Switzerland….) It helps to remember that, in order to appreciate the color of grass where you are.

I’ve seen the trend in my journals as well as other expats’ blogs. When you’re home you suffer from wanderlust. When you’re abroad you get homesick sometimes. That’s life I guess, but it doesn’t have to control you.

Life and Love go on

When I go home to Texas, every single time I’m taken aback by how much has changed since I was there and yet how much hasn’t. Life goes on while you’re away and people enter different seasons of life, (and you may have totally missed their previous one). They’ve changed, and you better believe it, you’ve changed.

It’s hard when you feel your family and friends only remember and know the old Kay. And sometimes it’s a bewildering feeling to see how other people change. But it’s then you realize there is something deeper than those changing elements.

Because when your 2 year old nephew climbs aboard his first airplane ride along with his mommy and daddy, and flies over the ocean to see you and walk down the aisle in your wedding…

Because when he sees you and wraps you in a huge bear hug and holds you tighter than you even knew a little two year old baby bear could…

It’s then you realize no distance can kill a love that was meant to be.

It’s then you realize that God’s grace and love to you also knows no distance, no borders, no boundaries.

The tears will fall instantaneously and involuntarily. Let them.

Ask me again in twenty years

But now I’d say, if you have the chance, do it. See the world. Even stay for awhile.

Expect to see God do big things while you’re out there. Expect God’s grace to shine through both the good and seemingly bad changes in people and in your environment.

Just know that while adventure is out there and experiencing it can be priceless– there will be unseen challenges ahead. And you will need your people along the way. And you will need a bigger reason and hope, than adventure itself to carry you through.

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