"I want to be in an African country, loving on a bunch of orphans, pouring myself out to the least of these and hoping to make a difference in communities burdened with disease, poverty, and lack of accessibility to education and health care."
Whether that comes off as heroic or presumptuous, selfless or egotistical -- it doesn't really matter. I'm not there, despite opportunity. I'm in Greenville, South Carolina, nannying. And although it is lovely, and Fall is intoxicating and I am so so glad and blessed to be here, I have spent the last two months wrestling with why I am here.
My life now is very different than what I expected. I spend most days picking up dirty clothes, bathing children and trying to convince 5-year-olds to eat healthy food. I grocery hop from Whole Foods to Publix, read blogs about disciplining children and have listened to the Lion King sound track one too many times. (I know, didn't think it was possible). My life is not sexy, and by the world's standards, I'm not accomplishing much here.
But so what if I'm not fulfilling the world's expectations? So what if the bottoms I'm wiping are white instead of black?
I have been so clearly called to wait, so unmistakably drawn to be in Greenville at Grace for this period of time. And I am not going to waste this precious time by spending it longing to be somewhere else. So below is a list of some things I am learning/grateful for. And maybe they don't exactly satisfy reason for why I am where I am -- but they do provide me with hope that perhaps this season is one of growth, preparing me for a grander purpose.
1. I have been confronted with my sin in unimaginable ways. I honestly have never seen such depth of sin, or understood how destructive my sin is. No matter how good I can pride myself into believing I am during the week -- I am humbly floored every Sunday. It is so so good, because when I truly understand the depth of the grace I have been given, I am freed to love those around me without the constraints of judgement or pride.
2. I am learning to be still and rest. Something about Carolina, whether it be the intense competition or excessive amount of overachievers, does not foster a quiet or restful environment. I am so used to filling every single second of my day with something, that to suddenly not have a million obligations was frustrating at first because I felt purposeless. Now I find it incredibly refreshing. I can sit for an hour and just listen and pray without feeling guilty for not doing something "productive".
3. I am under sound teaching. Grace Church's teaching has been challenging, invigorating and life-changing. I often come home from church hungry for more information, and I'll spend hours researching and reading concepts I don't understand. I have the access and time to read, learn and seek knowledge.
4. I am surrounded by people who are older and wiser than me. HUGE BLESSING! I am developing relationships with people who have had much more experience and provide me with not only advice, but wisdom. They call me out on my junk and expose me to fuller understanding of the gospel.
5. I'm making money. I know, it's not that exciting, but I am paying off college debt, providing for myself and saving for important things (like a car or a new computer).
Some nights I lie awake listening to the slow pump of the air conditioning, tricking my subconscious into believing that the faded beat is the distant pounding of funeral drums in the African bush. Though my time in South Sudan was relatively short, I still don't have words to explain how a people can capture a heart so quickly. I miss the feel of the cold red soil on my feet in the mornings. There's a reason Kisses for Katie is hidden underneath blankets in the third drawer of my bed-side table. But no matter how much I want to be Katie Davis, I'm not. I'm called to be faithful and for now, that means waiting.