Embracing Transition

I once heard someone say that planning a wedding is a humbling experience, and I’ve never fully understood the weight of that statement until recently.  The past few months have been a whirlwind of wrapping up jobs, planning wedding details, packing boxes, and celebrating…lots and lots of celebrating.  Never in my life have I felt so many transitions taking place all at the same time.  And never in my life have I felt so supported and celebrated and seen.  I have felt as if my needs were being met even before I recognized I had them.  It’s been unreal and incredibly humbling.

See, I always thought that at some point in my life I would live in another country.  As soon as I had my first experience abroad I became intoxicated with the feeling uncertainty that comes with being in a new place.  It’s a strange type of high that leaves you scared and excited all at the same time.  I always thought I may live abroad for a while, doing some type of fabulous mission work or schooling in a developing country.  A place that is “dangerously glamorous” to Christians.  A place where most would rather not go, but they feel so encouraged by your brave willingness to step into the unknown.  I thought I would become one of those people.  Then I fell head over heels for a Canadian, and it changed everything.  My plans slowly shifted and before I knew it, I was accepting a job that I’ve never done in a city where I’ve barely visited and I’m resigning from a Graduate Assistantship position at a university I love deeply.  Making those decisions were some of the most challenging decisions I’ve ever come to terms with, but I needed to continuously remind myself that loving God and loving my husband were more important than loving my comfort zone or my career.  And as it turns out, I was right…I would be living in a new country after all.

 It’s been one week since I’ve moved into casa de la Sider.  One week that I’ve been sleeping in a new bed, cooking in a new kitchen, running around a new neighborhood.  There have been tiny glimpses of familiarity; when I needed to go somewhere and I knew exactly how to get there.  Tiny moments where I feel capable and competent. 

And then there are moments, more frequent than the former, where I am reminded that I’m not from here.  Almost 2 and a half years ago I wrote a blog post titled “I’m not from India”, and I wrote on all of the small and daily experiences that reminded me that I was a foreigner in a new place.  At this point in time, I could write a “part II” to that post titled “I am not from Canada”.  Like the first time I tried to pump gas and didn’t understand how to use a chip card or when I got lost trying to find the grocery store or my inability to figure out how the green compost bin works…those are moments when I am fiercely reminded that I am not from here.  Moments that make me scared that I will never fully feel like I belong.  Granted…I’m a week into the journey with many weeks ahead, but just goes to remind me that even in the midst of God’s greatest successes, the enemy is at work equally as hard to distract and destroy.

Each time I begin to feel week or defeated or I begin to miss my family and resist the urge to jump in my jeep and drive back to Pa, I am reminded of this verse…

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; Do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go”

-Joshua 1:9

God’s presence is not bound by my geographic location and his power is not limited because of my inability to find the grocery store.  And today, that is enough to give me courage to embrace what lies ahead.

Ashley Sider