Here we are four months into furlough and I still struggle to describe it. When people ask how we’re spending the time, catching up with friends, family and supporters just doesn’t seem like enough. I want to add tangible achievements. The truth is that it is a complicated time of limbo.
Furlough is like Disneyland for the kids. Everyday we have somewhere to go, people to play with. Everyone wants to find the best ride to share with them and give them candy (so much candy!).
Furlough is having the ability to decide not to make something from scratch. And then hearing your four year old gush about how much she loves “chicken, mushrooms, carrots and sauce over rice” because it was the first thing in a long time that resembled anything you would have made in Uganda.
Furlough is feeling blessed beyond measure by the encouragement and fellowship of dear friends and other believers, and feeling somehow strange because the relationships you left behind are so very different.
Furlough is enjoying the flexibility to go to free museum days and the Getty on a weekday; it’s making memories the kids will cite in years to come. Yet aching for routine without so many daily scheduling decisions and conflicts.
Furlough is being reminded how intimately we depend on the generosity of the church for everything from transportation, housing, and the ability to return to our work; its being tired of being a burden.
Furlough is not knowing how to share the experiences of the previous six years in one sentence, feeling like everything you say is inadequate and shallow compared to the reality. Yet yearning to be known as the person you’ve become rather than the person you were when you left.
Furlough is being out almost every night of the week, yet wondering if you’ll get to connect with everyone.
Furlough is wanting to annihilate any assumption that you’re somehow more holy because you live in the bush in Africa, yet praising the Lord for all He has done in and through you.
Furlough is connecting immediately with strangers who have had similar overseas experiences, getting deep fast, and yet not knowing how to answer so many simple questions.
Furlough is a constant mix of complimentary colors, opposite extremes experienced in all their distinct brilliancy at the exact same time, whipping your heart into confused ecstasy and turmoil.
Entering furlough I had a particular desire to analyze every twitch, to see my American self with new eyes casting away what no longer defined me and holding onto the truths that God imprinted on my heart overseas. I want to never tire of asking the question, “Who am I?” for I have a ready answer, “I am Christ’s”. To remember that comfort is not my goal, for it is in discomfort that I hear His voice most clearly. My desire is to serve wherever I am, because furlough is still life as odd and disjointed as it is.
Thank you all for your patience with us. Keep the questions coming! We are eager to share our hearts and lives with you. We are continually blessed by the wealth of fellowship in Christ’s body. Our unity for His glory!