10 March 2014

how a change in circumstances can bring about new perspectives.

Upon moving to Tanzania, I did something that I have never done before: journal. In case you missed it, Ashley wrote a bit about our journals in her post on five tips for learning a foreign language.

In my prior life in the United States (as it feels at times), the idea of sitting and putting my thoughts to ink and paper would have been described as laborious and terrifying.

But not anymore.

In journaling I find freedom. I find release. I find insight. I find direction. I find that my penmanship is remarkably poor. I suppose that is impetus for further journaling in order to hone my cursive.

How often do I journal? Randomly. Unlike these blog posts, my journaling does not follow a set cadence. Quite often I journal as a form of prayer. To sit alone with my thoughts is to invite a pandora's box of distractions.

Writing keeps my mind focused.

Recently I wrote a brief journal entry that I would like to share. The topic? How a change in circumstances can bring about new perspectives. Read on below.

4 March 2014

I miss the quiet stillness of the bedroom in our Dallas apartment. My muscles and bones can still recall the comforting support of that grand queen bed where Ashley and I would pray and lie our heads at night to sleep.

Even now, my skin can feel the refreshing coolness of the air-conditioner and the gentle breeze of the ceiling fan overhead. Hardly a sound could be heard in that bed as I prayed, save the soothing whir of the fan and the melodic rhythm of my own breath. There I sat ever so cognizant of the surrounding air repeatedly expanding and contracting my lungs.

My how things have changed.

As I write this, sweat runs down my spine. My writing hand sticks to the pages of the journal from radiant perspiration. Through the open window to my left, a cow moos, a goat shrieks, a child cries, and conversations from our village neighbors carry across the blackened evening sky. In sharp contrast to daylight hours, the complete absence of a breeze and ensuing humidity is palpable.

It is sufficient to say that prayer is not as comfortable as before. Few things are, actually.

Yet, a change in circumstances brings about challenge, which bears opportunity for discovery and growth. In my present condition and in light of this very journal entry, I find that these so-called discomforts spawn new connections with God.

If nothing else, the cacophony of ambient sounds are a reminder of the people we came to live among, to work with, to learn from, and to serve. The sticky heat is but a gentle reminder of the plight faced by so many of these beautiful people.

Thus, through it all and no matter the circumstance, my God speaks to me. May I be a faithful listener.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Karen! No doubt you can relate to the heat and then some living in Cambodia.

  2. Isn't it amazing how we sometimes feel closest to God when all the creature comforts are stripped away. It may not be easy, but I've always found it brought new clarity and a depth to that relationship. I hope you continue to seek that out, despite the toughness of the circumstances. One more thought....if you have access to electrical outlets, a small portable fan (or battery powered) made those tough times a lot more bearable :)

    1. Great to hear from you Katy! A portable fan is indeed of one life's great luxuries. We bought one in town and turn it on for an hour each night to help us fall asleep. Not sure we could sleep without it!


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