Missing Home - Even Though It Hurts to Hear from Family and Friends

Even Though It Hurts

Missing home is a big part of our lives.

Missionary family, military family, working family abroad, living far away from family and home.

For all of us in that situation, social media presents a whole new way to see what is going on at home even if we aren’t there.

Maybe in generations before us, they knew the parties and the get togethers and the family outings and the cozy dinners were happening… but they didn’t get to see them in living color on their computer screen or instagram app.

Right now, we are far from home.

Living on the other side of the ocean.

Facing our first Thanksgiving away from the fun, goofy, awesome Goodwin family… missing out on travels and shopping and who knows what awesome adventures.

Facing our first Christmas away from my parents’ house and the many homey Christmas traditions of our family… the decorating, the baking, the presents, the Christmas breakfast and my dad reading the Christmas story.

Missing yearly events with friends, like the lighting of the tree at the Greene. We missed it this year for the first time since 2008!


I saw it on facebook and instagram.

Friends… it is so hard not to be there.

But thank you for tagging us. for including us. for remembering us.

It hurts to see the pictures especially when we are really missing home.

Even if I cry at what I see from afar. They are good tears. Happy memories. Good things tucked in my heart until next time we can be there. That you would think of us and remember us being a part of that tradition with friends meant so much.

Remembering home when you live so far away #expat #missionarylife #military

Missing home hurts. It is hard. We cry. But we are still able to be a part of it all because of technology.

We can’t be there in person, but we have some pretty awesome ways to still be present.

The creativity of everyone to keep us included in holidays… facebook groups, facetime, pictures, voxer, messaging, iMessage… we appreciate it all.

Read this for some communication advice!

I was voxing recently with C from I’m A Lazy Mom. She was appalled that we can’t have Chick-fil-a for 3 years.

I know, C. I’m appalled too.

So, I told her to go to Chick-fil-a and enjoy it for us. Take a picture. Tag us. Remind us.

Yes, it will pain us to see her eating that yummy chicken and getting a FREE REFILL of a drink {there are NO free refills of anything in France}, but we love being included and remembered.

I would much rather see it and remember it with a friend, even if it brings tears to my eyes, than to miss out altogether.

That is a cute, trivial example of a much larger issue for families living away.

Missing Home - Even Though It Hurts to Hear from Family and Friends

The years go by… the holidays happen. The birthday parties. The traditions. The baby showers.

They happen and slowly the ones living away get forgotten.

Maybe not forgotten, but not included.

Families at home, knowing the family who is far away can’t come, stop inviting, including and remembering.

We have many expat, missionary friends and seeing this happen repeatedly in their lives and how much THAT hurts?

To see a parent’s birthday party celebrated without even knowing it hurts way more than being invited and knowing you can’t come.

I cried the first time I facetimed with my family and they were all gathered at my sister’s house for breakfast.

It IS hard to see it happening without you.

But it is way harder to NOT be included and see the pictures later.

Oh, things are going to happen unplanned… yet, facetime is a button away.

Your camera and sending a picture text is precious.

A quick voxer message means so much.

I told my sisters recently that I would rather be included, even knowing we can’t come, than to not be included at all.

I told them that the messages and the voxers and the pictures on facebook are good even though they are hard.

Maybe I’m too new to living this far from home, but my goal is to keep our family relationships intact even though we are so far away.

Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I want my relationships with my sisters to survive us living away.

Maybe other expats wouldn’t say the same… but from what I’ve seen, many expats live with the hurt of being away rather than the good hurt of being included.

I pray our relationships with our supporters and our friends and our churches and our families can not just survive but THRIVE while we are gone.

That we can fully celebrate together when we come home, sharing the joys of our travels and the joys of the missed years.

That knowing you all rejoice with us on this journey of missions, we can fully share our lives with you and you share your lives with us.


But I want to work for it.

I love being tagged in a picture, even though we weren’t there.

I love seeing the videos of events, even though we weren’t there.

I love being invited, even if we can’t come.

Keep at it.

You aren’t going to hurt us with your picture of a Christmas Starbucks. I’ll just pretend I’m there with you!

Let’s keep at it.

The holidays are going to be hard every year.

But… the holidays can be hard together. or hard apart.

I choose hard together, using technology to stay close and be included. The good hurt of being a part.

If you live far away from family, what is your experience? all year? at the holidays?

If you are family at home, what are ways you keep your family included and a part of life at home while they are away?


One Comment

  1. I’ve cried too…. Mostly happy having fun figuring out this new way of communicating tears… But truly I’m thankful when I read your words! I hear your voice in my mind. Feel your emotion. It’s hard! But reminds me – my memory will hold till we chat again in person over coffee and my latest “have to try recipe!” Hugs in 2017 sister!!


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