It was late.
Everyone was hungry.
We were trying to find something to eat in Paris. Something that shouldn’t be too hard is actually quite difficult.
Either the restaurant is closed. The prices are too high. There isn’t a place to sit. and on and on…
But this night, Jeremy found a place called FrogBurger on yelp. An all-American burger joint and it wasn’t closed (we hoped) and it was within walking distance.
We took our chances for a good burger and headed that way. It was perfect.
English menus. Our waiter spoke perfect English (he was from Scotland) and it just felt like home.
They had sweet potato fries. And ice in the drinks. And a gluten free bun option.
Such little things that say “home”… things that are very hard to find in this new country of ours.
We ate. It was heavenly. We enjoyed an hour or so in this quite American feeling atmosphere.
Then we walked back outside.
The street was lit up with tiny cafes and other very French looking restaurants. People were walking slowly down the road. An ancient church loomed before me.
I was back in France.
And a wave of homesickness hit me so incredibly hard. Tears in my eyes. I wanted to go back and hide in the restaurant.
There was nothing wrong with the street we were on. It was actually quite quaint and lovely. The church was beautiful in the dusk of that clear night.
But there was something wrong with me. I was aching to go home.
I pushed the feeling away. I can’t dwell on it. I can’t really let myself go there.
The feeling stayed with me, hiding behind the busyness of school and life.
Until class yesterday morning… our teacher asked us to create a sentence using an expression of wishing with “subjonctif congugation”. So I did.
I said, “Je souhaite que nous pourrions voyager aux États-Unis aujourd’hui.”
I wish that we could travel to the United States today.
Everyone nodded and laughed. My teacher smiled and said, “probablement pas possible”
But I teared up. I nearly cried right there in class. Thankfully Jeremy went next and said something funny so I could get a grip on myself and continue in class.
These crazy, odd feelings of random homesickness.
Buying airplane tickets to yet another country… not MY country.
Planning to live in another house… not MY house.
Preparing our girls for another huge cultural change. All while knowing they are forgetting their own country’s phrases and cultures. Hearing them use French words and making French gestures and seeing little French mannerisms in the way they speak and move.
Yet hearing the sweet hope in their voices… For example, in our devotions a few days ago, the topic was worrying about tomorrow. I said, “So we don’t need to worry about Senegal or moving or going to a new school because…”
Abby interrupted me. “Aren’t we going to a school in English next year? Why would we need to worry about that?”
The weight of her precious trust, the huge reality of her little MK thinking.
Another wave of homesickness…
Please hear my heart. We love this traveling life. We love having the opportunity to talk to people and see new things and let God shape us in new ways as He calls us continually to follow Him in new journeys.
We feel great excitement when we think about actually setting foot in Senegal and seeking God for His will to be done in our lives there.
We are thrilled that language school is coming to an end and this next part of missions is beginning.
But the inner battle is real. The strength of the homesickness so very strong.
I see it in the eyes of the other missionary moms. I see it in their facebook pictures of home or their instagram pictures of something they miss. Of small phrases inserted in a conversation… a family member’s birthday or a holiday memory. Conversations over coffee talking about our kids and our next move and our plans to get rid of stuff or start packing bins for another big transition. The prayer requests for the many unknowns of our new countries.
The burden of wanting all of these things to fall into place so that we can begin the ministries we feel called to… because it is why we are here.
Why we push through.
This journey God has led us on.
We all carry this missing of home.
And when it hits hard, it can overwhelm us in a moment.
And we feel God’s grace sweep in, covering us, holding us.
The prayers of people under us, over us, around us. God’s presence answering those prayers in unexpected blessings, unexpected breaths of home.
Like a little burger joint in a tiny Paris neighborhood.
Sitting there, so thankful for something like ice in my coke.
Just an average day of missing where we’ve been, so thankful for where we are and truly dreaming about places to come.