Keith and I celebrated our 11th anniversary last month. We were incredibly blessed actually to get to celebrate it in Kaua’i on our way back to Japan from a summer in the U.S.
We’ve been married for 11 years, and we’ve been in Japan for 6 of it. Starting this year, we’ll have lived here as a couple for longer than we lived in the United States as a couple. Living in the U.S. together already is starting to seem like a very distant, fuzzy memory.
It’s been hard lately. It’s intense going home for the summer: Seeing everyone we’ve ever known all in 6 weeks; holding the tiny fingers of brand new little family members, only to secretly mourn that the next time I see them, they’ll be toddling around and clueless who their Aunt Lisa is; swimming and laughing and drinking sweet tea in that wonderful Oklahoma sunshine; playing wild with the kids in wide open spaces; and sad, sobbing goodbyes over and over again with the people who mean the very most to us in the world. But at the same time, America doesn’t feel quite like home anymore, and that’s so strange. And then Japan too, as much as we love this place, and have built our lives here, neither does Japan feel completely like home, because we are such aliens here. Really, we are. At least lately I’ve been feeling that way.
But today as I try to drag my soggy self out of Swamp Self Pity, I’m remembering something. We had been hoping and praying for years that God would somehow send us to the mission field, since before we even met each other. We both knew somehow that this was what we were destined for. And then he actually got the call. Keith got the call for the job in Japan. I remember feeling like it was way too big for me, telling him that I was terrified, but that I would go with him, heart and soul, whatever decision he made. It was terrifying and exhilarating saying yes to this life. It still is sometimes. But something in me today needs to remember that this is what we asked for. This is what we longed for. And yes, it’s hard. But this is it for us.
And when he did make that decision–that our family would move to Japan, I wrote a little something that reflected then, and still reflects how I feel about this adventure we’re on together:
Together (June 14, 2003)
A few years ago, with mist in my eyes
I walked down that aisle to greet a surprise
A threshold was crossed when we became one
But I didn’t know the fun had just begun
All the beautiful things–I learn from you
Trust and surrender, what it means to be true
We laugh every day, rendering sore cheeks
And together on sad days, together, eyes leak
Together we play with our wonderful Joy
Our little pink Clairebear, most favorite toy
Oh, how it feels to let go and believe
To just close my eyes and trust you’ll receive
Direction from One who always knows best
How my soul rejoices to be able to rest
Today as we stand of the theshold of “who knows?”
I’ll stick to my vows, “Wherever He goes…”
But so much more than to my own words, i cling to These, with leaky eyes:
29“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:29-31