Everyone says time flies. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that to be as true as I did this year. Today, June 14th, marks one year that we’ve been back in America. It’s our first Ameriversay! (That can be a new thing we celebrate every year, right?)
It feels just like yesterday- last week at the most- that we were packing and weighing our luggage, saying heart-wrenching goodbyes to friends, expat and Senegalese alike, hugging our dear Roxy one last time, and taking in all of those last Dakar experiences.
So much of our life has been about learning to adjust, and our move from West Africa back to America was certainly no exception.
It was a difficult year as we tried not only to acclimate to this culture and deal with reentry stress, but it was overwhelming to try and wrap our minds around not being full-time missionaries anymore. Our entire life path had moved, our role had shifted. And it moved us from one country to another. We went through the “where should we live, what should we do, what does the rest of our life look like” freak out phase, questioning what was next for us.
Looking back on this past year, we see that God went ahead of us and arranged so much, caring for us, and providing for our needs before we even knew what they were. From providing housing (in three different states!), to providing a temporary job for Shawn (hauling silage in a semi for a local farm), to helping us find the right church with a great small group of friends, to finding a career for Shawn, with a promotion after two months, to providing two different jobs for me, both of which I enjoy.
Returning to your home country after years of living overseas is so complex, complicated, and full of unexpected joys and challenges. Our first few months kind of felt like another home assignment, like we were here temporarily. But it wasn’t temporary, we were moving back. And it was our first time back in two years, so seeing family, friends, grass, carpet, water fountains, green veggies, and good pizza were definitely something to take in and enjoy.
This year was definitely about transition, adjustment, learning to fall in love with living in America again, looking for God in the midst of change, and ultimately, it was about finding peace. Even when the reentry stress took over and we didn’t feel like we fully belonged here or there- Senegal or America, and even when we felt like nomads trying to decide where to settle, God’s peace came over us. It’s been evident before but it was especially evident this year during such a big life change. We left Senegal with a sense of peace about what we did during our time serving in West Africa, and even now here in Wyoming, a place we would have never fathomed we’d be living in, we’re at peace.
Our time overseas will always be a part of our story. It’s a lifetime of experiences we’ll never forget. And now our story continues on, right here in good ol’ US of A.