With our local IF Gathering happening right around the corner, the next seven days will be a blur for me.
A wild and crazy, but thrilling blur!
In an effort to turn our hearts towards the gathering and to simply help me fill the gap here, I’ve invited a handful of gorgeous souls to fill my space with their take on the prompt:
IF God is real, then____________.
Today, my dear friend from across the pond, Kim W. Freeman is hosting you guys all the way from India. I met Kim about 8 years ago, when we lived in Dallas, but I’ve only gotten to really know her since moving to Rocky Mount. She writes and I write and we’ve both experienced long stretches of loneliness. And I truly became smitten with her when she reached out to me from her cozy apartment in India and encouraged my lonely soul.
I love her heart and the way she sees her world and I pray her words find you in a soft place of listening. If her words encourage you, please tell her so.
Hi there. I’m Kim. I live in India. Nice to meet you.
As most of you are reading this I am sound asleep on the other side of the world, or maybe I’m up with the baby wishing I were sound asleep. Either way, I’m pretty far away and may or may not have power.
Last week Lori asked me to answer the question If God is real, then I… and she wanted me to touch on loneliness, something I’ve had a few run-ins with since we moved to Delhi almost four years ago. It’s a long story, but the short of it is we felt like our gifts would be best used outside the US, so we left our hands open (well, mine was sort of open) and asked God where he would have us go.
When it looked like India would be our future destination, things got a little hairy for me. I had been to India twice before and I knew the challenges ahead of me. I panicked. To be on the other side of the world away from family, friends, our community and Target started to seem like a crazy idea. None-the-less, we packed our life into twenty-four bags and left everything else behind.
And you know what? I’d love to tell you that it’s been all peaches and cream with a little curry thrown in, but I can’t.
India has been a very lonely place for me.
One thing I feared before coming here was my loss of freedom. Of not being able to take myself to places I need to go because l refuse to drive here. Absolutely refuse. I could if I wanted to die an early death from having a heart attack or possibly being killed by an angry mob because I’ve run over a cow. But I want to be around for my kids, so I haven’t attempted it.
And where we live is a bit far from most of our friends, so transportation is a huge issue—and not just for me. Most women here are limited to taking the metro, rickshaws and taxis, all of which have varying degrees of stress involved. And it’s not just a quick jump and you’re at your destination because traffic can be a beast and hauling my four kids across town (a town of 22 million!) is no simple task. So I opt to stay home most of the time.
At first, people back home listened, but no one had ever been here, so they didn’t understand what my life looked like on a daily basis. And going home has it’s own sort of loneliness as well. We have a life in India and a life in the US that feels frozen in time. Back in America people have moved around, relationships have faded and the word home has an entirely different meaning than it once did.
So, I understand this loneliness business. And honestly the weight of it almost crushed me during our first couple of years here. I wondered why God had brought me to this place where I felt so alone and so misunderstood most of the time by both Indians and those back in the US. I longed to see the purpose in his plan, but I felt overwhelmed by my circumstances.
A turning point came early into our third year here. I started to let go of my unmet expectations of what I thought my life should look like and my desire to be understood. Deeper friendships began to emerge and I found a couple of women with whom I could share my joys and struggles. I began to see the many ways in which God was at work in the lives of my family members. My kids were thriving—they had developed compassion for those in need and have made friends here. My husband was training pastors from all over the country and has started a company that he hopes will be a blessing to our community.
The heat, the traffic, the physical separation from family and the fact I spend most of my days in my apartment had not changed. But my heart no longer felt restless. I could see and feel that God was at work in our lives. Using our little family for his glory in this place at this time.
If God is real, then I can embrace the gift of loneliness and trust that Christ’s plan for my life is just what is needed for my growth and His glory.
Loneliness has not diminished or lessened in any way, but I no longer fight against it. For this time and this place loneliness is my gift. And it may not always be the case, but if it is I want to be able to accept it with the attitude and the dependency on God that that Amy Carmichael had when she said this:
Bare heights of loneliness…a wilderness whose burning winds sweep over glowing sands, what are they to HIM? Even there He can refresh us, even there He can renew us.
Kim is a wife, mother of four and writer. She has an MA from Dallas Theological Seminary and BA in English Literature. She currently lives in New Delhi, India, drinks too much tea and blogs about her vastly entertaining life at sojournaling.me.