Working hard. When I look back over my years of growing up, there are difficult memories as well as many wonderful memories. But working hard was something I knew my parents wanted to teach me. Even though I didn’t always want to work, and I think my parents would agree that my attitude was not always the attitude of an example child, I do think I gained and appreciation for doing a job and the importance of doing it well.
Over the last few years, this phrase of working hard has taken on a different meaning for me – one that I didn’t quite expect. My journey began with a desire for something more in my life – one that involved being overseas and experiencing life outside the U.S. After years of saying I wanted to do this, I accepted a teaching position at Rosslyn Academy in Nairobi, Kenya. What a world awaited me! For three years, I lived a new culture from anything I had experienced growing up, and would not trade those years – the good and the challenging experiences. My world was opened up to new food, new people, new ways of worship, and new ways of viewing the world. At the end of three years, my teaching contract was up and I had a difficult decision to make – should I stay on and teach or move back home. I was torn as to what the Lord was directing me to do. On the one hand, I loved the school and the people I was with, but on the other hand, I had a family on this side of the world that I missed terribly, and I felt I had missed out on so much of their lives already.
After doing a lot of praying, it was still with mixed emotions that I decided to move back home. In making that decision, I remember feeling a sense of loss of adventure, which was something I had really been wanting. At the same time, I can also remember hearing God speaking to me that adventure was just waiting for me, and somehow this would be more difficult than I was expecting. Although I had grown a lot as a person during my years at Rosslyn, there was a lot that still needed to change in me. I had some hard work to do, only this time it was not physical, but spiritual and emotional. A new definition of working hard was taking shape. So began a journey – with parts I would trade in a second, and experiences that could only come from facing the difficult parts too.