The Perspective of Returning Home

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I recently looked back at some of my early blog posts, dating back a little over thirteen years ago. I was in the middle of preparing to go to the mission field and, as I read, I was reminded of the many ways that the Lord prepared the way for me. I was single, young, determined, adventurous, and possessed a heart full of faith to follow the Lord where He was calling me. Now, all these years later, I am married with two small children, not as young as I used to be, just as determined, more cautious than adventurous, but still with a heart ready to follow Jesus as He prompts me through His Spirit.

We are heading back “home” to Canada this coming August and I am unsure whether to call it home or not. My mom passed away last year and my dad twenty years before that. My sister and her family live two hours away from where we’ll plant ourselves, and many of my close friends now live scattered across Canada.

Someone asked me recently about what was waiting for us in Canada, assuming we had jobs lined up and a place to live. “Oh,” they replied when my response was negative towards both of those things, “so you’re just waiting on God to see where He’ll lead you?”

The unknowns in my present are just as intimidating as they were when I was anticipating moving to SE Asia. But the difference now is that I have almost thirteen years of experience of walking through unknowns, following the lamp that the Lord’s provided to show the path in front of me, and the regular discipline of reminding myself of what is true.

I know He is El-HaNe’-eman – “faithful God” (Deut. 7:9 ESV). He never changes and, despite circumstances around us being uncertain, He is unwavering in His character.

I know He is Eliezer – “my God is help” (Exodus 18:4 ESV) – and Ebenezer – “stone of help” (1 Samuel 7:12 ESV). I’ve experienced His provisions countless times and often in the most surprising ways. Like Samuel in 1 Samuel 7:12, I have set up various stones – some real, some in my journal, and some through a picture or other creative means – in my life as a way to honour the Lord and remember how He has moved to help me and others around me.

I know He is Immanuel – “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14, 8:8, and Matthew 1:23 ESV). This has been the biggest reason why I’ve been able to persevere in serving the Lord. I have never had to tackle any task, assignment, follow-up visit, language and culture lesson, visa trip, immigration question, sickness, home assignment, dangerous road, sermon or annual reunion conference by myself. He has always been with me and will always be with me. Despite Satan’s attempts to convince me otherwise, I was never alone in that village in the wooden house, never forgotten in that mountainous assignment, never left behind when my husband went off to work and I was home alone with our children. His presence has satisfied my soul, calmed my anxieties and empowered my heart.

So, I anticipate returning home with great expectations of the Lord to remain the same. I know He will lead us through new challenges and adventures, He will provide exactly what we need (and sometimes what we may think we want) and when we need it, and He will remind me that He is with us and will continue to be with us through it all.

Home has changed. And I’ve changed too. I don’t know what home even really means anymore except for it to be the place where God invites me to be, too.

If you’re returning home for the summer or for longer, which testimonies of God’s goodness is the Holy Spirit reminding you of so your soul may be strengthened?

12 thoughts on “The Perspective of Returning Home

  1. Misty @ Rainydayinmay says:

    Wow… What an amazing life path you’ve been on! God has carried you through (likely) many things you never imagined and this is no exception… Being in a season of unknown here as well (though not quite as extreme as yours) God knew I really needed this reminder this morning. Thank you…
    I mean, i KNOW this truth, but sometimes I do not intentionally embrace it…

    • bethdonchai says:

      Thanks for commenting, Misty. I’m thankful that you were encouraged by what I wrote! Praying the Lord will continue to remind you of His goodness and love in your season of unknowns.

  2. Lesley says:

    This is a great post! I love how you can reflect back on how you’ve known God with you and seen his faithfulness over the years. It is comforting to remember that no matter what else is changing, he is the same. And I’m impressed that you’ve been blogging for 13 years! That must be amazing to look back on! Visiting from FMF #33

  3. TIDBITS says:

    Blessings to you and your family as you make this change! In 2016 we spent a year in the USA, it was the first full year in over nineteen. I hear you, and I can say… “me too!” You have the right heart, God will be with you and keep you in His loving care. I love the purpose statement, of your blog. May you be encouraged as you seek to empower others. Has that always been your purpose statement, or did you change it recently as you’re facing the change? I will pray and follow as you go.

    • bethdonchai says:

      Thanks for your comment and encouragement, Carlene! (I checked out your blog!) That’s a long time before having a full year back in the USA!

      I only recently changed the purpose of my blog, for two reasons: because we’re moving back to Canada and I’m entering a new season and felt that I needed to change the focus of my blog; and also because through reading and learning with hope*writers, I realised I needed to have a clearer purpose and audience. So I feel like this is the direction God wants me to go! Thank you for praying for me and following this journey!

  4. Ignatius Cooper Strange says:

    Hey Beth. I think the last time we talked face-to-face was in Chiangmai’s best cafe, Cafe October. I initially only came to read the post because the photo caught my eye since it looks like a Google search for “electronic shutter propeller”.

    Are you all moving to Canada temporarily, or for the foreseeable future? The writing resources you mentioned through hope*writers seem thorough and effective. I am definitely on the slow track for everything I write. I like putting up poems every once in a while, just to keep writing, especially because I can briefly look, somewhat at depth, into various ideas, but anything more lengthy very slowly grows in the background. My plan is to be done before I am dead. 🙂

    • bethdonchai says:

      Hey Cooper! Yes! I think you’re right about the last time that we saw you and Dear! I think that may’ve even been prior to Tawee and I having our children! It’s definitely been a long time!

      Thanks for reading my blog (even if you thought the photo was of something else!) AND for commenting. Yes, we are moving to Canada for about 3-5 years. We are holding our plans loosely and we continue to wait on God for direction but in the meantime, we’re excited about our next season in Canada.

      There are actually several poets in the hope*writers community, should you ever feel like delving further into writing. 🙂 I’ll go have a look at your poems after finishing this comment.

      Say hello to Dear for me!

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