Transitions are hard.
Since our arrival in Kenya I have been dwelling on no novel words of profound wisdom, but just this: change is challenging.
Clark and I have a phrase we have given each other permission to wield when our attitudes go awry. Instead of attempting to process a situation or to explain how the other is being selfish or impatient or uncaring, we simply say “Philippians check.”
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
For instance, I say to Clark: “Those people at [our cell service provider] are completely useless! I want a simple thing done. I did exactly what they told me I should do when we were still in the US and now they tell me it’s impossible! What pond scum!”
Clark says: “Philippians check.”
These past weeks we have moved to a new continent. We have traveled, shopped, cooked, settled, cleaned, and met dozens of new people. Our new cultural context has rendered these mundane tasks both exciting and exasperating.
Pasteurizing milk and our home
But the Lord has provided!
Hannah slept for the majority of our 23 hours of travel. When awake, she contentedly played on her blanket in front of our bulkhead seating.
She made it all the way to Nairobi. Then she melted down…
We were in line to go through immigration. At the very end of the very long line made up of our fellow plane passengers. About 10 seconds into Hannah’s paroxysms a Kenyan guard approached us. He had come to escort us to the front of the line! The moment we passed through the doors to the baggage claim, Hannah’s cries ceased.
At the Department of Immigration in Nairobi we had been warned about one particular employee. Our work permits were stamped into our passports without issue, but I sensed the foreboding behind these words: “We have sent you to room 15.”
Room 15 is where fingerprinting happens. This sounds innocuous. It is not. The woman who does this takes each finger VERY securely and presses it VERY firmly into the ink and then onto the paper. After watching Clark wince his way through the procedure, I approached the desk with no small amount of trepidation. However, three fingers into the process, Hannah began “talking” and I am almost sure that this clerk’s grip loosened enough to allow blood flow to resume.
We are blessed! But we are also human.
Somehow the smallest annoyance manages to overshadow a multitude of goodness. Like that single mosquito buzzing inside our nets at two in the morning.
These drums were in our storage room (which was daily flooding due to an over-ambitious washing machine). Inside one we discovered dozens of coloring and children’s books!
Our first weeks here I found myself saving all my harsh words for Clark. Despite our beautiful home, bountiful food, and caring neighbors, I responded to the change and unknowns with frustration.
The Lord has been showing me that now, as always, I need a “Philippian’s check.”
Let our prayer be that our “love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that [we] may approve what is good and excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11