A lot has happened since last I wrote here, so first let me fill you in. We moved to Switzerland! I could go into all the details of how we got here, but for now know that a long time dream to move our family of six abroad came to fruition in what was undoubtedly the hardest and most exciting process we’ve ever been through (and are still going through). I may have a few more posts like this one as I digest all that God is teaching me.
Blindspots. They’re those things we don’t see because we can’t see them, they’re hiding, we don’t even know we should be looking for them. Picture that place between the field of view in your side mirror and your rearview mirror, you know the reason your drivers ed instructor told you to a head check before changing lanes. And then we change positions, do the head check, and suddenly the hidden car comes into view. I guess you could say it surprises us because we’re shocked we couldn’t see it before. But that’s exactly what this refining, sanctifying, growing us more into His likeness stuff is like, isn’t it? God gently, and maybe sometimes abruptly, pulling us into a different position so we can more clearly see the sin that so easily entangles us. Not to squash us under guilt and condemnation, but as His adopted children, to show us His glorious strength in our weakness, to show us more of the abundant life, characterised by freedom, that He intends for us.
Let’s call our move to Switzerland a rather large “head” or should I say “heart check”. I’m certain God has a whole slew of things to grow me up in during our time here, but one of the most obvious right now has been about self definition. Whether we realize it or not, we all define ourselves by, or get our self worth from certain things. I think most of us as Christians know that our definition, our self worth, should come from Christ alone. We’re good at the Sunday school answer, but in truth we still struggle don’t we? This world is full of lies and false promises. For women, there are countless things that lure us into thinking they will make us valuable, from the opinions of others to career success, the list goes on and I think each of us are prone to believing different ones for different reasons. It all boils down to definition doesn’t it? I am Sarah, that’s my name, but if I were a word in a dictionary, what would follow, or what would I like to follow? We like to think of ourselves as unique, but at the same time just like everyone else. We have an ideal image of ourselves that we aspire to, but where does this ideal image come from? Perhaps, and I’m just throwing it out there, we are self-obsessed? I certainly think the messages we hear in current culture would have us be, but that’s another topic.
So back to our move, let me count blessings to lead into my point. I don’t have to cook here. Yes, you heard right, I don’t HAVE to cook. As part of Travis’s position, we get to eat at the cafeteria for nearly every meal if we so choose (He works for an international boarding school). I am thankful for this break, even when the meals aren’t our favorite, it’s wonderful to have the option. Next blessing, no mortgage. We are renting out our house in the US and living in staff/faculty housing here in Switzerland as part of the job, it’s an apartment on the forth floor. A great opportunity to beef up our savings! Next up, we don’t have a car… yet. We are getting lots of exercise in our little Alpine village and learning to slow down a bit because we have to, plus we’re getting a break from the car bickering, all good things right?!
But now we can insert definition crisis. As a full time homemaker/mother/wife for the past 9.5 years, there are certain ways I have always, unknowingly, defined myself, made myself feel good about my role and calling, measures I have used to decide I’m doing a pretty good job. A big one is cooking for our family. No matter how many times I really didn’t feel like doing it, it has always felt like a labor of love to plan and prepare meals for my people. To get the “mmms!” and “more please” does wonders to boost my self esteem, definition confirmation so to speak. Owning a home also felt like a big extension of being a homemaker. From the decorations and furniture to the veggie and flower garden and the way my front porch looked. Being away from these things has pulled me into a position to see that I, in many ways, defined myself by striving to do these things well. And the car. As crazy as it may seem, the freedom to go where I wanted when I wanted for what I needed gave me this sense of empowerment in my roles and relationships. Well hello there blind spot, so good to finally see you!
So who is this woman Sarah, who doesn’t cook very often anymore because she doesn’t have to, who doesn’t have a house with a yard and gardens to care for, who doesn’t have a car at her disposal to conquer the world in a day? And He whispers, “the very same Sarah I love and died for, the one whose life I bought at the ultimate price and that I will continue to use for my glory and love for her blessing until her last breath”. And I am left in awe and adoration…
The seven year old me, who lay on my twin bed in my blue bedroom experiencing the overwhelming joy of being adopted into God’s family because of His great love for me through Jesus, she wasn’t cooking gourmet meals or owning houses or driving cars. And the 80 year old me (if I get to live that long), hunched over in my favorite chair with the same simple daily routines, she probably won’t be doing those things either. But who I am, my value as God’s daughter, will never diminish. Because my value and use by the One who made me is not based on what I do, my roles and successes, but based on who HE is and the work He is doing in and through my life for HIS glory. And this will keep happening at all the various stages, during all the peaks and valleys, trials and joys, of my life. And my value to my children as their mother, and to Travis as his wife, does it diminish when I’m laid up sick with the flu and can’t do all the doing I usually do? Of course not!
Perhaps defining ourselves by all our doing is hiding from and preventing the real joy of being defined by our being. What if realising this truth is discovering the fuel for the doing He has for us rather than the doing we’ve decided for ourselves?
I am Sarah, a sinner pursued and saved by the Maker of all that is, by His grace and for His glory. I am nothing without Jesus, and with Him I am completely new and whole and filled, I have been defined and marked for eternity! There is nothing I can do or not do to add to or take away from that fact.