I think that the hardest thing about being away from people you care about is not being there to help when you know that they are struggling or going through some tough times. For example, my mom is having surgery on her hand in a couple of weeks. I would love to get on a plane and fly home to help her as she recovers. If I still lived in the states that would be possible but it simply isn't an option from this far away.
One thing it has taught me though is what it means to be the family of God. It has been an incredible encouragement to me to see the body of Christ act like family both to me and others I care for. A couple of weeks back I was sharing with a friend how overwhelmed I was picking tile and shower fixtures by myself. His response to me was to ask me why I was doing it by myself when he would have been glad to come and help if I had just called and ask. What a good reminder that was to me of how many times I/we feel alone merely because our pride prevents us from asking for help.
Is there anything besides people that I miss? Well, the other night at about 1am I was reminded of the answer. I awoke to the sound of my house alarm going off. It seems that someone was in my yard and set off the perimeter beams. I miss not feeling safe. Crime is an everyday reality here. Just yesterday I got a call from a girl I have been discipling informing me that she had been a victim of an attempted highjacking.
I live in a house with a tall wall all the way around my yard and gate. There are burglar bars on my windows and security doors on the doors. Sometime in the not to distant future I will probably install electric fencing. I have perimeter beams that go off if someone enters my yard. The idea is to catch someone before they get into the house. My security company is alerted that they need to send an armed response to my house.
When I drive, I think about how long the car behind me has been following me. I don't open the gate and pull into my driveway unless no one is on the street. At stop lights, I am very aware of who is around me how close they are getting. My purse is on the trunk or at my feet to help prevent a smash and grab scenario.
All that to say there are times I miss not having to think about safety. It has been good for me though. I am reminded on a continual basis that God is my defender and my protector. I am constantly thankful for how God has protected me and how He has kept me safe. I am also reminded on a regular basis that He is sovereign and in control. That nothing is going to happen to me that God has not allowed. All these things were true in the states but here that take on new meaning.