December 5, 2013 4 min to read

…if only in my dreams

Category : Uncategorized

It all started in October. At first, it was hinted at by the soft music we heard while shopping. Weeks went by, slowly wooed by the sound. Then displays started appearing all over town. It seemed to increase week by week. Then, it was fully exposed for the first time when a cashier at our grocery store said it….”Merry Christmas.” There it was. The realization that I would be alone, away from all of our family for the first time, well, ever. I haven’t really felt alone until now.

The book stores have them in the windows. The hardware shops have them too. Facebook has photos, decoration ideas, snowmen, and recipes from spiced apple cider to pumpkin scones. Everywhere I go I see the beautiful decorations, reminding me that I am thousands of miles away from my family. My heart longs to be home for Christmas. In fact the only song I hear on a daily basis, one of my all time favorites, now beckons me home as it proclaims, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”…. and “You Can Count On Me…” I tear up every time now listening to it. I really just want to be home for Christmas. I think that would be the best Christmas gift, ever.

I miss the smell of cinnamon tickling my nose as pumpkin pie is being baked. I miss the warm fragrances from the candles burning in the living room. I want my toes to be cold so that I can put some warm, fluffy, winter socks on to warm them up. I want to wrap myself in a blanket while watching the snow fall and fall and fall. I kinda want to be snowed in for a couple of days. My heart leaps just thinking about being stuck in the same atmosphere with my family…….ahhh.

I thought I would be able to make it through the holidays without a hitch. But, now wherever I go, all I can do is think of home. I miss the cold that brings people outside inside. The house overrun with a fresh (or fake) tree, lights that are soft or that flash, garland strung from one side of the house to the other. Oh, the candy canes, the stockings hung by the fireplace or wall, and the tinsel strewn about to make things glisten even more. I miss our family coming together to spend a warm, over-the-top meal with each other. We laugh, eat too much, but most of all, love each other. I just long to be home with the ones I love. I long to wrap my arms around all of you and just be near to you. It is not about the presents, its about the presence. That is what I love. Being together.

I love where we are. I love the warm weather. God has done so many miraculous things! I can’t believe how He provides for us as we step out in faith. He says “Go!” and we go. He never lets us fall. Even when we don’t understand why, He seems to show up like only He can do. I love being here. I am thankful that we are here, affecting so many lives. I am so glad that God called us here to the Philippines, but a big piece of my heart still is with my family.

As Christmas closes in upon us here, the Philippine culture celebrates like no other country I have heard of. It truly is a big event! Families gather from all over the country to meet up, spend time together, eat, and celebrate their time together. It is times like these, that I long to be back home. You see, their culture has such a big emphasis on family. It has influenced me in such a way that now I am finding it difficult not to think of mine.

The last month or so have been so difficult for me emotionally. After getting back from a fabulous whirlwind of a ministry trip in the Manila area, we had a huge flood. It took a couple of weeks to get everything back in order after that. After that we found out that I was pregnant! That was incredible news considering that we have been trying to conceive for years. Then, I slipped down a storm drain and was very much shaken up. I survived with minor injuries, but found out shortly after we were no longer pregnant. The Philippines suffered the most severe typhoon ever reported in history. I longed to be there, loving those who have lost so much. However, it was unsafe to go. I was able to pack relief food and supplies for the refugees and I do plan to go there to help rebuild in 2014. Josh and I had a great time celebrating our 16 year anniversary as well as my birthday!! But, our joy was short lived with the death of our 14 year old dog, Katie, who had kidney failure.

All that to say, I miss home and long to see my loved ones. Initially, we thought we would be able to come home for the Holidays, but the finances were not there. But, both Josh and I really want to go home for Christmas. We know that God cares about the things that we care about. Even though He is and has done amazing things here, He knows that we want to be with our family now during the Christmas season. He is good. He loves to give His children good things. I am thankful for everything. But I just need a real-life hug from my family!

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    Replydiane thompson January 19, 2014

    loved reading this. helps us understand what it is like for you both over there. Brandie said it's been up for a while but I just now found it.