On the Other Side of Normal


It’s crazy how much has happened since my last post here almost two years ago.

Right now, I’m on Spring Break from my first year at Liberty University. Over the last few days, I’ve been scrolling through my blog…reading old posts and remembering the hours I spent hunched over a keyboard, typing all those words on TCK living. My world is so different from the day I hit “publish” on “Lessons on Transition…From Rapunzel.”

At that point, I was a full-fledged TCK living in Hiroshima, Japan.

I ate raw fish, octopus, or squid on a weekly basis.

I Skyped instead of texted friends.

Much of my identity was defined by the stamps in my passport.

I wasn’t really sure where home was and –without fail—stuttered on the question “where are you from?”

Now, I live in Lynchburg, Virginia.

I’ve finally eaten at Chick Fil a.

I own a pair of ripped jeans.

I have a driver’s license with an American residence.

I have a phone number that’s not a Skype number.

I watch Netflix without a VPN (and I’m actually watching a show that’s currently popular—not one that was popular twenty years ago).

I see aspects of the American side of me surfacing: a sense of independent instead of collective thinking, and a “fake-it-till-you-make-it” mentality.

I haven’t travelled out of the country in almost a year, and my passport lies unused in my desk drawer.

Some of these changes I enjoy. But other changes, I reflect on with homesickness: not necessarily for a location, but a way of life.

I miss the excitement of travel. I miss the sights and smells of different countries. I miss being constantly immersed in the beauty of cultures. I miss the sounds of different languages. I miss suitcases and airports and night markets and wallets holding different currencies.

When I wrote my last post, I was scared to leave normal. I didn’t know what to expect. But as the months string together into almost a year on this other side of “normal,” I’m surprised at how much I enjoy my new world.

How normal this new life is becoming.

I’m learning how much I delight in a sense of stability. The airport it just a few minutes away from my college campus. If I needed to, I could hop on a plane and travel anywhere.

But I don’t have to.

I’m realizing how beautiful it is to develop friendships, digging roots deep into new community.

And not have to leave.

I’m discovering that I can connect with non-TCKs. My roommate is from South Carolina. She’s never lived overseas, but our faith and personalities mesh beautifully.

Despite our vastly different childhoods, we connect on a deep level.

Most of all, I’m learning who God is in a new way.

A year a half ago, I published an article titled “Leaving Narnia…My MK World.”

I expressed hesitance about leaving my “Narnia.” I wondered how I would connect with God in a new place and in a new season. But since leaving my MK World, my faith has only deepened. Over the last year and a half, God’s taken me on a painful journey—not only across the ocean, but also around the dark places in my own heart.

I’m learning to trust Him, love Him, and to surrender to Him more and more.

Recently, God has been speaking to me through Psalm 139. Here is a portion I’ve especially resonated with:

 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast…
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

I’ve read this passage of Scripture many times over the last year a half.

God’s whispers have not lessoned after leaving my MK World, but have grown more intimate and personal as I continue to seek Him. These last few years have been difficult, but God has been faithful. He’s guided, protected, and healed.

My gratitude for this other side of normal, and the journey—both geographically and spiritually—that have brought me to this point, is continually deepening.

I’ve personally experienced that God is my never-changing Constant. As I step into greater independence, I’m daily recognizing my need for the Father. And I’m learning how to lean into greater dependence on Him.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Donna Oxendine says:

    I love to read what you write. I love the fact that you have faith!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. steadfastray says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve been struggling with trusting God to be my constant and your post has encouraged me to persevere in daily seeking God and memorizing His Word.
    Thank you and I pray you keep growing from strength to strength


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