It was a situation marinated in discomfort. I didn't know the language. I didn't understand the culture. I was young, shy, and worried about impressing an extended family that might someday become my in-laws.
That trip was a total of three days and seemed to last a lifetime.
I've went back a few times since then, and each time I've felt more relaxed and a bit more comfortable. But nothing compared to this last trip that we took back in December.
It was... to put it in one word... beautiful. My husband's family was going down to visit and to do some work on a ranch. Since I had the little one to look after I opted to stay only a few days. But it was definitely a precious experience. My daughter got to meet her great grandmother and spend lots of time with aunts, uncles, and cousins. When it came time for me to return to the states I realized that there had been no discomfort, no worries, no fear or thoughts of being insufficient. I had been happy.
What changed? My husbands family had undergone no earth-shattering transformations. The were the same sweet, welcoming people that I've known for years. The little Mexican town was altered, of course, there were new modern stores and other examples of progress on its bright-colored streets. But that didn't account for just how different I felt this time compared all the times before.
I knew though what made this visit so different... it was me. It was a shift in my motives and thoughts. That first time I'd come down all I thought about was me. I thought about how I liked the food, how strange the culture was to me. I worried about whether I was liked or accepted by by his family. All negative and all self-centered.
But this time, this time the trip was not about me at all. I thought about other things, like how precious it was that my husband's grandmother got to meet her great granddaughter. I thought about how sweet it was to share dinner with an aunt and uncle and laugh with them when my little girl ate multiple homemade tortillas. I thought about how blessed my family was to be able to come there.
How much a person can change in eight years is incredible. But, I think all my best changes have come from God. Every time I've struggled, every time I've taken on challenges, every time I've allowed faith to reign instead of fear I've been changed. Surely, I am thankful for every time God takes out his tools of change and goes to work on my heart and soul.
Photo by medea_material
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17