First of all, I’m sorry.
How did I not realize (I mean “realise,” as you prefer) how wonderful and large you are? Or that you’re so very old. I mean, in a good way. All those dinosaurs! Who knew? Well, sadly, not me.
I’m sorry I didn’t know before I moved here that you held the most liveable city in the world? Melbourne. My city of 2 years. It’s like a taste of living in New York City in the 1800s and experiencing the first few waves of immigrants from all over the world.
I’m sorry I didn’t know you have states. Don’t tell my 4th grade geography teacher. How else can my self-centered (oops, self-centred) view of the world be exposed?
Now with confession off my chest, I begin my thanks.
Thank you, Australia, for making me fall in love with you and your people. For providing us with friends from literally all over the world.
Then, there’s my gratitude for your parks. Your coffee. Your food. Oh, your global cuisine. (One word: souvlaki) Your preschool genius of play as learning. Your model of hospitality and lifelong loyal friendship.
Thanks to you, my view of the world is a bit less self-centered and a bit more satisfied to be a part of something much bigger than me.
A lot of life lived in almost 2 years.
It was just two nights ago, in a frenzy-loud cafe over a flat white that it happened. Liz gifted me a new pair of glasses, of sorts, with her words.
And God used those words to say this to me: “See your two dozen months as marked by My goodness, Angie.”
As opposed to the months being marked by the hard.
I’d recently been awakened to how my story is now. But, her words revealed that, deep down, I remembered the tender wounds easily and often as I recount our journey.
It’s tricky. The wounds were — and are — real. Loss. Health issues. Loneliness. Speech delay. Feeling the foreigner I am.
Liz said, “Wouldn’t Satan love to have you think and reflect on your time here and have it marked by the hard things?”
And it was like I snapped to attention just in time to realize a man’s hand was outstretched, set to grab my purse.
No! You will not steal from me, Satan. You will not deceive me as to what these years have really been marked by.
So let me set the record right, oh Australia, for myself in your hearing.
These days have been marked by good. Marked by good because my Father is good.
The good is easy to see in the days when my recruiting job is especially fulfilling. Or when Scott comes home eyes lit up, words spilling out excitedly telling me about what tech hurdle he’d just cleared. Or helping at Lizzy’s preschool, watching her little friend wrap up my little girl in an unabashedly-loving hug. Or having a 4-way conversation at dinner because my little man plays a part in the conversation now.
But it’s also been here, Australia, where God showed me His goodness in ways that were textbook before, but now are proven.
The hard has led to the good.
Or, is it actually that the good has been revealed amidst the hard?
My days here have ushered me into a vulnerable dependence on God that’s revealed Him as a tender Father in ways I’d never experienced. He loved our family so tangibly through so many, inviting us to remember community is where life is meant to be lived.
Our family’s story will always include you, my country/continent Friend. God has marked my life anew here, in your shores.
Thank you, Australia.
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise;
Just to know, Thus saith the Lord.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him,
How I’ve proved Him over and over,
Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more.