I’m currently sitting in my living room, using the only open floor space in sight. Sunscreen, bug spray, clothes, vitamins, meal bars, face wash, chacos… I could actually go on forever. Welcome to my little world of packing to live in a different country for two months. Eventually I’ll worry about fitting it into a single trunk, but for now I’m trying to process all of the change that’s been happening.

I graduated from college a month ago. It was bittersweet. I cried. One of my dearest friends married another dear friend two days ago. It was beautiful. I cried. Another dear friend moved away from Nashville to pursue a graduate degree in Southern California. It was difficult, and you guessed it… I cried.

Thanks a lot, you guys...
Thanks a lot, you guys…

Change is a real thing that few truly enjoy, if only because it forces vulnerability and assessment of one’s heart. It’s a test of perspective that goes against human nature, and it’s applicable to my life now more than ever.

People ask me daily if I know what exactly I’m about to do. Am I scared that something will go wrong? Don’t I know that I’m willingly entering a war zone of instability and uncertainty? Have I heard of Boko Haram? Am I ready to wash my own clothes and sleep under a mosquito net for 8 weeks? Do I know what I’m doing when I get back? What if a wild animal attacks me? (All real questions, verbatim.)

Honest answer: I don’t really know what I’m doing. I want nothing more than to reply, “I’m absolutely scared. Didn’t you see me cry 25 times this past month? I’M LEAVING MY COMFORT ZONE IN THREE DAYS, GUYS.”

And in spite of my out-of-control emotions and small-mindedness, I have peace knowing that a sovereign God will be with me wherever I go, that this is what He wants me to do right now. In no way am I qualified to love His people in Bundibugyo. I don’t know anyone over there. I don’t even know how to say hello in Lubwisi. I’ll probably spend all of next week processing culture shock at levels beyond my comprehension. I’ll also probably get sick a time or two and maybe even pet a monkey.

So many things are about to happen that I will not be prepared for. But I have a God who equips those that He calls. People who have no choice but to rely on His love and His providence because they know they can’t do it alone. With that as a mindset, I’m confident in an amazing experience full of lessons learned. But at the end of the day, it has very little to do with me and everything to do with His kingdom. He’ll help me figure things out along the way.

As far as prayer goes, I’m asking for prayers of wisdom and trust. And more than anything else, pray that I keep the perspective and the focus that’s always been centered on love and grace. Not centered on me.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Thank you to everyone who’s poured into me and this experience. I can’t say that enough. Your kind words of encouragement really are going with me to Uganda in a few short days and I’m PUMPED about it. It’s almost time!

But first, I have to pack a trunk. Here goes nothing.


One thought on “Transitions

  1. Fairfield, CT

    I am sending you prayers, Ashland. I wish you an amazing experience that brings new perspective to your life. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience. Enjoy every minute of it no matter what it brings. Your faith in God is truly inspiring and will get you through anything. I cannot wait to hear all about your adventures. Good luck packing!

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