Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Prepare Your Heart

Kokoro no junnbi wo shitte kudasai - こころのじゅんびをしってください

I heard Kim, a college friend, use this phrase with her child. She said we don't really have an English equivalent, but it generally conveys the idea to, "prepare your heart".....and she used it to to tell her daughter it was nearing time to say goodbye. Google translates it as, "Please know the preparation of the heart." I have no surprising news to share...but I'm thinking.  Ryu, Kim's husband, says it is said before sharing shocking or surprising news.

The concept, if not the exact wording, has stuck with me. Prepare your heart. Three little words. Prepare your heart to hear from God. Prepare your heart to learn. Prepare your heart to worship. Prepare your heart to obey. Prepare your heart to surrender.  Prepare your heart for change. Prepare your heart to love. Prepare your heart to hear surprising/shocking news. In a year when God has graced us with Acts 2:17 as  a prayer verse - I'm preparing my heart to hear new dreams which may be surprising or shocking.

And I knew - there would come a day when we would need to prepare our hearts to say goodbye. We are now six months from leaving a country we love. I know we love EVERY assignment (well, we were split on one of those assignments but I love every location). This is different. Our roots have gone deep. As we walked out of the airport in Tokyo, I felt I was "home."  Apart from God, it is unlikely we will "visit" this childhood home of our children again.  We have lived through great happy adventures and incredibly traumatic, heart-breaking experiences while living in Japan. We have grown. We don't want to leave. I relate to the Catholic priest who said, "Bury my bones here..." and did in fact get his wish in 2011.

I've left other homes like this and not gone back - Liberia and the Philippines.

I know I have to prepare my heart and the hearts of my kids for this leave taking. It's bigger than moving from Montana to Texas. I'm just not sure how.

And so, confronted with deep thoughts, I did what I do...I tackled a project. I defrosted the freezer.

It's now a thing of beauty, milk crates full of meat, veggies, fruit, sauces and bread items...it will be helpful to start eating up our stock.

I'm no closer to knowing how to prepare my heart...but He impressed on us in 2013 to Live Courageously...and we will.

These few things I know from growing up as a Third Culture Kid and being a Third Culture Wife:

  • It is vital I stay close to God - my quiet time is a priority
  • I must carve margin in our schedule to visit the places we love
  • I must fully live these next few months with dear friends
  • I will not unplug until the very last day - this hurts - but the pain is a mark of having loved well....I will continue to mentor, continue to serve, continue to live and create connections and trust Him to be there when the pain of goodbyes arrive - as it will. 
  • I will find reasons every day to thank God for the gracious gift of this extra year in Japan. 

I would love to hear how those of you who have moved from here, or other overseas locations, prepared your heartsr how you wish you would have.

  •  What can I do to help this be an easier transition for the children? For us?  
  • How can we live the next six months fully engaged, while preparing our heart for the leave-taking that is surely approaching? 
  • Are there things you wish you had done or brought from Japan with you? 
  • Do you have any tips to share with us? 
My preparation partner

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...