2010 – we’ve finally moved out of the hotel and into a rental house. Our shipment has yet to arrive from America so we are still on rented furniture. I’m very very sad because I miss home and my family so very much. I feel distant from Jesus and I have zero friends.
Everyday Lance goes to work and I am home alone. Too far to walk anywhere and no car or bike. It’s the saddest I have ever been. and, on top of that I am disappointed in myself because I’m not loving life in Australia. We go to the grocery store and I head to the Manchester aisle (not exactly sure what that is), but I’m searching for laundry detergent. I see numerous boxes of washing powder. I see a variety of dish soap and a display of mops and brooms. I recognize NOTHING. Suddenly, I’m overwhelmed and almost frantic in my search for ‘Tide’ laundry soap. TIDE. Where is the familiar bright orange and yellow bottle with the big blue letters TIDE? Just want to recognize ONE thing. JUST ONE!… then, inexplicably the tears fall. And I stand in the middle of the aisle, alone, crying over something as simple as laundry soap. Or rather the absence of.
2013- we’ve been in Oz for almost three years now. And I can’t begin to tell of the wonderful things my Lord Jesus has accomplished. He has provided just like the bible said he would in the book of Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do FAR MORE abundantly than all that we ask or think according to the power at work within us”. Where once I had no friends and spent days alone, not able to write, not able or willing to pray because I could not feel or see my Jesus, now I have plenty. One of the reasons for this, I think, is because long ago my husband preached a sermon about trains.
That’s weird, right? How could a sermon on trains help me? How could a train bring me close again to Jesus? Take my sadness down a few octaves, make me smile again? How could a train pull me or push me or drag me out of the dark hole of depression I was slipping into? For a simple little statement: Have FAITH in the FACTS and the FEELINGS will FOLLOW.
With apologies to my husband for this amateurish graphic…but this is totally how I reasoned out my lack of seeing Jesus. It’s not always a soaring, happy, dancing with kangaroos on the rainbow of life feeling, this Christian life. And I surely found that out in the pit. But, when I remembered that even in the pit He is there. Oh, it might be dark, and my light may be hidden under a lead lined bushel…but none the less He is there and His love never fails. So, I put my faith in the facts, and sure enough, those dismal feelings were swept away when His light exposed my shadowed heart. Put faith in the facts and the feelings followed! Now back to ‘Tide’.
So, there are a lot of different things about Australia, as it should be, because it is Australia and not America. And, I’m thankful for most of the differences. And slowly, Jesus drew me to people, and people to me, and life became somewhat easier. We began hosting parties and our friend dubbed our house ‘the party house’, for which we are more than happy to be! And, I went along in my daily life, thinking all was well, until the day someone in an ex-pat Facebook forum said she was doing her laundry with ‘Tide’ and hoped it would turn out like her mother’s had back home. TIDE? Immediately I was on that page commenting, “how does this happen here in Australia?” and the answer, “Coles has TIDE. Tide with Downey and Tide.” Needless to say I was pretty excited. I called my local Coles to see if they carried it but in my excitement my request must’ve come across garbled because the clerk came back and said, no, they didn’t have any ‘Coles Tide in an orange container’. Humph. But not one to give up easily I convinced my long-suffering and brilliant husband to take me down to the store. And there it was. With contained excitement, I convinced him to take this picture, promising that if he would, there would be no shouting or dancing in the aisle. At least not on the outside.
And there you have it, my life in Australia has come full circle! From crying in the aisle to celebrating in the same aisle three years later. And through it all, Jesus was there, all the time. I just needed a little nudge from a train, and a few receptive friends and of course, my sweet husband.
By Linda Mae Baldwin | Freelance writer