This blog was written by a mom – piecing together the feedback, thoughts, and verbally expressed emotions of her three children (ages 9, 11, and 13), just a day before they were to get on an airplane to return to America, after living for a couple of years in their second country overseas.
God is always doing a new thing in our lives, but change…well, it can be a hard thing for a TCK (third culture kid.)
The initial excitement about moving to a new place, learning about a new culture and new foods, and the possibility of making new friends can quickly wane when you miss family and friends, familiar things, and feel the loss that comes with being uprooted. “How is this going to get easier?” and “What is He trying to teach me with this situation?” are all too familiar questions in our minds and family conversations.
When we moved to our first new country, we were excited because we liked learning new things. We spent time soaking in the information and culture so that we could meet people and fit in. We found the language barrier to be a real thing, and it was hard. It was fun to go to new places around where we lived and we felt joy in all that we were doing, but the hardest part was learning how to adapt well to the new situations. Sometimes our reaction was to be quiet and to pull away, and sometimes we threw ourselves into the newness with what could appear to be reckless abandon, but was really trust that God would bless our efforts. After reflection, we can say that our number one sadness in those first couple years was missing our family in our home country. Through prayer and God changing our hearts, we think that our love for our family and friends is just as strong, but we aren’t sad about being apart from them like we used to be, and the times we are together, we cherish that much more.
It has helped us to meet new people and make new friends in the culture and place that we live. New things can bring new joy. Also, meeting other TCKs at conferences has been a joy. To exchange stories and understand each other, the good and the bad, is an example of iron sharpening iron. We are thankful that God puts the right people in our lives at the right time, to train us, to challenge us, and to grow us in Him.
Over time, we have realized that whether we adapt quickly or not isn’t the issue, we always, with His help, figure it out, and when we do, we find the new hope, joy and peace in life that trust in God always brings.
We may feel weak in that we fight being uprooted and taken away from what is comfortable and known. Sometimes, we complain that we “want to be home,” and then a year later, we realize that we’re calling our new place “home,” and it feels comfortable, and right, and we realize yet again, that the Father has changed our heart, put in it a new love, helped us to find a new joy, and grown us just a little bit more. So, we’re learning slowly, not to be anxious about anything, to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us, and that to everything there is a season. And sometimes, that season is one of change, challenge, and growth; but, if it brings us closer to God, and teaches us at a young age to trust, then Mom says that is an amazing thing and it’s a lesson that we’ve learned earlier in life than she did.