A Month Later

Laziness. Fear. Time with family. Unrealistic expectations. Lack of confidence in my ability to effectively explain my life. I think these are the top reasons why it’s been a month since I’ve written for my blog. I’ve had some ideas of what to write. I’ve certainly had ample opportunity to actually sit down and do the writing. But I haven’t—until now.

Since it’s been so long, this will be a fly-by of reflections, thanksgivings, updates, and processing. Sounds like most of my conversations, to be honest…

 The Time Warp Game

My mom likes to play a Time Warp game. (I just made up that name for it, though. There isn’t actually a name for it. This is just how my mom thinks. 🙂 ) She’s frequently saying, “Can you believe that a week ago today, you were finishing your last semester at Cedarville?” or “How crazy is that two weeks from right now, we’ll be in Pentwater again?” Sometimes it really does boggle the mind, thinking of how quickly life can change. I’ve been playing the Time Warp game in my mind the past few days because a month ago today, I was in Paris, en route to Michigan, leaving Niger. When I verbalize that, it makes more sense why my mind and emotions feel discombobulated.

It’s been a crazy, good month. Hard, certainly. My first night home, I wept myself to sleep. (Crying doesn’t do it justice. This was tears galore, not trying to stop it, just allowing the act of weeping to exhaust me into sleep.) I miss my friends. I miss my roommate and our neighbor. I miss my students. Gosh, I miss them. I miss the warmth, the skirts, the constant refilling of water bottles, the planning and collaborating of our teacher workroom. I miss both planned and spontaneous prayer sessions. I miss that level of community and courage and dependence. I miss Sahel Academy like crazy.

However, it probably isn’t surprising that I’ve kept myself rather busy. Here are some fun (albeit exhausting) facts about what December 2014 included in the life of Abby Cline:

  • 3 countries on 3 continents—Niger, Africa; France, Europe; USA, North America
  • Finishing my student teaching and consequently, my undergraduate degree
  • 9 months of dating the man I love—and being reunited with him after 4 months of legit long distance 🙂
  • 8 different states—MI, OH, PA, NY, CT, MA, VT, and ME—en route to the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Kurt and Molly Stultz. 😉
  • Christmas with my entire family together
  • Continuing registering as a substitute teacher, you know, for that grown-up, real life thing
  • Saying too many goodbyes
  • Just a crap ton of change.

 Truth reminders

For my fellow Hunger Games fans, I have an analogy: please think of the beginning of Mockingjay. So, Katniss is a hot mess of emotions and confusion, right? And she’s repeating to herself the few facts that she feels she can trust: “My name is Katniss Everdeen. I was in the Hunger Games. I escaped.” Etc. (If you’re that curious, read the books. You’ll thank me later.)

Let me clarify first that my life transitions have not been traumatic. I was never in a life-threatening situation. (No, Ebola still has not reached Niger.) But I’m still finding myself in need of some reminders, some reassurance, I suppose. So, here goes:

My name is Abby Cline. I am 23 years old. I live in Freeland, Michigan, in my parents’ house. I just taught for four months at an incredible school in Niamey, Niger. I spent 3 cold, early morning hours in Paris, France. I have friends in Niger, Hungary, Maine, Ohio, and various other states and countries; I don’t know when I’ll see them again. Oh, and by the way, I’m slightly terrified of my future.

You may have noticed some important truths that I left out. I think that’s why I’m terrified of my future—substitute teaching, looking for an actual teaching job, navigating living at home again, being an “adult.” Let’s try the truth reminders again:

 My name is Abby Cline. I am a sinner, redeemed by Christ’s atoning sacrifice. This is not of myself; it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8-9). I serve a faithful, loving God who will never leave me nor forsake me (Joshua 1:5). God has a plan (Eph 1:7-10). I am part of that plan.

I need more truth reminders than I realize. It’s almost like God knew that, so He decided to give simple, forgetful humans the Bible. Crazy, huh.

More to come

This whole processing thing is going to take a while. I’ve decided that I do want to keep up with this blog, even though I’m back in the States where my life is “boring.” (I don’t actually believe that, don’t worry.) There may be some more in-depth, reflection-type posts in the future. But I’m going to try to be realistic and not promise anything. 🙂 For now, this is the update. And here are the pictures. Because my internet is now processing more than just KB per second. Weird. 🙂

My wonderful, amazing, gracious roommate and friend, Kathy. We took this picture right before I left for the airport (hence the jeans).

My wonderful, amazing, gracious roommate and friend, Kathy. We took this picture right before I left for the airport (hence the jeans).

At one of the Indian restaurants in Niamey, hours before they took me to the airport. L to R: me, Hannah, Rachel, Mal, Susan.

At one of the Indian restaurants in Niamey, hours before they took me to the airport. L to R: me, Hannah, Rachel, Mal, Susan.

I was actually there!

I was actually there!

Mom, Sarah, and I went to see WICKED in Detroit my second weekend home.

Mom, Sarah, and I went to see WICKED in Detroit my second weekend home.

While there wasn't snow on my first New England winter voyage, there were still breathtaking views.

While there wasn’t snow on my first New England winter voyage, there were still breathtaking views.

Stephen and I at our friends' wedding in Portland, Maine on Dec 19th.

Stephen and I at our friends’ wedding in Portland, Maine on Dec 19th.

One of my trips to Ohio included quality time with my dear friend Pat.

One of my trips to Ohio included quality time with my dear friend Pat.

While wrapping Christmas presents, I tried to stay modest while practicing some Niger skillz.

While wrapping Christmas presents, I tried to stay modest while practicing some Niger skillz.

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One thought on “A Month Later

  1. Beth Bo. says:

    Hey Abby, I love the little taste of Africa in your wedding outfit! 🙂 In times of transition, I am always comforted by these words, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” I know that He is with you helping you process everything but it’s also comforting to know that he is going before you preparing the next thing. We miss you!

    Like

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