As a new student at Baylor University, I was a fish out of water. Eighteen years old, a third culture kid (TCK) from Papua New Guinea left standing on the steps of my dorm by my parents returning to the mission field. I was naïve and frightened. I had to do and face things I had never done before—all alone.
The first big task was to register for my classes. As an incoming freshman from overseas, there was no way to preregister in the early 80s. So I was assigned a time to walk across campus to a large gym where row upon row of tables were set up. I had to find the location of each sign up sheet for the classes I wished to take. There was also the chance that a class would be filled and I would have to find an alternate teacher and time and make it all work to get the credits and courses I needed.
I was scared. There was no one to walk me through the process, though of course, I could have asked for help. I now know that at that time in my life, I hated to ask for help. I think it was because it would reveal my ignorance, my TCKness, which would just emphasize even more that I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t fit in. So I prayed. A lot! I asked God to walk me through the process and show me where to go and how to register.
God answered my prayer in a very real and precious way. I felt his presence so clearly as I walked from one table to the next, successfully registering in a very short period of time. I later heard about the experiences of other students and realized that God had led me as I had taken his hand to follow.
This experience has come back to me recently as a way to navigate the new waters I face currently—moving to the Dallas area, waiting for a house to sell, living in transition, learning a new ministry, finding a new church, meeting 300+ workers from all over the world, communicating with my sons long distance, and figuring out what to do with time on the weekends! I cannot do this alone. I am that scared, naïve TCK once again (albeit with much healing and maturity).
My breath prayer for several months has been Your hand, Lord, I take hold taken from Psalm 139:10 “even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Some days I have clasped his hand tightly. Other times, like when I had my melt down a few weeks ago and my husband found me curled up sobbing on the floor, I have let go of his hand. And this morning, God sent me a reminder from 2 Chronicles 30:8-9 (The Message):
Don’t be pigheaded as your ancestors were. Clasp God’s outstretched hand. Come to his Temple of holy worship, consecrated for all time. Serve God, your God…Your God is gracious and kind and won’t snub you—come back and he’ll welcome you with open arms.
Lord, I take your outstretched hand and trust you to lead me. I follow you each step, each day as new tasks and people’s needs come my way. I renew my commitment to have the attitude I had at BU to let you show me how to navigate these waters, where to step, when to pause and when to take action. Your hand, Lord, I take hold.