There’s nothing like being far away from something to make you appreciate it even more. It’s been a little over two months since I arrived here in the States, and I can’t even begin to define how much I miss the Dominican Republic. Even though it’s the people I miss the most, the thought of a typical Dominican meal or a conversation over greca-brewed Santo Domingo coffee makes me smile. It’s why when I’m on a plane arriving to the Dominican, I almost always tear up thinking about how much I love this place. It’s why my trip to Peru this summer, as enjoyable as it was seeing a new culture, had me thinking about the Dominican constantly, and confirming quite a lot of things. It’s why I find myself rummaging through tons of old photos that I have on my computer on a nearly day-to-day basis.
There have been times that I’ve thought and even said that “God has put the Dominican Republic on my heart.” I could never really explain it in any other way. And yet I’ve always wondered what I truly meant by that. Am I destined to live there forever? And who am I to tell God where I belong, or is He the one telling me? What if His plan for me wasn’t to move back to the Dominican Republic, but rather to stay here? Would I reject that?
In a moment of reflection outside, drinking coffee (the best kind of reflections), I realized that perhaps it wasn’t the Dominican Republic that God put on my heart, rather the Kingdom. A Kingdom that encompasses the whole world and its people – a Kingdom that is put on our hearts and minds to seek Him first in all things, to show His glory, His love. A Kingdom that is truly our identity – who God created us to be. And with His Kingdom on my heart and mind, I made a choice. A choice to love these people deeply and determinedly.
I remember listening to a sermon so long ago that reminded us how important our hope was for others – and I believe that’s true wherever we are. My time here in the States is just as important as my time in the Dominican Republic. My day to day interactions with people should be just as hope-filled, and our joy goes with us no matter the location.
And although I’ve made the choice to love the Dominican Republic and its people, I cannot decipher what that looks like, and I don’t intend to. I will keep dreaming with God, fleeing to Him in all my doubts, all my schemes. For we must be careful in how we dream, or “they no longer feel as gifts, but rights and demands upon our lives. We don’t wait in anticipation; we advance in panic.” (http://carolineschandel.com/when-dreams-become-our-identity/).
I love the Dominican Republic, and I know that God will lead me where He wants me if I’m committed to stand for the Kingdom.
“No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”
(Romans 4:20-21 ESV)