Similar Lands

Its funny how returning to a place brings back so many feelings. God has hard-wired us to remember things. Sights, smells, sounds, even tastes bring us back to times that we had all but forgotten. Melissa and I returned to California on Friday and have spent most of the time since then at her parents house in Los Osos. As I walk around the house, it brings me back to the last time that we were here, last summer when we got married. That was such a turbulent time and Melissa and I were getting ready to plunge into God knew what.

The smell of this house, the feel of the carpet under my feet, the familiar voices of her family drip with the essence of that season in our lives. That time was about exploration, growth in love and self-discovery and it all comes back to me as I walk this hall.

I’m preparing to walk some familiar places over the next several months. Places that scream at me to not only remember but to convert back to who I was in those places. In my nostalgia, I feel as though I would like that. Who I was in Long Beach, who I was in Costa Mesa, sounds appealing to me. The fondness of my memories as well as things that I see flawed in myself currently would lend to that inclination.

Yet, I know that I’m different now. Not only different from December 2009 just before I moved to Tanzania, but markedly different from the six months that I spent in CA at the start of last year. Who has God made me to be through Moshi and through the treasures? How does that translate to whatever this new season of life looks like – walking similar lands with a new outlook and a new family?

It’s exciting to find out what this season is going to look like and how God wants to use us for His glory and purpose. As we step out, there is a line that we are to walk on. The line of His will for us that says to remain in Him, to walk humbly and abide in the vine no matter what.

So much of life comes back to identity for me. My being craves a title. I feel inclined to say I’m this or I’m that, I’m a missionary, I’m a children’s pastor, I’m a worship leader, I’m a teacher, I’m a whatever. That shifting sand is not who I am though. I’m a beloved child of God, I am the bride of Christ, I am a Holy Spirit indwelled disciple. Where I am or what I’m doing doesn’t change that. Nothing changes that, no matter what society tells us, no matter what we tell ourselves.

Author: Brandon Stiver

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, living and working in Moshi, Tanzania. My wife is named Melissa and we have three children: Moses, Promise and Shepherd. We are directors over an orphan care ministry called Kingdom Families; advocating for the needs of orphans and vulnerable children and assisting families to welcome them into their homes as sons and daughters.

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