After landing in Nepal and driving to Bihar, India, I realized that I am quite naive to the quality of living and needs around the world. I recognized a day or two into our trip that the hardship and despair I saw in India was reality for those people; they were not just putting on a show for me, the visiting American. I know that sounds ridiculous, but for a while, I think I was seeing the whole thing as if watching a movie - nothing seemed real. I think I had convinced myself that life couldn't be as bad as people make it look on TV. But I soon began to see that for many many people in the world, life is nothing like the ease and comfort I've become familiar with. Seeing the desperate situations many of the people in India endured made me realize how much I had been leaning on the world to provide my sense of comfort and sense of self.
Also, God showed me that my identity can not be found in the things of this world or the praise of men. This didn't necessarily come from any one experience or sight, but just something that God spoke quietly into my heart over the time we were there. Over the past year I have been struggling to find my “place” as a mom. I have felt the need to be more than what I am – to try to make a name for myself somehow. But I realized that making a name for myself outside of where God has placed me is selfish, arrogant, and destructive. It only brings me to a place of discontentment with God. This doesn't mean I'm never allowed to do things where people praise me, but that I can't do it for the sake of their praise.
This was a hard lesson for me, but something that I really needed to hear! I came home with a whole new outlook on my job as a mom. I still am not perfect, but I have found myself enjoying my kids and my responsibilities again! I am so thankful that God didn't allow me to continue seeking my own glory over His.