>I realized the other day, as I put on my pearl stud earrings for the seventh day in a row, that I have been wearing these little pearls a whole lot since I arrived here. Exclusively actually. This may not appear strange for those who know me, for I was known to wear pearls often and with every outfit possible (my roommate in college used to-still does- make fun of me for not changing my pearl earrings when we dressed to go the gym, “pearls with a t-shirt? Sue, seriously?”) back home in the states. But in the two month before leaving the country I hadn’t worn them once. Not once. I threw them in the jewelry bag as an afterthought. I mean who wears pearls in Africa? I had carefully packed my dangly, funky earrings that would match the brightly colored dresses and coverings I would wear here. I put the pearls on for the long flight over, and somehow, just never took them off in the days that followed. Each morning as we prepared for the day, the sisters with me would put on their fun, funky earrings and offer me a choice from their vast selection. Yet each morning, I would put back in the little white pearls from home.
And then it hit me. Everything in my life right now is unsettled and unfamiliar. The foreign country I now call my home is still very foreign to me in almost every way. The food, the water, the housing, the weather, the language—all new. All of my clothes were strange and different from what I would wear daily at home. So I hold on to the familiar—to the one thing I can control. Each morning I put on this little part of who I used to be: Clean. Sweet. Classy. Put together. In control of my situation. All things which I no longer feel I can possibly be- at least not yet (well the clean thing is questionable for the duration of our time here).
I cling to the familiar- we all do I suppose. When everything around us is uncertain, we hold on to the things we know. In the days since the pearl revelation I have seen that there are other things to hold on to as well: the loyalty and love between my two sister friends and I (despite, uh, less than perfect situations, our conversations grown sweeter and funnier- maybe it’s the heat), the love and thoughts of my family pr for me at home-and writing daily to tell me they love me and haven’t forgotten me, and friends whose wise words for me come always at the exact right time.
Yet the one thing that is certain- even more than these- is that you, L, are faithful, and you, L, are true. You do not shift like shadows—Your promises are the same yesterday, today, and in the days to come.
He will be faithful. He will provide for my needs—ALL of my needs. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He will finish this work he’s started in me. He started it, he maintains it, he will finish it. All of it. He will be my strength when I am so weak I cannot stand any longer. He will be my voice when I have no words. He will lead me. He will guide me. He will fight this battle for me- for it is his battle, not mine, anyway. And he will win. Every single time. He will lead me by his mighty right hand besides still waters. He will lift my head, he will be my joy, he will be my hope. He will be my security- my strong tower that I can run into and be saved. He will hide me in the cleft of the rock, and renew my spirit. He will create a clean heart in me- as I die to myself every day. He is my true love, and I will love him most, best, and first. I am his beloved and he will love me unconditionally, consistently for all the days of my life.
There may come a day (will come a day- I loose everything !) when I loose the back on one of my pearl studs, or loose one all together and I will need to put them away for a season. And when that day comes, even thenJ, I can rest in the absolute certainty that he will be faithful and true. And that will be enough. More than enough.