The breeze ambled down the dusty street, breathing cool in our faces.

It felt like the pockets of cool mountain air that used to pop my face in Birmingham when we’d go cycling in the summer, the days it felt like we’d passed through a hot Southern kitchen with the freezer left open.

I never expected that in the desert. Even at dusk.

I love this time of day here.

The city’s sandy white buildings glow rosy at sunset, like the sun in its haste to get out of this part of the world spilt a glass of pink lemonade right over the top of them.

“I love not having to walk this road alone anymore.”

Abi made the comment as she and I ambled down the empty road toward home, casually dodging the occasional cat or garbage dumpster, or cat jumping out of a garbage dumpster.

It’s true.

It’s a totally different walk when you’re alone.

Your eyes take in less of the sunset, less of the fruit stands and the children playing and more of the honking cars, the men loitering around. More of how the eyes are all staring at you. More of how little you blend in. More of how the darkness is falling quickly.

But with a buddy, you can drag your feet a little in the dust and let the sunset wash over you while you stroll home, laughing at how you almost just got hit by that kid’s soccer ball or that erratic taxi, or how you bet that family would let you come to their really loud dinner party if you just knocked on the door. Five dollars says they would. I’m sure of it.

And suddenly … we’re home.

The keys clank in the double doors, and I smile just thinking about my living situation. I have a great flat. I have great flatmates.

And temporarily I have a broken bed.

Abi rolls her eyes at me because I like to dramatize the fact that I sleep on a sheetless mattress in the middle of the floor at the moment. It’s only been that way a few days. It’ll be fixed in a few more days. I try to play it up to get sympathy, but it doesn’t work. She knows that the reality is … I could care less about it. I sleep fine anywhere, and I love where I live.

But it’s so temporary. I’ll be moving again soon. What I do over here on this side of the world has a transient nature to it – a lot of changing plans, a lot of moving. The sheetless mattress mirrors my heart a little. Why put on the sheets when you don’t think you’ll be there very long?

Most days I don’t think too much about how transient and unpredictable life is at the moment, but today as I sit on the edge of the mattress, a wave of emotion rushes over me. A wave of anxiety about not knowing where I’ll be … again. About not knowing how long I’ll be there … again.

A desire for something even mildly permanent.

Looking forward, my eyes drown in the details of the coming months. Where will I live and work? When? For how long? Who with? Will all my stuff ever be all in one country again? All the questions loom big, loud, uncertain and unpredictable, like I’m doing reconnaissance as I walk alone, trying to anticipate what could be lurking a few steps up the road.

And the Father whispers again … “You’re not alone.”

He’s right.

I’m not alone.

So why do I walk like I am? Why do I walk like He’s left me by myself to hyper-focus on things, panic occasionally and bolt through the uncertain bits like I’m a contestant on “Wipeout”?

He’s not left me yet. He’s good. He’s loving toward me. He’s always seen the soccer balls and the taxis coming, and He’s planned the sunsets and their beauty.

So, I remind myself, just let those sunsets wash over you.


“He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

Walk slowly, for crying out loud, Grace. Enjoy each night on the bare mattress in this country. Don’t worry about where you’ll lay your head next.

Wherever it is, He’s there.

23 Responses

  1. You are writing the story of my life. I have been living in Zimbabwe for the last 2 and a half years waiting for a visa to stay. In June I was told I had 3 days to leave and that I had to be outside of the country while they decided on my visa. I am still waiting and am now in a temporary teaching position in Mozambique while I wait for next steps. I end here in December and do not have a next step or a back up plan. I am hoping and praying for Zimbabwe to be where He leads me but I just have to trust in the unknown and make every moment as beautiful as possible! Thanks for your posts they are really encouraging!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing, Grace. Everything you post is so encouraging to me, particularly because I feel that God is calling me on a similar journey to what seems to be yours. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who lies awake at night and begs God to speak louder to me, for Him to bring peace to my thoughts and not let me muddy the waters of His clear plan for my life with all of my earthly worries. Reading your blog posts is comforting, because you are so clearly following after Him, through the valleys and over the mountains. Thanks for being raw and real.

  3. My dear Grace, I don’t know how long it has been since I have seen you! I have such fond memories of you playing at my home. I think of you so often. Even when I didn’t know your circumstances years ago; the Lord would lay you on my heart every morning when I put my lipstick on! He does every morning still! I love you and my love grows with every prayer.
    A friend as just lead me to find your Blog and you write beautifully. I am so very glad you know Who it is that is inside you to carry you thru anything and everything! I pray the Lord continue to bring you to my mind every morning.
    One of the fondest memories I have was when you two were about 7 or 8 years old. You were at our home playing with Adair which was common, and you asked for a large bowl. Not knowing why I got you a large stainless mixing bowl and handed it to you. You always had the greatest imagination for different games to play and things to do, so I watched from a distance. You took the bowl to the side of Cypress Creek; which was dried up at the time; and you placed the bowl on the top side of the bank and sat your little bottom inside of it. You then lifted your feet and began to slide off toward the bottom of the creek! I ran over to see and their you were picking the bowl up and heading back up the bank. I went into the house and brought out another bowl so the two of you were sliding and laughing for hours. I still have those banged up bowls Grace, and when I use them I think of this moment in time that is forever etched into my memory. Thank you for being such a wonderful part of our lives.
    Continue looking to the One who lives inside your Temple – “His Body House” – of which He Promises to never move out of!😊 I adore you!

  4. I enjoyed reading your story so much. You made me feel like I was there walking with you. What an inspiration your are giving all the talents God has given you back to God.

  5. Thank you, Grace, for another encouraging, and grounding message. No matter where we are, He is there. He doesn’t change. We do, our situations do, our friends and family do, our jobs and homes do, but Jesus: never! What a comforting thought. Our one constant, our solid Rock, our precious Savior is never far away. I love how Jeremiah 29:11 ends in the KJV: to give us “an expected end.” Our path and temporary destinations in this life may not always be what we expect, but they never come as a surprise to our Great God. He has planned it all and will lead and guide us through it.

    My prayers and thoughts are with you. God bless you, sweet sister!

    In Him,

  6. there will be sheets on your bed in heaven. and on my sofa when you come back and visit me! love you!

  7. NO matter how secure or permanent we feel in the most familiar places, we are all just sojourners and on temporary status here

  8. I just love you. I love the way you write and hearing your perspective. It’s encouraging. :)

    I am thankful Father has you here for this season, and I will make sure you put sheets on your bed.


    1. Thanks, friend. Good thing you’re there to make me … else who knows how long the standoff would last. :) I’m grateful for our season in the desert!

  9. Oh! Once again I am in awe of your writing talents. I think of you every morning, and now that I know about the mattress I’ll think of you as I go to bed each night. You are certainly a blessing in my life. Becky

  10. Hi Grace,
    I came across one of your writings months ago. I enjoy reading your posts. You are so right God has not forgotten about you. I am not exactly sure what your situation is however I understand the not knowing what is to come or how to pay the next bill. I have been reminder recently that HE will provide, that the birds of the sky have a place to rest and the fields are dressed in flowers, He who loves you will not let you go without the things that you need. Sometimes I wonder if He lets us stress and worry about things so that we will rely on Him more..
    God Bless

  11. An earlier part of that verse is “He ‘makes’ me lie down in green pastures.”
    Why? Because we so often don’t lie and rest on our own – whether our mattress has sheets or not.
    Thank you for your writing.


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