We can’t avoid being affected by the families we marry into or the countries where we live. I’ve always appreciated the view of my late husband: “I choose to take the best of both cultures,” and he did, becoming an Egyptian in America and an American in Egypt. Most people couldn’t figure out exactly where he came from — that’s when his spiritual nature took over.
I was making a sandwich yesterday and began to laugh as I looked at what I’d done. It was a perfect blend of my American and Middle Eastern lives — a peanut butter and jelly on pita sandwich! I can’t help it. I love pita, and though I usually eat it with cheese or zatar or hummus, that day I craved a taste from my childhood.
When I look at my boys, they are that mix in action, taking after their dad and mom in such a crazy variety of ways. Fish out of water and chameleons all at the same time.
Variety is the spice of life for sure, and I’m grateful that I’ve been able to taste the water of the Nile and the Tennessee River, both which need heavy filtration!
What do people see when they look at my life? A woman of the South, a mother, a widow, an anomaly, or a woman of God? Which part of this blended personality shines brightest when I talk to others?
Whatever my makeup, I pray that God will use every part of me to draw others to him. If my Tennessee roots draw their interest, then I will share about how Christ was the center of my Tennessee home. If their intrigued by a life overseas, then I will share the reason I was there in the first place and the amazing things God did. If they’re hurting from loss, then I can tell them of God’s faithfulness through the valley of the shadow of death.
Sound familiar? It should, because I took it from Paul:
To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.*
Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. So, peanut butter and pita? Absolutely, because it gives me a reason to tell you about an amazing God who took a Tennessee girl all the way to Egypt and back and lives to tell the story.
What’s your make up? Are you a blend of unusual backgrounds and personalities? No worries — it’s just God’s way of opening more doors to reach more people.
And we get to share the blessings! How cool is that?!
Grace and peace
*1 Corinthians 9:20-23 (NIV).