My Grandma came to say goodbye to me! ...mostly because she's convinced that Africa is going to kill me.

I hate the sound goodbye makes.

And really, you’d think by now, I’d be used to it. Let’s remember that I wasn’t even supposed to fly home for another six months when my doctor told me I needed to fly back to Raleigh. That two month hiatus in the US was forced bonus time with friends and family-and I really wanted to be back in Dakar.


But after I hugged Kellan goodbye at my gate and turned away to walk onto the plane, I froze on the jetway and tears sprang to my reluctant eyes. Much to the amusement, I might add, of the neon green vested security officer that couldn’t quite make out what to do with the pitiful basket-case who was suddenly telling him her life story as rivers of mascara ran down her face.

It’s the thing I’m not supposed to say, but it was hard to actually walk down the jetway and onto that plane. Hard to walk away from a life that I really, really love in North Carolina-and towards the foreign, uncomfortable life that was waiting in Senegal. Even if Senegal is where I’m supposed to be.

Saying goodbye to my parents at the airport.

Make no mistake-I adore the women that I work with, and my team…well, that one’s a given. :) But there is no piece of life in Dakar that is easy or comfortable.

And that’s okay. It’s okay because two years ago when I first landed in Dakar and in an absolute panic wondered what on earth I’d done, God started teaching me that He’s better than all of the things that I miss back home. He’s not only better-He’s enough. Joy is only found in knowing Jesus-I have been perfectly loved, and my life ought to be a response to that. Love is, at its core, the costly effort to enthrall the beloved with what will bring him most joy-namely God Himself. [Piper.] Jesus did it for me, now I very

Taking Em out to coffee one last time the day before I left.

tangibly get to love Muslim women in a way that “costs” me something. Not a lot by any stretch of the imagination, but something.

And this uncomfortable grace has taken me where I had not intended to go in order to produce in me what I could not produce in myself-a heart that is slowly beginning to value the Giver more than His gifts.

When God calls, there are no regrets.

Kellan and I at the airport.

 I am not called to a place-I am called to Jesus. I am not called to comfort-I am called to obedience. There really is no joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving Him-of that much, I am entirely convinced! But it’s something I have to remind myself of time and time again.

I only have 103 days left in Dakar. I feel like God is asking me to “leave it all on the court” over the course of these next brief months-and to love the women around me in the reckless, uncomfortable, irrational way that I have been first loved. Jesus held absolutely nothing back in loving and pursuing me-the way that I interact with people around me should be no different.

Come to think of it, if I’m not uncomfortable, something’s probably wrong…


  1. Hear. Hear. I have the hardest time explaining to people that I don’t have to LOVE the place I live. If I do, awesome. I don’t have to LOVE everything about my life. I have to love Jesus. And be obedient to what he has called me to do. Nothing more. Nothing less. I think that people assume that because God has called you to go somewhere, you LOVE everything about it. But come one…eating weird stuff, getting illnesses that ARE caused by where/how you live, missing everything about American culture and the ease in which its citizens operate….we’re not super human! Thanks for agreeing with me…

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  3. Veronica Greear says:

    ohhhh, dang girl, i am wiping tears and sniffling. very hard things to get me to do indeed. THIS, my friend, is God speaking through you. Thanks for it.

  4. Marissa-I know it isn’t fair, but I’ve loved that we’ve been in the same boat for the past two years! ;) So excited about your adoption by the way-what an adorable little boy. :)


    Veronica-Thank you. :) I really miss you guys! Kid you not-while doing my physical therapy the other day, I started daydreaming about all of that bacon we ate the night I came over. I’m fairly certain that’s why it took me twice as long to get through it…;)

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