Being away from home at times is not easy especially during the holidays. Don’t get me wrong the ship is a great place but there is something special about being around people that really truly know you. Today is my third Christmas away from home and I am happy to say that God has really blessed me with an understanding of not only family but Christmas as well.
My first Christmas away from home was by far the hardest but also one of the best. God was so good during this time and showed me just how much he loved me and also the true meaning of this day that we celebrate the birth of his holy son coming from heaven to earth for me. This realization of Gods love was so intimate and deep that for that first Christmas away it was better than any family member or present ever could have satisfied. Sorry Mom!
Then last year Christmas was also very special. I had been away from my family for about a year and also had been away from my ship family for about 4 months. I was more or less on my own and dealing with some hard things but also learning a ton along the way. Then by Gods special grace and by a sister and brothers’ love and care for me, Annie and Greg flew all the way over to Ghana to spend Christmas with me. The joy and peace that I felt seeing them walk into the Accra airport was a feeling I will never forget. These two people are ones that I am humbled by as they love and give with no desire for anything in return. Thanks guys for an amazing Christmas!!
So now I am at my third Christmas away from home. But this time I have my husband to spend it with (woo woo). How cool to know that this is our first Christmas of many as the Kulah family. We are now trying to mix our family and cultural traditions and are thanking God for all his amazing blessings and faithfulness to us both that brought us to this Christmas day together as husband and wife.
So yes there are things that I will miss: my crazy/awesome family and friends back home, snow, Christmas movies and songs, Christmas eve service at my church, stockings, etc but the blessings that I have received in return are of no match.
Recently my family and two friends came to Sierra Leone to celebrate Greg and my wedding. While here they were all so touched by the ship and the special place that it was. One person remarked, “I feel like the ship is a glimpse of a small piece of what heaven might be like.” After the wedding finished I kept hearing story after story about all the crew who pitched in to help us on our special day. Greg and I were overwhelmed by everyone’s love and support of us. And this is when I realized that these coworkers, roommates, and friends had become family. Sadly it wasn’t until this moment that the scales fell off my eyes to see this forever family.
1 Corinthians 13:12~ We don’t see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly as he knows us.
The love and support that I have received from friends and family at home, friends and family on the ship, and friends and family around the world is mind-blowing. God has shown me over these few years away that my family is all around. My eternal family is all around.
May God bless you all this season and may you thank him for his sacrifice and love for you by sending his son down to this earth. Thank you all for your love and the family that you are to me.
Family to me means grace, mercy, and love
This family I talk about was formed from above
My family expands each and every day
I love them all more than words can say
The sisters and brothers that I have met
Show a love for me that I will never forget
Each country we go to more family are there
Waiting with hope for all the fellowship we’ll share
This family consists of black, white, young and old
From all different nations, pennies and gold
My heart at times is sad from all the goodbyes
But when reading HIS word I know I’ll be fine
This family is something I cannot explain
Same passion and love to spread Jesus name
Working together to end suffering on earth
With mercy and love and all that it’s worth
This family I have is irreplaceable
The Father of whom is indescribable
This family is a glimpse of what is to come
Now seen in part but one day we’ll see the full one