How I dealt with homesickness

I still remember my excitement. I had just been accepted into, and received my documentation for, a boarding school in America. But I was so afraid of being homesick. 

I had already been attending a boarding school in Kenya, my home country, for almost a year and had experienced quite a lot of homesickness—so much so that my school had occasionally allowed me to go home on the weekends. And now here I was, about to move thousands of miles away, without the comfort of my parents or even the option to go home.

My concerns about homesickness bothered me so much that it felt like they were crowding out my joy over attending the new school.

I wanted to assume that I probably wouldn’t get homesick because both of my older siblings were at the same boarding school in America, and neither had had to deal with homesickness. However, they also hadn’t felt homesick when they attended boarding school in Kenya, so this wasn’t exactly reassuring.

My concerns about homesickness bothered me so much that it felt like they were crowding out my joy over attending the new school and being so close to my siblings. But didn’t Jesus promise that joy is ours and can never be taken away? “No one will take away your joy,” he assured us (John 16:22, New International Version). I wanted to feel this joy that’s powerful and permanent because it comes from God. But how? 

My parents had always supported me in my struggles with homesickness, but I saw that it was now up to me to understand more deeply for myself “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38–39). Knowing that I could never be separated from God, divine Love, or ever be lonely when Love is expressing itself everywhere, helped me find peace and finally feel excited about attending my new school.

When the day came to leave home, a friend and I bid our friends and family goodbye and headed off to our flight. I realized this was an opportunity to be very disciplined about the thoughts I was entertaining, because I could feel a little fear of homesickness trying to creep in. But fearful, worried thoughts don’t come from God, because God is good, so I really could dismiss any thought that wasn’t good. If the thought didn’t come from Love, it wasn’t true and had no power to determine how I was feeling or what I experienced.

Love really was there—no matter where I was or who I was with. 

It was a long trip, but we finally made it. It was wonderful to see my brother and sister, and I made friends in no time. But deeper than all this was the feeling that Love really was there—no matter where I was or who I was with. 

I have been at boarding school in America for over a year now, and I feel comfortable, happy, and completely free from homesickness. Thank you, God. 

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