My Love-Hate Relationship with Suitcases

By Susan Driscoll

I have a complicated relationship with suitcases.

In our transient lifestyle, luggage literally moves my life back and forth across the ocean. Over the 22-plus years of being missionaries, we have grown to be pretty expert packers, if I may say.
I am thankful for those nifty devices: oversized duffel bags with wheels and 20-pound plastic bins which are our favorites. But when it comes to efficiently packing your life in a few bags I admit I go a bit crazy.
Do I try to pack that last little bit of favorite shampoo or toss it? I hate to waste it as it was expensive. It will take some extra weight but then I will have it handy when I land. Otherwise, I will have to make an overwhelming trip to Wal-Mart and stand staring blankly at the aisle of shampoos. I won’t be able to remember the kind I used to buy when we lived in America. Thus, the Japanese “Lux” shampoo will be counted among the precious cargo. And my hair will be happy not to have to adjust to American life for at least another month.

In the spirit of keeping it real, here is our bedroom this morning … two days before Moving Day.
No curtains, as those are washed and packed. And an old bedspread and sheets that we will toss after the move. Ideally we would stay at one of the mission guest homes not too far from us, but since they were all booked months ago, we will do the really crazy thing and stay two nights in our house after the move. But we will have three restful days at OMF’s guest home in Ichikawa after our last Sunday at church. There we hope to recuperate a little before we board the plane the day after our boys get back from working as camp counselors.
As we look around at the mess, panic starts to set in. We wonder whether we will finish in time and get it all done. Yet this is the day that God has called me to. This is a part of his sanctification process for me.

Yet this is the day that God has called me to. This is a part of his sanctification process for me.

It is difficult and overwhelming and takes me way-way-way out of my comfort zone. It brings me to the end of my resources, where I have to depend again on God to get me through the packing, the decisions, the move, the goodbyes, the mess.
Who knew God would use suitcases and shampoo to chip away a little more at my self-reliance, making me a little more dependent and focused on Jesus, who capably goes before me in all our transitions and travels.
To follow more of Susan’s journey, visit her blog at

Susan Driscoll

Susan, along with her husband Tim, have been serving in Japan as church planters with OMF since 1995.  She enjoys visiting her three sons who are now in college in the States as well as traveling to other part of Asia to help train OMF missionaries. Taking pictures along the way and writing about her family’s nomadic life on her blog have been valuable outlets.  Read more from Susan’s blog at

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