Summer was just beginning in Kosovo when two pink lines appeared on the flimsy pregnancy test. Our neighborhood pharmacist assured my husband and me that this tiny piece of paper was, in fact, accurate. We were going to be parents.

We were already planning to leave Kosovo a few weeks after I took the infamous test; we just hadn’t decided where to live next. For the last five months, I’ve carried this baby across America, Macedonia, Turkey, Spain, and France, looking for a place to call home.

Traveling as an expectant parent, I’ve been on high alert, closely observing each culture and wondering how my child would fare within it.

In Kosovo, I watched strangers pinch the cheeks of every baby in sight. In southern France, I was awed by mothers’ nonchalance with scorpions. In each place, I listened to what people were teaching their children about God and all the local bents. Some cultures emphasized sin, others grace. Some revered God’s holiness, while others focused on Jesus as their personal friend. Theology wasn’t better or worse anywhere, just different.

As I thought of my baby’s future in each nation, I was encouraged by one simple observation: everywhere we went, people believed that God saw them and cared about the details of their lives. People who had never met each other, and probably weren’t reading the same theology books, still had that one conviction in common. Sometimes, by the power of the spirit, they even phrased it the same way. How incredible that in this world of local quirks and conflicts, God makes his loving gaze felt in every corner of it. No matter where we settle, we are always in his sight.

In Psalm 139, David writes that God saw him as he was being formed inside his mother, and that even as he sailed across the sea, those same eyes remained on him. Never have these words resonated so deeply as they do now, with this well-traveled baby kicking inside me.

Elizabeth Steere
is a writer and missionary, most recently working in Kosovo and Southern France. She loves cooking, traveling, empowering women, and seeing the upside-down Kingdom of God come to earth.