Today, someone sent me a message that simply asked…
“How can I pray for you?”
I cannot tell you what it meant. I cannot tell you how long it has been since someone asked me that simple question!
You know what it did? It gave me PERMISSION to be honest…
…honest with my friend…
…and honest with myself!
You see, I’m struggling right now.
As much as we feel so blessed to be where we are and doing what we are doing, third world living is HARD! It definitely takes lots of adjusting to not have the modern conveniences that I have had for 40+ years, to adjusting to heat with no air conditioning, to not having clean drinking water flowing freely from the tap, etc., etc., etc…
Even though those things are tough, the things that I am struggling with are:
1) Loss of freedom– When we lived in the states, and I needed some “me time”, I simply jumped into my car and drove away. I could get a pedicure…or go to the gym…or grab coffee with a friend. The closest real city is a minimum of an hour away. We have a car but I don’t feel safe enough to drive in the Capital yet. If you have ever visited here (or any other 3rd world country), then you understand. So, “meeting a friend for coffee” requires much planning and possibly numerous means of transportation.
2) Missing my female support system– As a mom, everyone in the family tends to “dump” on you. God created women to be the nurturer. Whenever Mo, Lauren, or Lexie are struggling or having a bad day, I feel it or hear about it. I love that my husband and daughters feel safe enough to come to me, and I wouldn’t change that for ANYTHING in the world. However, in the states, I had a place to “dump”. I could meet with girlfriends and chat about the struggles of womanhood…or call them on the phone without it costing a million and one dollars! Just as humor does not translate well, neither does trying to explain emotions. Plus, I would just sound like a spoiled, first world crybaby. My friends in the village have plenty to complain about but they don’t! They are made of so much more toughness than I am!!!
3) Missing being spiritually fed– Luckily, our church in the states has their sermons broadcast live…and saved for future viewing. Nevertheless, it’s not the same. I understand more clearly the verse in Mathew 18:20:
For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.
I do feel His presence when I am worshipping in my church in the states with my church family. As a missionary on the field, my relationship with Christ is much more intentional and purposeful than it was before. It is more important than ever to spend that time with Him…even when I am struggling to hear His voice.
Before we moved here, I read everything that I could find about missionaries. Every single thing that I read kept talking about taking time away from your community to recharge…every month! That sounds easy enough right. Wrong! As a missionary, you don’t have extra money to get away every month.
However, when we wait too long to get away, we are less effective to the ones that we serve.
We waited wayyyyyy too long this time. We were burned out, irritable, snappy with one another and others, etc. Basically, we weren’t much fun to be around.
We are lucky to live within a 3.5 hour drive to our missionary friends that live near the beach in Cabrera! This past week, we took 3 days and relaxed with our friends. We soaked up rays, played in the surf, got sand between our toes, and filled each other with love and support! They understand the struggles that we have…because they have them too!
Before this weekend, I no longer recognized me. I had been replaced with a bitter, angry, unloving person that forgot how to laugh. I missed me!
I am not 100% back to who I was…
…maybe I will never be that person again…
…maybe that is not who God created me to be….
…but, with one weekend with good friends…
…and one simple question…
…I am able to be honest and am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
If you get nothing else from this post, please remember this simple question:
“How can I pray for you?”
This may allow the recipient to take a deep breath and be honest…
For reals…How can I pray for you?