Standing still for a few minutes… trying to read the signs in my life.
Not able to read them all… it’s like they’re in a foreign language sometimes. “What’s happening in me? What’s the Lord up to?” Not able to understand it, but making some progress. Seeing new things…
Had a rather rocky road last week…
(That’s the rocky road that I live on.)
Have tried to find a way to craft language in such a way that I’m being authentic, but at the same time I don’t want to complain. Struggling to find that language… here’s my attempt to be transparent. Thoughts and feelings from last week…
Here’s what we’ve been wrestling with. I’ve been sick. I had a few days with a fever off and on. It was very strange to be shivering here… very strange. If you know me, you know that I love to eat. I’m embarrassed to say that when I order at a restaurant I often pick my option based on the size of the meal. Well, I have not had any kind of appetite. I still can’t eat much of anything. My head throbbed almost all week. My bones ache and my body is so fatigued. The most frustrating part is that I’m completely covered in several different types of rashes. Literally, they cover my body from the tops of my feet all the way up to my chest. I’ve researched rashes extensively online. I even viewed dozens of images to compare… all that did was cause me to throw up a little in my mouth and be haunted by images I can’t erase from my mind. At this time we do not have any type of health care. Found out later that I had Dengue Fever… I was very fortunate not to have the worse strand of this dangerous sickness.
My sweet bride has been plagued with skin rashes the whole time that she’s been here as well. We can’t seem to determine if it’s heat, fungus, insects, plant or something else. Poor Kelly has struggled to get much sleep because of the itchiness she’s enduring.
The sky and trees / flora are amazing. The people are wonderful! We really do love this country and the people, but Kelly and I agree that we would not have signed up for this if we had known how hard it would be. We think that’s why the Lord kept us from knowing because He does want us here. The heat is quite brutal. Unfortunately, even with our new ceiling fans, the inside of our home is often hotter than outside the house. We’re unable to open the windows during the evenings because bugs get through the screens and bite.
Missing friends and family is extremely painful.
I have been surprised by how busy we are on a regular basis here. I’m a little concerned how in the world we’re going to add the kids’ school on top of our already full pace.
It may sound strange, but feeling like I’m not being productive (at least in what felt like my “old” normal way) is excruciating. I’m sure a part of my identity was tied to my work. I know it’s not the true source of my identity, but it’s a cultural mindset from the US that’s hard to break. Right now my purpose is to learn (culture, language, how to live), but it is so difficult feeling like I’m not “making more of a difference” in some way.
Yes, we have seized dozens of opportunities… to visit with people, have them in our home, pray for them, tell them about Jesus. We are building relationships. I am very grateful for all of the new relationships we already have here. You wouldn’t believe the kindness of the people we’ve met! It’s extremely humbling. It just feels so hard that this transition season is going to be so long.
In the midst of it all, the Lord has been gently and lovingly offering me encouragement. If you knew me any time before the last year or two, I have often been described (or even marked) by the word, “Steady.” I know, it sounds too similar to “boring.” Well, something changed in me. Passion and vision now flow rampantly through me now! I love it, but the Lord is graciously reminding me that now is a season for steady. There is much value in staying the course. Perseverance is a valuable (and desperately needed) trait in my current situation. He’s been tenderly inviting me to steadfastness.
The Lord has also flooded my mind with such lengthy lists of all the incredible people that I have in my life. Truly, He has consistently poured out His favor on me my entire life. When I simply pause to look at it, I’m blown away. Grateful that He’s drawing my eyes in that direction. Learning that practicing gratitude is the best weapon against grumbling.
One thing I say often when teaching or counseling is, “What’s your plan? Have a plan before you get into the situation.” I’ve learned through making mistakes that I make better plans before I get into something than when I’m acting in a reactionary manner in the midst of them. For example, the number of things that have broken in my house in the last 2 months is quite impressive.
You wouldn’t believe it if I told you.
I thought I would make a list, but I’ve noticed that when I make that list, a few unhealthy things happen.
- I find myself wallowing in my own misery
- My expectations become to look for more things that disappoint me (rather than looking for all the good that the Lord is doing)
- I can literally feel the discontent growing inside of me
I’m not saying to ignore the disappointment. I’ve learned (again through doing things the wrong way) that the healthiest thing we can do is to feel the appropriate feelings. But, then what do we do with it? Seize it as an opportunity.
(Am I looking for the bugs? Am I looking at the branches… or am I noticing all of the fruit of the Lord’s doing?)
The Lord is inviting me to put my plan into action. My plan is to be real about what I’m feeling, but to “try” to remember the goodness of the Lord. It is visible everywhere. I just find myself forgetting that when I look at my skin. I am certain that we will acclimatize. I have no doubts that the Lord is with us and for us. Going to stick with the plan. The Lord is good. Remembering and looking for what the Spirit is doing. He is active all the time. Much love to you and yours.
I’m gonna keep climbing to new heights… I know there’s going to be good fruit.