Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Broken missionary


This is hard. Bear with me. I’m trying to articulate, to force down into words the past few years, the events that have me now sitting here in Michigan, still reeling a bit, still trying to process. But even months later some of this stuff is still hard to talk about. Not events specifically. Just the accumulation.  The heaviness from swallowing days, months, years of sadness, anger and depression, suppressing feelings of powerlessness, frustration and emptiness because they hurt too much to process.  Because I was afraid that feeling them meant I didn’t really trust God.  Or maybe eventually I wasn’t trusting His sovereignty. Or worse, His goodness.
In the past months I’ve been given words for some of it, which help a little. Compassion fatigue, burnout, even clinical depression. Which initially made me angry. Angry at God. I was doing HIS work, how did he let this happen?!?  Angry at myself. If I have faith, how did I let this happen?!?  But the definitions gave me a place to start in recovering, even forced me to admit that I needed recovery.
Some of the biggest challenges: How do I explain how my faith was pushed to the breaking point?  How does one advocate for themselves when they are hurting so badly they can’t even recognize what they need?  How to learn again to be content in all circumstances? To deal with shame and guilt. To reconcile the cognitive dissonance between what I know to be true but what feels true.
So, I’m just asking for more grace, more time.  I’m still pretty wrecked. But at least I’m acknowledging it now.  I’m going back through the past two year’s posts that I wrote and never shared. Some of it is still not for sharing. But maybe some of it will get posted. We’ll see.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Community

(Oct 22, 2018)
This blog nailed it for me.  I've been searching for, hurting for, longing for community since day one back on US soil.
why-expats-love-community-and-struggle-to-find-it-again

Sabbath Rest

(Oct 20, 2017)
At the Obule youth conference I spent some time teaching about Sabbath rest. I feel like I need to write about it again because it seems like a big lesson God is trying to teach me.  I mostly write here to process and occasionally I post it for you to read.  I hope this one helps you and proved easier for you swallow, and more importantly do more than just change your thinking, than it was for me.

Sabbath isn't a formula. It isn't a list of does/ don'ts. It is a relationship.  It is the creation of a sanctuary in time to be with God. It is the pushing back the noise of the world in order to better hear God.
It is a gift. The gift of rest to restless people. If we look at the traditional Jewish sabbath.....
Sabbath, is a time to remember and observe and celebrate and anticipate. Remembering God's deliverance. Celebrating Jesus' work on the cross. Anticipating someday having full Sabbath rest in heaven. Looking at these things that God alone can do.  But in addition to those it reminds us of who we are in perspective to God. God did rest. He did not have to. But we do. So God led the way. He stopped, rested and invited us to do the same. Sabbath rest is imitating God's own rest in order that we might become more like God while yet seeing that we are not God. 

At the conference I asked the kids to try to describe to me the difference between noise and music. Considering kids in Soroti see and do this on a regular basis, they understand, possibly better than I,  the key rhythm plays.  Rhythm is knowing when to be on, and when to be off. When to make noise and when to be still. God gave us an innate desire for rhythm. Both in music and the rest of life. six day on, one off. Six on, one off. Or rather, one off, six on. One off, six on.

But is begins to feel like a burden laid on us.  We begin to see it as a day stolen from us rather than a gift we are blessed with!

Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop. We do not stop because we are finished. We do not stop because we have completed our phone calls, finished our project, gotten through this stack of messages or sent this report that is due tomorrow. We stop because it is time to stop....Sabbath liberates us from the need to be finished. Sabbath says: "Stop now." - Wayne Muller

Hold fast

(Oct 19, 2017)
Where to begin..... I head back to Uganda in 7 days. Really feeling the pressure today of things that "have to" get done. Yet, just still trying to do one day at a time. Not demanding to know what the future holds. Just trusting God. Learning to lean into Him in a different way. I want to write about "my plan" for the coming weeks and months. But the truth is I just don't know what they will look like. I need to be done in Soroti, but just for a while or indefinitely?  What does that mean the next few weeks will hold? What do I tell you my faithful supporters? How do I serve God well in this season?
Maybe that is where I wanted to start this post, I feel sad, bewildered and insecure. 
So I'm just hanging on to the truths that God does his best work in the dark, in our weakness.  And I know He has reminded me over and over lately that I'm anchored firmly in Him. No matter which country, what job description, even in this time that feels a bit dark and stormy. 
Image result for anchor
I'll finish with this quote from John Piper: "What Christ bought for us when he died was not the freedom from having to hold fast but the enabling power to hold fast. What he bought was not the nullification of our wills as though we didn't have to hold fast, but the empowering of our wills because we want to hold fast. What he bought was not the canceling of the commandment to hold fast but the fulfillment of the commandment to hold fast."




A song that is speaking to me: He will hold me fast

Eggs

(July 10, 2017) I've been struggling with this mental picture of my work in Uganda. Like I have this handful of eggs. My job is to keep the eggs.  I put some more eggs in my hands. Too many to hold. And I started to fumble them. Some got broken and I feel really bad. And God also added some eggs. More got broken. I feel weary and overwhelmed trying to keep from dropping these eggs. And they just keep breaking. I got to the point where I said "I just can't do it anymore! God, aren't you watching?  Your eggs are breaking!  I thought you were going to help me with this! These are your eggs right?! Don't you care?!" And now I'm sitting here crying and wondering what I did wrong. I want to be an egg holder but am not sure how anymore.  I hate all the broken eggs, the times I could have done better. And God looks at me and says "But I wanted an omelet." Part of my problem is I'm trying to hold eggs alone. I need a team. Part of it is expectations I place on myself. No one never breaks eggs. And not only can God use broken eggs. He wants them broken sometimes.

This feels like a deep valley. Not as dark as three weeks ago. I think I can see the sky. But I'm still not clear of the way out. I want to make a plan. To try to start climbing. But I've been told to just sit in the valley for awhile. And part of me is saying What about the eggs?  I'm an egg holder, it is my job. And another part of me is saying I actually don't even like eggs. Maybe it is time to hold something else for awhile.

I know God uses dark places. I've been reminded of that a lot lately. So just bear with me. God is doing some work.


Sitting in Mbarara with a truck that won't run.....

(Jan, 13, 2017)
Where to begin this morning?  So many thoughts and frustrations and nearly overwhelming feelings running around in my head. Sitting in Mbarara with a truck that won't run.....

Right now I'm resonating with "Even if" by MercyMe
Right now I just can't...... What will I say if I'm held to the flame like I am right now?  I know you are able but sometimes you don't.  Give me the strength to stand.... I know the sorrow and pain would just go away if you just said the word....

And "Stay"  by BigDaddyWeave
Give me what it takes to stay. Break my heart with what breaks yours until you're all I'm living for. Show me what it takes not just to believe but to stay.