Please don't mistake the year of blog silence for "life has fallen into a predictable routine". The only thing that is predictable here on the mission field is that nothing is.
And being a woman on the mission field, I have found, brings a unique type of challenge. We are so relational. Plus, they don't sell tampons here but that is a whole other blog post.
Looking back over my older blog posts, I see that I am nothing like her anymore. She was so optimistic. She believed that she could reach even the most distant child's heart. Her faith was stronger than it is at this moment and she wasn't as tired. But she is so much wiser now.
But I suspect this life isn't so different to what it would have been had we not come 8,000 miles from our home land to serve. There would still be family sicknesses, struggles and people we lose physically and emotionally as life moves forward.
The distance magnifies the helplessness but the loneliness compounds everything. The loneliness has always been and will probably always be the strangling part. There have been countless times of feeling like I wanted to implode from having no one to talk through the hurts with.
And as a Follower of Christ, He should always be the One. But there are times when a girl friend with a listening ear, no judgement and lots of "that must be hard" is what my heart wants most. And can not have. A friend guaranteed to spur me on and believe in my crazy ideas. The plans that others would say are too big or too silly to walk in. The things I want to try that are too fragile to share in case they are crushed.
So I suppose when Paul said in Philippians that everything he once held dear he now counts as loss compared to the greatness of knowing HIM, he might have meant things would be like this.
But the OVERWHELMING peace and joy that follow us over here are the warm blanket over the hard days. And now that we have been at this for six years, we have literally raised several of our boys from small street children to amazing young men who, although not given a family by adoption for various reasons, have found a PLACE that is their own. Parents who will walk with them into adulthood, however flawed we are, and pour into them what was missing for those years the street stole.
And God has drawn our oldest son, Aaron, into the work with us and that has been a great source of joy for me. He has kept our immediate family here healthy, an illness here beyond the norm is a great fear as we just don't have the access (or insurance) we once did.
If you asked me "if you knew then what you know now, would you still have come?" the answer would be, I would have come SOONER. I would have RACED headlong into the distance and loneliness and other trials I have walked here. I would not trade a moment of this life for the comfort of my old one. I would not miss a second of holding broken boys while they grieve in exchange for an ounce of additional "me time". Because THIS IS LIVING for me. It is not the calling on everyone's life (and I am thankful for that because so many of you are needed to stay where you are, serve in your workplace and family and be our champions from afar).
So, to my precious friend who is on her way over here, family in tow, ready to tackle the crisis of fatherlessness with wide-eyed optimism. . . hurry!!
This life will not be easy. But I expect you know this. The enemy will come at your both guns blazing in a firestorm of discouragement in hopes of sending you away defeated. So cling to the cross!
The pain of the mission field brings the goodness of God into clarity. The successes in ministry remind you that it is all HIM because we are more frail and less competent than we care to admit.
"Superwoman" is a myth. On the field and off.