Saturday, February 28, 2015

~That Not Uncommon Theme ~

I stumbled across a blog post about stressed out missionaries... and based on the list below, it seems to be a not uncommon theme in these lives we lead.

Tim and I were having a late night talk (it was sometime after 1 a.m. - he surprised me because he usually won't stay up that late to talk least not since we stopped just dating and got married! I should be thankful my smart man values sleep!), and one of his comments was that everyday things here don't necessarily make life harder - they just take longer and you never actually know if you'll be able to get them done.

For example, today, I'm making a potato casserole for dinner - cooking the potatoes first in the crock pot and then tonight will combine with other yummies, top with cheese and bake in the oven before we actually eat it. As I leave the house to head out, I'll be hoping the electricity stays on, or when I get home this afternoon, I'll find well-soaked but still uncooked potatoes. Just that little unknown, or need for flexibility, or... whatever you wants to call it, adds (depending on my mood) adventure or frustration to life.

The other day I drove the kiddos to school. Tim wasn't feeling well, so I threw the little peanut M&M into the car with us, dropped the kids off, got back across the bridge without waiting in traffic too long and started back the main road to home, only to have all traffic stop because the president was traveling in town. Again, that is a very normal occurrence as I usually end up sitting and waiting or the police or the army to open up the roads again 3 or 4 times a week, at least - adding another half hour or 45 minutes to the already fairly full schedule. This time was a little different, however. The army guy who stopped traffic our direction must have been new because my landcruiser, the car right behind me, a couple of motorcyclists and a couple of bicyclists ended up caught in between where traffic was stopped and a military escort (about 15 vehicles) that pulled up behind us... to escort the traveling dignitary. The army guy standing in front was obviously nervous... and there we sat there waiting for 20 minutes, with soldier standing about 20 feet in front of us, his finger on the trigger of his automatic weapon and his gun pointed in the general vicinity of the headlights on the landcruiser. The Nigerien businessman with suit and briefcase sitting/standing on the moto next to me was looking mighty uncomfortable... I couldn't blame him. I was busy trying to keep Mary's head down... just in case, ya know?

I didn't realize how tense I was during that small chunk of time - I was more preoccuppied with chatting with and keeping the little impatient one in the car with me happy. Then the soldier who looked so very on edge walked to the side of the road and finally, waved us on. I relaxed. And felt more than a bit jello-y... kind of like I'd just swam a mile after not having been training for several months. And all of that happened before 8 in the morning.

So, back to that blog post... here's the link (take the time to read this... she doesn't mince words). I've read several other fascinating things about this expat life our family leads as I've traipsed around the internet (internet permitting, of course), thinking about this topic - and here are a few of them:
I read all of this... I know what I feel as I live this life every day... and today, I'm overwhelmed by one thought -

God is amazing!

That He'll take me and limit Himself by working through me, that He'll allow me to represent His name and His reputation to this world? Why? Because He is Who He is. And it isn't because He needs me... but because I need Him.

This life is a stressful life and it goes far above and beyond that with which I can cope on my own. That, in and of itself is a daily reality. So that means so much of what I do, I'm realizing, is Him. So very little of it is me... I'm too busy just trying to survive and He works all in, around and through that, most often in spite of me.

And that makes me thankful... and encourages me to keep on trying to follow step by step, moment by moment, as He leads... and maybe drops stress levels, at least a couple dozen points... long as I keep remembering and clinging to that!

I wrote that a few years ago...

And was reminded of it this morning.

My husband has been gone for two months. 

We've "done" longer separations before. 

It still hasn't gotten any easier. In fact, with the crazy business of four high schoolers (including two drivers in training), one living-at-home-college student (and another relatively new driver) commuting for his first frigid Michigan winter, weather and roads, and a community which I love and treasure but which still doesn't completely feel like "my community..." this just might have been the hardest separation yet.

He arrived home late last night and I realized, once again, just how much stress it is easy to carry in our bodies... and also how we push on and keep doing the next thing... and do not realize just what we're asking of ourselves.

Living in the States, the challenges have been different than while we lived on the backside of a W. African desert.

But life, regardless of where we live, brings challenges, difficulties, stress...

God is good as long as we run to him.

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