Saturday, September 21, 2013

Chin Up

I am trying to be honest about this missionary journey. It's wonderful and I can't imagine doing anything else. Really. I'm the lucky one. On the no electricity, no running water, can-we-please-not-eat-rice-again-today days, I still feel like I am in the center of God's will. I still can't wrap my brain around going back to the US, getting a job, and being "normal." God didn't make me for that. He made me with an Africa shaped hole in my heart and it is filled perfectly here in this place.

However, there are those days when I just feel pulled in one hundred different directions. I just want time to sit, and think, and be. We are in the outreach phase of the DTS and I have moved to the center for the time being. From the time I open my eyes in the morning until I go to bed at night, I have little people clamoring for my attention, holding me touching me, braiding my hair, and playing in my house. I am trying to be mom to a very head strong 12 year old girl. I am working out the details and finances of buying a car in a foreign country. I am trying to work out the details of what exactly I will be doing next year. I am still trying to learn Portuguese fluently and I am beginning to learn to speak the local language. I am trying to be the responsible missionary who responds to each and every email, text message, FB message and all of that. But, there's just one of me and that one of me is feeling tired and overwhelmed at the moment.

I like alone time. I like to sit, think, pray, read and just be. In the last few months I have had hardly any of that. I feel like I'm running on empty and the end isn't in sight. I feel like throwing in the towel, or having a good cry, running away for a few days or something. But, every day, I wake up, take a deep breath and do it all over again. I am reminded about Jerry Falwell's sermon at the beginning of every semester. "Put your hand to the plow and don't look back (Luke 9:62). I don't want to crawl across the finish line, I want to finish well.

But, today, I feel miserable and like I need a serious battery recharge. The thing I am learning is that He is faithful. My Jesus is steady like a rock even when I feel like things are crazy and more than I can handle. He hasn't moved an inch. He's there - urging me - "Just look at me. Stop looking at the wind and the waves. You can trust me. Stop trying to carry it all on your shoulders. They weren't made for this, but mine were."

So, I am fixing my eyes on Jesus. He is the author and finisher of my faith. He is the glory and the one who LIFTS MY HEAD HIGH. So, my fellow sojourner, how can I not say "chin up" when it comes directly from scripture?

Yes, I am still tired and discouraged. Yes, I am still craving my alone time. Knowing He is there and for me is not a magic happy pill.  But, I CAN depend on the strength of my friend. I CAN'T depend on how I feel. Facts vs. Feelings. Hold on to that!

But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. Psalm 3:3