Friday, October 5, 2012

The Blog I Never Wanted to Write

It's now October 5, 2012.

One year ago today, I was in Rwanda, Africa. Being struck with awe at the fact that we had constant electricity, a real bed to sleep on, a place to take a bucket shower inside.

Three months ago (plus a few days), I set foot on United States soil once again. It was new then. It was exciting, overwhelming, and just a crazy time in general. That mysterious word "re-entry" had come to life and was in full swing.

And there were moments of challenge, and it was difficult. I missed my community, the family that I had developed by spending 24-7 with at least six other people within the body of our 44 member group. I missed the different culture, and a lot of other things that just become so normal while living on the World Race.

But time passed, I got a job, started working, got back somewhat into "the swing of things." I thought, yeah, I'm doing great, I'm doing fine. I won't struggle with re-entry for long. It will just be moments here and there in the beginning, because that's what happens to good missionaries. It's just a short season, and you bounce back.

Yeah, well, that came crashing down this past weekend when I finally realized and admitted to myself that I am still struggling with re-entry. I am still unpacking what my life is to look like now.

(Sometimes I feel like my brain and life are like this suitcase that I stuffed full of books before I left...not entirely sure what to do with it all)

And that was a struggle to admit. But boy, it felt like a huge weight off of my shoulders when I did admit it to myself.

I found lately that I've been getting frustrated and angry over little things. The speed of life felt dizzying to me, everyone was moving at such a fast pace, too busy to really invest in things. Just "going with the flow," but who really knows where the flow is going? I am not an angry person, most people that know me would not put me in that category at all. But lately I found myself inside just getting so frustrated and emotional about little things building up.

I began to notice how different I was from this past year, what a different perspective I had now. I was seeing things through eyes that have seen street kids huffing glue in Kenya and the Philippines, witnessed prostitution on one of the most infamous roads for "sex tourism" in Thailand, seen poverty on a level that I had only ever heard vaguely about before, and countless other things. I realized that I "wasn't in Kansas anymore."

Children in Uganda on an island on Lake Victoria.

(Release times = the rate to buy a bar girl for those hours. 500b (Thai baht) is less than $20USD. It still makes me sick to my stomach to see that.)

One the street kids that stole my heart in the Philippines. (Picture by Emily Chan)

I wasn't sure how to mesh the "old me" with the "new me." How to act with people that I knew before I left for the race. I began to find that it was almost easier to be myself with people I had never met before than it was to interact with people I did know.

And it all came crashing down on me this past weekend. God laid the revelation on my heart while I was reading a book that a friend gave me called "Serving as Senders." They were discussing in the book how a church body can come along side a missionary and send them well. How they can prepare them, communicate with them on the field, and the part that stuck out to me was the re-entry part. Every emotion that I read about in that book, I realized that I was having...even three months after returning home.

(The book that started it...)

It was like a light bulb went off, and God was saying, "Yup, that's it. Let's go hash this out."

So I went for a drive. Laid my heart at his feet, what I was struggling with, how I didn't know how to really move forward, still. But His peace began to cover my heart, and I heard him say that it's okay. It's okay not to have it figured out just yet, it's a process. He's with me every step of the way.

And ever since I have actually recognized that what I'm been emotionally struggling with is re-entry, even though it's three months later, a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

But it doesn't come without action. I've been going through trying to process my time overseas deeper. Write down at length about what I was exposed to, what stuck in my heart from what I witnessed around the world. And another big thing, being open and vulnerable with people. Actually sharing what's on my heart.

So this is one step forward for me, sharing with you that I am struggling, still, with re-entry. That I am going to share my heart openly with you, not just over cyber-space, but in person. Be real when I am struggling. Ask for prayer and words of life. And speak life into you.

Because life is about sharing. Giving. Living with open hands.

(Taken in a classroom for pastors in Kenya)

So here's to this season of transition, of figuring it out. To the journey that my loving Abba has placed my feet upon, ever since I was born. He knows each step that I have taken, and will take, and loves me just the same. And I am so thankful for that.

1 comment:

  1. My dear Sarah, thank you for laying your heart out on the page. Your words are raw and honest, and so real. None of us on earth have it figured out, and most of us try to navigate life on our own. But you have unveiled a truth that God is waiting for us to fall before Him and it is at that point of weakness that He is strongest. You are on an extraordinary journey that you are meant to take. Please keep are teaching us as God is teaching you. May you be blessed many times over! Love you!