Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ready or Not. (And I'm not.)

I recently had lunch with a longtime friend and mentor--it was the first time we've been able to sit down together since I've been back from Haiti.

Among other things in our long discussion, he asked, "Has your re-entry gone as expected so far?"

Answer: No.  It's been considerably harder.

It's like there's a race in progress here... But, we weren't here for the shotgun start.  All the other runners are full speed ahead and we've dropped in right in the middle of the whole thing.  Others are zipping past us, while we're still trying to tie our shoes and figure out which direction to go. 

I keep wishing everything could just STAND STILL a minute so we can have time to take a breath and catch up with everyone!

But, of course, that's not possible.

Life keeps moving, keeps charging ahead whether we're ready or not.

Mark is neck-deep in the work of trying to rebuild his business and reconnect with clients who stuck by him throughout our time in Haiti.  He hasn't even had a moment to consider how his transition is going because he's so busy catching up.  Some people have been patient and gracious toward him...and others not so much.  Through their eyes, he's been back TWO WHOLE MONTHS!  So, what's taking so long?  In fact, a few people have accused him of purposely avoiding them and they're threatening him as a result.  Perfect.

In the eight quick weeks we've been back, we've managed to offend family members and some dear friends who long anticipated our return and now feel slighted because we've had so little time to spend with them.

We came back to the States sick and exhausted.  But, within 4 weeks, we were packing the moving truck to head to a new place and we got busy doing settling-in things like finding food, setting up utilities in our home, and figuring out what day the garbage is collected in our neighborhood (a luxury we still marvel at when those big trucks rumble down our street!). 

We're not the only ones for whom school starts this week.  Physicals had to be scheduled with doctors brand new to us.  Supplies had to be purchased from stores we still needed the maps app to help us find.  My job search isn't going NEARLY as quickly as I had hoped.  And, while the items necessary for day-to-day life have been unpacked in our new rental home, half the garage is still full.  (I'm considering wrapping them in holiday paper and pretending they're our Christmas gifts.)

Phew.  Where is that finish line?!!

The Bible gives us a lot of direction about missions and what to do when we're going OUT.  In fact, I've heard it suggested that the entire New Testament can be read as a missionary document (David Bosch, Transforming Mission).   The New Testament is rich with descriptions (often through letters authored by the apostles) about many different aspects of missions, and through them, we can see a picture of the global plan of our missionary God.

But, where does Paul instruct about what to do when we're COMING BACK?

So far, all I've found is in Acts 14:26-27: "From there they sailed back to Antioch where they had first been commended to the grace of God for the task which they had now completed. When they arrived there, they called the whole church together and rehearsed before them all that God had done with them, and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles."

At least part of my job now that I've returned, then, is to continue to tell the story of all that God did in, around and through me last year.  That I can do. 

As for all the rest... 

1. I will reflect often on all that God enabled me to do in the last year, and I will remind myself that with Him all things are possible.  He saw us through the transition into life in Haiti, and He will see us through here.

2. I will try my best to be gentle and patient with myself, even if others aren't.  I will allow myself time to continue to lean on the generous people who have provided for us, comforted us and lifted us up over the last eight weeks.  I will commit to extending that same grace to my husband and daughters, because I know they're feeling as overwhelmed as I am.

3. I will pray daily and listen to how God guides me and I will plunge into His word when I'm feeling shaky and unsure and tired.

4. I will give thanks and focus on all of our recent "small victories." We've been loved on and fed up.  We've had at least one fantastic "date night."  We've had little bits of precious, wonderful time with people we love. We've enjoyed luxuries, privileges, and amenities that we missed!  And recently, we celebrated birthdays with cake and ice cream...!

Apparently, I needed help with all my candles...now that I'm 33ish.

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world."