still no word from Dar about our adoption. I called Thursday and the social worker was rude and said she had no news yet and to call back Friday. I called back Friday and their phone had no service all day. So still I wait. Part of me wants to board the next ferry and go over there because; after all, my American need for immediate gratification is alive and well and part of me thinks I should be patient and wait until we hear more. I have been praying for answers, for peace in the midst of no answers, for wisdom, patience but the thing is I am just tired. Spent. I feel as though I have nothing else to offer up or give. Like crawling in the emotional and spiritual fetal position and telling the Almighty I cry “uncle.” Just make it stop. But He doesn’t. Life continues on. And He is silent or at least I don’t hear a darn thing right now. Here is where I tell myself ‘but His Word is always alive and speaking and all you need’ but even as I type that it feels like a “sunday school” answer, one that I have given a million times but right now just don’t want to hear. I am processing what this all means. But I do know there is more to learn in this all and I can trust. But trusting is a verb more than an emotional state these days.
I am surrounded by people from when I wake up until when I fall into bed on most days but I feel so lonely right now. Like no one understands. Like no one could possibly get this crazy situation and season He has called us to now. And how I desperately wish I could just talk to girlfriends that “get me” and drink margaritas and eat too much spicy food and that would make everything all better. But I can’t and I will stop whining about it (ok, soon-ish I will stop whining about it). And I miss J because he gets it or more of “it” and despite everything we are always in this together and that makes me profoundly grateful. And even when you are taking people to the hospital, cleaning and cooking, having visitors, visiting others, helping with inevitable issues and problems that arise, and exhausted because J is not here the girls continue with their fighting, yelling, throwing food, and dramatic outbursts regardless. And then the power goes out. Seriously. I just need to breath deep. I was watching a movie under my mosquito net while nursing a diet coke last night and there was a scene with a mall. And I cried. Pathetic. Because I desperately longed for that mall; to spend a day being anonymous and just doing things all for me and my family and in the same small instant I felt disgusted by everything a mall represents; materialism and consumerism that robbed me for so long of searching out what really quenches the places inside me. In the same split moment. I have issues. But the thing is I would never trade my issues. They are mine and refining and painful and joyous. Now that I have seen here, there will never be the same to me. Figuring out what all this means is wicked hard.
I feel like I am wrestling with God and although giving up never sounds like the right thing to do I must admit it is on the top of my emotional to do list everyday lately. Pack it up and get the heck outta here. Because if I am really honest a lot of days living here is really hard. It sucks actually. And not just the no real milk or reliable power kinda stuff. This place is hard on our marriage, on our kids, on our definition of ourselves, our minds, and on our faith. It was easier to believe something when we could compartmentalize it and keep it in the ‘Sunday stuff we do’ realm and never come face to face with issues that see it tested. daily. I have no answers and all my pat answers about why God does what He does have been blown away in this life. But that has been a good thing because a deeper dependence is required. a refining. Sure, we have more language now and we understand more of the culture but so many days I feel discouraged and exhausted. Like no matter how long I live here I will just never “get it.” And every time we figure something out everything changes. Enter guilt…. I know we suffer nothing compared to those around us. Just yesterday I sat next to a neighbor on tree stump in her desperate pleas via phone to her mother in law to beg her husband not to divorce her for the third and final time because she has no where to go and a 8 month old baby. See, I am a total whiny punk! But to be honest, this spoiled suburban white girl struggles too. I think about why God brought us here often. Whenever we leave this place our biggest souvenirs will be raw spirits, broken and contrite hearts, and a new sense of our need and dependency. And in that He is changing me. And living so much of my existence outside of what feels “normal” to me has made me forget what normal is to me, or at least completely redefine it. Like I am desperately clutching onto to something that I no longer can even describe. And that is a painful process.
But Hakuna furaha bila uchungu.…. there is no joy without suffering or pain. It is not like this place created new areas of weakness but it did strip away comfort, fluff, and distractions I used to hide my weaknesses in. And an open sore demands attention. I am redefining me, us. But like I told Annikah yesterday just because something is difficult does not mean we should retreat and declare defeat. Maybe I told her that because I needed to be reminded of it.
And just because this life is some days really hard it is also somedays rich with blessing. I know that for sure. God reminded me of that last night. He reminded me with a girl friend who stopped by yesterday just to greet me right before the breaking the fast meal and, in seeing the chaotic state of me and my children, stayed late to help me cook for my girls and get them in baths before leaving to head home for her meal. Because to the Waswhili “shida siyo mtu moja.” A Proverb meaning that a problem is never one person’s problem, it is shared. That was an unexpected blessing. But I should have learned by now that is how He works. Still I was grateful for the reminder.
Then I talked, well tried to talk, to a dear friend back home on Skype and although she could barely hear me I could hear the noise of her kitchen, her kids wondering in, crying and impateint for breakfast and it reminded me that some things are the same everywhere. I needed that too. This ride called motherhood is rough but amazing too. Then I got emails from another dear friend navigating an impossible foster care situation stateside and I was able to get out of myself and have my heart burdened for her and her family. Another reminder I am not the only one struggling and fighting to have peace in the everyday and being stretched beyond what I think I can bear. In praying I felt He gave me this verse for her.
“For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zep 3:17
But maybe it was for me too.
O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You. -2 Chronicles 20:6
I really appreciate the honesty of this post. Remember that it's when we push ourselves beyond our comfort levels that we grow. You're going to look back at these days and thank God for them because they are teaching you valuable lessons about Him, life, and yourself. Just keep swimmin'!
I know this is way to simplistic of a response but its what I got 'I'm wrapping you in a big hug'!
I love you, sister. Thanks for your honesty and real-ness. Praying.
Roxanne, you don't know me, but I have been reading your blog since March or April of this year when I began to suffer from crippling anxiety attacks. I Googled the phrase “immeasurably more” and stumbled across your site. I'll try to be brief- I am a Christian and a 30-something Mom, so needless to say, the panic attacks piled up the guilt along with the fear- not being able to do my job as Mama and feeling like I wasn't fully depending on God for my strength. The more I surrendered to Him, the more I was able to see Him and healing began. He lead me to people who could help me…YOUR blog being part of that help which encouraged me so much as I read your experiences and witnessed your faith, courage (and humor!). It seemed like every so often I would be able to recognize God at work in little ways… which is what I want to remind you now. He is there working behind the scenes and in the not so distant future you will be able to see it, I'm sure. I read your blog and think about and pray for your family and we've never even met- you didn't even know of my existence! GOD IS BEYOND AWESOME! I will continue to pray for you and your family. In the mean time, I think it was June Carter Cash who said something like, “When times get tough, hunker down and carry on!” which is a saying that always makes me smile. Even better, “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.” John 16:33Love from your sister-in-Christ in North Carolina, Laura Marshall
5 Comments on Hakuna furaha bila uchungu….. there is no joy without suffering or pain.