20 October 2011

I Have No Life

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Disclaimer: This is an honest and vulnerable post. It is challenging for me to write posts like this because I believe it’s important to be positive and joyful, which I am a lot of the time. But I don’t want this blog to be an unfair portrayal of my life… I want to share my joys and my struggles too. I think it’s vital that others don’t think my life is entirely happy home-life and smiling adventures. I have ups and downs like everybody else. I know you already know this, but it helps me to put it out there.

I am also careful about posts like this because I don’t want to misrepresent God or His ways. I am no theologian and I worry about saying the wrong thing. Forgive me when I do.

Okay, I got all that off my chest, you may now read on…

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I have no life.

There. I said it. But I only partially mean it. I obviously DO have a life drenched in grace and love and undeserving gifts from my Heavenly Father. I am healthy and my family is healthy and we are fine.

But still, I have no life.

My life is in Africa. Or sometimes in Ohio. Or other times in Colorado. But it’s not here. And out of stubbornness and refusal to give even a hint of admitting defeat, I don’t want to get a life in Jordan. This is not my place. This it the in-between. We are just passing through. Just.

Now, don’t get me wrong (especially my new and beloved friends who do have their lives in Jordan) … I have seriously loved getting to know people here and this place. New friends have been generous with us and have shared/are sharing their lives and homes with us and we are so so grateful. As much as I could live here and be a part of life here with them, I find myself holding back, scared to give myself as if there’ll be less of me to take back to my home. Or that if I give myself here, that there somehow won’t be a home to go back to.

My home in Africa centers my life. My second floor concrete and tile apartment is my place. It’s my five years of hard work in making a home that finally feels like home. It’s my plants that I water and my balcony swing that I sit on while I watch the kids in the paddling pool. It’s my kitchen where I plan and prepare meals for my family. It’s my utensil drawer with my favorite knife that feels like an extension of my hand. It’s my desk where I prepare for Sunday School lessons and organize Mom’s group. It’s my lumpy cotton mattress. It’s the sideboard by the door where my phone sits and rings daily… someone needing me, someone caring for me, someone wanting to see me… signs of my life there and the people that I do life with. It’s my couches where I chat with those friends who share my same joys and frustrations of the Africa-meets-Arabia city that I call home after sweating and crying it out for many years. It’s my craft cabinet and my daughter’s cloth diapers. It’s my boy’s Legos and my husband’s books. It’s my own shower and my own dusty stairwell. It’s where I care for and nurture my family so that we grow together and venture together. It’s my living room where we tell local friends what God has done for us. It’s my open market three blocks away. It’s my indoor/outdoor church. It’s my Saturday-swimming-pool-with-friends routine. My home is where I host. It’s where I create. It’s where I give. It’s my calling. It’s my obedience. It’s my joy. It’s my spring-board for love and my nesting place.

It’s home.

I know that it’s not all perfect in that compound. I do love it. I also hate (strongly dislike?) it at times. It’s my pretty (it’s all relative people) home, yes… but it also makes me sweat buckets and gives my kids heat rash. My plants die, my balcony swing creaks, my desk is covered in dust and I get so much attention at the market sometimes I want to scream. I cut my fingers on my nice knife weekly. I step on the Legos, the diapers stink and I wish my shower weren’t so old.

I’m not saying life at home is perfect. I’m not saying it’s not hard. But I’m saying it’s the kind of hard that I’m used to. It’s the kind of hard that I’ve grown to understand. It’s the kind of hard that I can anticipate and the kind of hard that I’ve learned to thrive in the midst of. And I want to go home.

I want my life back. The good and the bad.

I try to rejoice in my current lot. I try to choose the right attitude. I know it’s about Love. Patience. Faith. Thankfulness. That’s it’s about abiding in Christ no matter what the circumstances. I tell myself this. I know it’s truth, but the pathway from the place in my head that knows these truths to the place in my heart that feels it seems to have some obstructive construction or something. A detour maybe? The message hasn’t quite made it yet. Maybe I’m resisting. Maybe I’m sinful (um, duh!). Maybe I’ve got it all wrong.

I try to choose joy. I try to have faith.

Today I read this hit-home passage, written (I think) by City Central Church out of Tacoma:

“The hardest part of faith often involves simply learning to wait. Troubles arise when we jump in to start fixing problems ourselves, which invariably makes things worse. In fact, we can end up complicating matters so that it takes God longer to straighten them out, than it would have to wait quietly for Him in the first place.

God’s timing is often a mystery to us - and can sometimes be a source of frustration. But we must not give up, and we must not try to arrange our own solutions. We must stand firm, believing and waiting for God. And we can be assured that we are not alone as we patiently wait for His answer in His time: we join the great host of saints through the ages whose faith was tested and purified by waiting for God.”

I guess I’m just learning to wait. Okay then. So this isn’t the ideal waiting place. I wonder did we hear God wrong? I don’t think so. I do know that God doesn’t always give us the easy way (which would have been in one of two other places that we can call ‘home’). In fact, do I even WANT the easy way, when I know that “There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next"? (Romans 5:3, The Message) Aren’t passionate patience, virtue and alertness to God’s ways more desirable than getting my way, remaining weak, having no integrity and no hope? No, I’ll choose the hard-way and give God a chance to teach me perseverance, character and hope.

This time He did give us a hard answer… He told us to come and wait in a new place. I don’t know why. It is a mystery to me. But I have faith. I try to have faith? Yes, I CHOOSE to HAVE FAITH in God and His plans for us! And I totally dig the idea that in my faith-waiting season, we “join the great host of saints through the ages whose faith was tested and purified by waiting for God”. I’m a save-the-best-for-last kinda girl and if I have to go through some challenges now to reap a reward later, I’ll do it. Isn’t that what this temporary life in earth is about anyway?

This is certainly a season of ups and downs, of joys and suffering. I do feel a bit life-less through it all. But I trust God’s timing. And I know He has a purpose.

So I’ll wait for Him.

7 comments:

  1. I'm not quite sure how to respond... I can only begin to imagine what you must be going through, and I admire and respect your dedication and patience. It sounds to me like you're thinking and processing all the right things, but that's much easier for me to say from the comfort of my "normal" life and home. For now, know that I continue to keep your whole family in my prayers!

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  2. Amazingly deep, beautifully written, and awesomely mature. Are you sure I had anything to do with raising you? I love how well you think out what you're feeling deep down and your ability to express it! But what I admire the most is the strength, even in your weakness, that shines through ~ and knowing that that strength comes from your relationship with our gracious Lord. I, too, wonder why your dear family is waiting for such an anguishing, extended period of time. I just continue to pray that God comfort you and give you some kind of peace through it all. And we all will rejoice when you finally return to your beautiful (yes, it is!) and beloved home and friends who wait for you there!

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  3. Thank you for sharing! I always appreciate your blog, as I tend to be such a serious person, and you make me laugh as I can relate so much to what you write. I appreciate today's vulnerability and heart-felt writing as well. May you sense His presence as you make a home away from home for your family.

    P.S. I saw your hubby walking near our house last week and did a double-take. I've never met him, but there he was: the man from suz-mae. :-) May your departure be soon, for your sakes.

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  4. Lisa, whoa... it's a small world! So funny! I bet you probably know our hosts, although they are new to this side of town. :)

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  5. suz, very well said....and i have never been a fan of waiting either! i will be praying for an end to your patience period....and that you will be home soon. love ya.---amanda

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  6. Hugs from Texas! Thank you for sharing so honestly. I know it's hard for me to publicly show my struggles, so I appreciate your transparency! I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to appear like we think we should. We've recently finished a hard period of waiting. No fun at all. I want to tell God, "okay, let's just skip this lesson how 'bout?!?" You ever wonder why growing always seems to be accompanied by "growing pains"??? Praying for extra grace for you and your family during this time. :-)
    -Christy

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  7. Suzanne, you are such an incredible writer!! What an articulate picture you've penned of both your inside and outside world. I so appreciate your vulnerability and can completely relate to the unfamiliar place of waiting and all the frustrations that accompany it. But also knowing our God is faithful, there is much to be thankful for, and breakthrough is always around the corner. You are amazing Suz and I know God is increasing your authority and wisdom through this difficult season. You will SHINE even more like Him when this is all over!! Hugs to all there!!

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