Wandering

wandering-1-waterfall

I’m currently transitioning between two totally opposite cultures and it’s hard. There are positives and negatives to both cultures, but they are very very different from each other.

It’s funny cause I still find myself trying to control things and the Lord just being like-do you trust me?

I wrote in an earlier blog about how I was learning to trust God. –

“He created me. Doesn’t that make him worthy and capable to fulfill my needs? To be my friend when I’m lonely?”

But the funny thing is, I never felt that lonely in the Dominican. God gave me people that became family to me. It’s actually been the transition back that I have felt alone in. Disconnected to everything here in America and back in the Dominican. It’s like my minds trying to decide where I’m going/ where I’m headed/ where is my home? What is my purpose here? The foreignness makes me feel lost in my own culture. I’m in this awkward middle ground that I honestly don’t understand. Everything still feels weird. I get frustrated easily with people around me and the excessiveness and high maintenance requests that some have. Sometimes I pridefully think to myself – ‘oh wow you could never live in the Dominican.’ As if I was perfect and not excessive before I went. As if I am not guilty of the exact same thing even now. Maybe not anymore, not to the extent I was prior to the Dominican. It really has changed me.

Everything feels foreign. Things that use to feel normal, that I expected to feel normal feel weird in a way that’s hard to put into words. I knew it would feel weird coming back. I lived there for 10 weeks. Life there became my new normal. But I never expected being “home” to feel this foreign. Sleeping in my bed at home feels weird, the quietness is weird. It made it hard to sleep at first. Hanging out with my family is weird. Even being with my friends is hard sometimes. I miss the community I had in the Dominican.

I don’t know what to do with all I learned. Honestly I don’t even know what all I learned. I’ve never gone through so much and seen so many things and met so many people in a span of 10 weeks before. It’s like I just had a life time of experiences packed into that 10 weeks and how do I process that in just a couple days? Weeks even? I’ll probably be processing that for the rest of my life.

I came home so drained in every way, and I still feel that way. More needy then I’ve ever felt in my life. I just feel like I have nothing to give. Like I’m so poured out that I need to recharge. I’m not sure what that looks like as I continue to remember to depend on Him through it all. I’ve never been so spent in my life.

One thing one of my camp leaders used to say is to be spent for the Kingdom. And that’s how I feel. Completely and utterly 100% spent and it kind of feels terrible. Like I gave and gave and gave and I have nothing left to give. Maybe I didn’t depend on God as much as I should have? He definitely sustained me but I have scars from this summer. I came home dehydrated and malnourished (it was difficult being GF in the Dominican) and exhausted in every way shape and form. I came home with a lot of anxiety and a continual feeling of burden in attempting to process it all and re-adapt to the fast-paced and overly materialistic American culture.

The more I connect here, the more I long for the relationships I had in the Dominican.

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Seek my face.

blog - seek my face

Coming into this summer I expected it to be hard. I expected it to be lonely and difficult to adapt. I expected to miss home like crazy and be homesick. I expected to be counting the days to when I would come home.

I mean a part of me also feared that when coming here, I would never want to go back.

I expected to learn a lot about Jesus. To be continually poured into by the people I’m working with. But what I found challenging was not what I expected and vice versa. I got here and immediately connected with the other interns. I fell in love with the culture and within the first week knew that I would be heart broken to leave. God has been so faithful to make this place my home.

What I found difficult was focusing on Jesus. Do you know how easy it is for me to get caught up in the physical work of building chapels and doing construction and easily forget to be in the word pursuing my relationship with Christ? I can often be very work focused and that’s where I’ve been at the past couple weeks. So incredibly physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, I had less then enough energy to function. I neglected the one relationship that reenergizes me. I neglected the one book that offers more truth and encouragement then I could need in a thousand life times.

On top of that, I’ve been trying to figure out God’s calling for me. I love it here. I love being a missionary in the Dominican. The cultural differences make life a little more difficult sometimes, but I still love it. Spanish is a beautiful language and I desire so deeply to learn it in order to connect better with the people here. I feel called to missions, but the where is hard to discern.

I’ve been letting my exhaustion take over. I’ve been so busy that finding a moment to be still with the Lord is tough. The only consistent time I’ve found to be successful is in the mornings. Free time is sparse; if i want to read my Bible I have to be more proactive here then I am at home. And the past couple weeks, I’ve done that poorly.

But yesterday I got up early. One of the other interns, Hanneh, and I decided to get up yesterday and start studying the book of Proverbs. It’s evident just in the first chapters that He promises wisdom to those who seek it earnestly.

Proverbs 2:4-6 “if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

My prayer that morning was that God would teach me and show me Himself and His will for my life.

You know what’s cool? I probably felt God speak to me more yesterday then I have any other day here. Hanneh and I got the chance to talk to the founder of the ministry we’re working for after church. I asked her if she had any advice for someone considering going into missions full time and she had three tidbits of wisdom:

1) Yes come. We need more young people that are passionate about overseas missions.

2) To determine God’s calling you have to continually be in the word and in prayer.

3) There’s no coincidences.

Then last night another leader of a ministry in the Dominican came and talked to our group about her journey of becoming a missionary. She felt called to do missions overseas but couldn’t figure out where. She kept praying and praying about it and telling God – “I’m willing. Show me your will. I’m willing.” One night when she was praying she felt God telling her “Stop seeking my will and seek my face instead.” And she knew exactly what He meant. She had gotten so caught up in seeking His will for her life that she had neglected pursuing her relationship with Him.

What I learned was that sometimes (or maybe all the time?) God doesn’t show you His whole plan for your life. Just little steps you can take to continue following his will for your life. If you’re pursuing your relationship with God and seeking Him out, then you can’t really be outside of His will. He will show you in His timing.

What a good check to be reminded three times yesterday to seek God and be in the word daily. 

Philippians 4: 6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”