When the Unshackled festival came to a close, I flopped on the floor emotionally. The culmination of an enlightening but heart wrenching week, continued cultural adjustment, & personal frustrations resulted in a stand still. Besides dealing in any kind of mathematics, my poorest skill may lie in emotionally care-taking myself. It’s been a pretty fantastic gift from God to have spent a month in CROSS (cross-cultural) training last July at OMS world headquarters, a requirement for every OMS missionary. Ian and Josie (who I met last summer at the training) encouraged me to reread some of my notes. Lists of things that “fill me up” spiritually, emotionally, physically. The results from my Birkman test which detail what is likely to help me to best manage stress. And more. All of these reminders, and the nice friends that Josie & Ian are, helped me to intentionally choose to do some things differently. It’s not a magical switch. I am still feeling a bit drained, but I don’t feel that complete dropkick feeling that comes with a “crash and burn.”
One thing that I’ve found difficult in the past couple of weeks is reading my Bible. I know I’m a missionary so I’m supposed to be a superhero preacher (Stop laughing at me!), but I’m really rather normal. I know the Word of God is supposed to fill us up, but as I sat on my bed feeling drained of all that’s good in the world (You would not have wanted to talk with me. Ian is very nice for being my boss & friend even after some of the things I snapped at him…!) I realized I just didn’t have the energy for it.
I even came to the conclusion that I felt a little wounded, maybe in a small part by God, and taking the “oomph” to read what He’s got to say and apply it to my life just sounded terrible. This was probably the point when I was staring up at the ceiling of my caravan, blubbering slobbery tears. (Attractive, I know. No wonder I’m constantly out on dates.) Amid the runny nose and the rain (Yes, it was even raining! You can’t make this stuff up.) I recalled an article I’d read a few years ago where a woman, struggling with severe depression, wanted to build her relationship with God even when she had no energy for it. Sometimes she read just one verse, taking it slowly but remaining committed to her Savior. And you know what? He’s so gentle. I think He understands.
Lately, then, I’ve been engaged in my own version of this woman’s advice. I’ve only been reading about Jesus, only reading about His actions. And sometimes I read five verses, other times I read three chapters. Why is this what I can ‘handle’ while I’m feeling wounded?
“But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.’ ”
He calls me Daughter & lets me go in peace.
Even when I’ve got nothing, He has everything.
Even when I’m wounded, He still has healing.
Everything I long for comes back to Him!
“Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ …”