OK - let me put a disclaimer on this that I am really feeling down, and life has not been easy here recently and doesn't look like it is getting better. So if you want to keep believing that missionaries are anywhere near close to perfect or even near the ball park, please don't read this.
I don't understand God at times, and that is hard on me. There are days that I really enjoy God and see what He is doing and am thrilled. Then there are days like the last few days. Rough ones.
And general rough days, I can take. Or rough days where we all suffer together and it just seems like God is short on answers. It is days like my ones recently that are hard and leave me staring up at God and asking what is wrong with me. It is the days that it seems like everyone else's prayers are being answered in wonderful ways, and you stand there with empty hands.
There are some great things happening. One of our coworkers got healed from a pretty scary sickness. Another may have just found the perfect house. We even got a stay of execution for a decision that looked impossible just last night. Yes, I'm thankful for all this. Really.
Even my prayers are being answered. A huge concern for me the last two years as I worked on a project was that I needed three women for this thing to work, and there were only two. And it is not something that we can just go out and "find" one. An impossible thing to find. Yet, I prayed, and felt it was best to write for three. And I wrote. Last week, we found one, and she is delighted. Tonight, I sat with her and started her on her first assignment. (Sorry, can't tell much more.) And it is amazing - nothing short of a miracle, and I am stunned by God's ability to answer prayer.
Yet it is that same ability to answer difficult prayers that has me sitting here tonight staring at my computer screen wishing for an answer. Because I have other difficult prayers tonight that are not being answered. And I am hurting and begging God to answer, but He is not.
That is hard for me.
I want Him to step in and save the day, to ride in on His white horse and be a hero. I want Him to stop the pain. And He isn't.
It hurts because I am hurting and I am not seeing Him respond to stop it. I want Him to. I want Him to tell me, "you are so valuable to me that I don't want this to keep happening to you." I want Him to protect me, to care for me, to stop the pain. And He doesn't.
I'm struggling with that right now.
I'm actually not doing so great with the struggling part. I would think it would be more accurate to say that I'm floundering, stuck in heavy mud. I'm tiring from it.
A month ago, my husband got really angry with me again. There was a brief statement from him of, "let's stop fighting", but no real solution. And last week, he was again angry and yelling at me. I'm really tired of being yelled at.
I married a man from a different culture. I really don't feel like telling everyone from where. I know half of you would jump on me. Besides I can't put that on my blog. And I don't want him judged as harshly as people might if they knew his culture. But, it is still true that it deeply affects our marriage. I feel so often like I am a second class citizen. I am not valued.
It hurts. And today, I am trashing myself for it. Telling myself that you made that decision, now live with it. It may just be my life. I am tired of fighting over it. I know that if I am just silent, don't ask questions, don't talk, don't do anything wrong, that there will be a measure of peace. But that peace feels strangely like a prison.
Tonight, I'm tired. I'm sad. I'm sort of stuck in the mud. And I'm so tired of being told I have no value that I am ready to agree with it only to get some peace. Especially when today I see God answering prayers for others, even for what I do, but not for who I am. Not the prayers that deeply affect me.
Do I still believe? Yes. Is that said with great feeling and enthusiasm? No. It is said with the sad resignation of knowing that I can't dictate to God, that I don't understand it all, and yet that there isn't anything better, no better hope than Him. He's not stepping in where I am begging Him to, and yet I have nothing better than Him. So I believe. Still. But I am sad.
So, I need you all praying for me. With me. I know that there are some of you out there who I know and whose names and blogs are familiar to me. I've found that there are a few quiet watchers, too. That's fine. Don't feel you have to stand up and identify yourselves. I understand the feeling of just wanting to stand back and watch at times. But pray.
Then... to complicate things... this weekend, I have a lady coming to visit me to ask me one thing - should she marry a guy she has been dating, if he asks, who is from a similar culture. Hmmm... I want to tell her what I think, and tell her strongly. But I haven't figured out how to tell the truth and not disrespect my husband. How to tell her the truth in a way she will listen. And when. Pray for that. It is really not helping my mood at all.
So - I began with a disclaimer, and I will end with one: I still believe God is alive and working in my life. I do, even though I am in tears in front of Him asing how much more. I do love my husband. I do, even though I am tired of being treated of less value. I do deeply love the country and people I am working for. I do, even though their pain is at times hard for me to carry since it hits a bit too close to home at times. I do thoroughly support the team and mission I am working in. I consider it an honor to work with them. I do, even though I am fully aware that my team leader and my husband talk about me behind my back and have said some pretty cruel things. I have a heart for women who are hurting. I do - I just wished I wasn't hurting, too. I wish I could be that nice leader on solid ground on the grassy edge of this mud pit saying, "come over here", and not the one struggling in the mud with people trying to say, "despite all that is happening, I know that there is a God, and I will keep crying out to Him."
It is just that today, my cries are getting weak, my heart is sore, and I am tired. I need others today to come and cry with me for an answer.