Troubles produce glory…

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outwighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever!”

 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

This post has been weighing heavy on my heart for a few weeks now, and have decided to let the words flow, now that I am slowly beginning to change. I didn’t want to write them when I was in the moment. This post would become far too depressing and a positive element would not be found. However, I can now write it and find the dawning of a small light beginning to glow.

The past month has been altogether the most challenging time I’ve encountered. After the intial adjustment of being in an unfamiliar country with a completely new family in a tiny village, I began to slip into a slight depression. I missed and longed for the comfortability of home…of family…of friends…but the main thing I missed was the familiarity of the city of Richmond itself. Months before I left, I ventured out and discovered more of the city in my spare time being off from school. For the first time, I was beginning to feel a small, warm place for the city inside of me. It was becoming home. For a missionary kid/third cultured kid, this was a pretty big deal. I didn’t realize how hard leaving it would be, even if it was only for 5 months. I missed my sister, my sister in-law, and my brother. Since my parents moved to Crozet, they became my best friends. The ones I spend the most time with. Moving to a new country, I was completely on my own. The village is made up of many elderly people and a few middle-aged people. The odds of finding young adults isn’t very high.

For many other reasons that I don’t particulary want on a public site, I was sinking. I clung on to God for all I was worth, but I was getting so weary of making myself strong all the time. After a weekend of silently crying in my room every night, finally letting my emotions out, Lorraine noticed a difference and confronted me. I was floating in a state of lethargy, only doing the things that were neccessary and nothing more…shutting myself away from the world. After she came to me, I asked God to give me complete new strength. I new I had to changed. I couldn’t continue like this or the urge to give up and go home would be too strong and I might cave in. God gave me a blessing the day after I prayed to him. That late morning, at 11:30, I went to the restaurant/inn to have lunch with all the staff. After I entered, Lorraine told me something had arrived for me and handed me a large manila envelope. My first package… I was so excited. Lunch was not yet ready, so I sat on the couch in the bar room and opened it up. It was from my Cornerstone Family. Many of the members at my Dad’s church had written me letters, words of encouragement, and scripture verses to hold on to. I smiled and began laughing, feeling strength rise up inside of me as I read each word that was written. A reminder that if we are genuine and true when we cry out to God, He is always there to help us along and provide strength to persevere.

I can’t say that after that day, life did a 360 and completely changed. Although it got better, some days I still wanted to give up. But instead of letting that feeling linger, I asked myself if my emotions were helping me achieve what God wants me to do while I’m here. Days weren’t perfect, but in each day I could feel God helping me along every time I looked to Him. I would find Him in everything I could…even in the smallest of things to remind me He was with me. I have found the only thing that genuinely helps, is finding ways to thank Him and praise Him. Always turn your gaze to Him and not your emotions.

He has given me a few younger people to spend time with. Most of the staff that work  with my host parents are in their early to late 20s. I have had some time with them, “letting my hair down” and laughing. I am also finding joy in growing much closer to the girls. They are becoming like little sisters… laughing with me, dancing, singing, and even being more affectionate. 🙂 They are wanting me around more and always asking me to play games with them. We’re becoming the best of friends.

Each day is different, some challenging, while others are fun and easy. But all in all, each day is one that God has blessed me with. He’s given me the opportunity to come to a country I’ve always dreamed about and doing the thing I love more than anything in the world. Through all of these hard times, my relationship with Him is growing deeper and more intimate. I’m discovering things about Him that I’ve never known before and trusting Him for everything each day. He is becoming my everything.

This is something I wrote a couple days ago. A summary. And with it I will end… for now at least. 🙂

Day after day as I watch the snow melt on the mountains far in the distance and feel the warmth of Spring set in, my emotions and mood change along with it.
Slowly. Very slowly, I become more comfortable in my new season. Day by day I feel myself coming out of a foggy gray-ness. Like the morning fog and dew, thick among the land. But as the sun begins to rise, the dullness of the earth slowly begins to fade. The light casts a glorious light through it all. His light shines through everything.
Although I still cannot communicate well in this new language, I feel myself becoming more comfortable in my own shoes again. Playing with the girls, caring for them as they were my own sisters.
Speaking to them in a completely different language is becoming normal. I sometimes don’t realize that it’s different. My mind is beginning to think in it. I begin to dream in it.
When I miss home, it no longer brings me down. It makes me want to sink everything I have into my work  instead of letting sadness consume me. I want to pull through this…strong…. not giving in or giving up. I want to make people proud. I want to make myself proud. Most of all… I want to make God proud…

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