Monday, March 17, 2014

For the Days When You Don't Feel Like You Are Enough

I want to be SouleMama raising all my food and knitting all my own clothing
I want to be Isobel Kuhn pioneering missionary work in the mountains of China.
I want to be Rachel Pieh Jones grappling with culture and how it looks to cross into another one.
But I can't be.
I can only be me.
And some days that is hard.
Really, really hard.
Not because I don't like my life.
I love my life.
But often, I feel like it is not enough.
I know the facts.
Raising all my own food is impossible when you live on a completely concrete plot of land in an apartment in the middle of 2 million other people.
Knitting is another improbability as (a) I don't know how to knit, (b) we don't raise sheep for wool here, and (c) who needs wool sweaters when the average temperature year-round is 88 degrees F?
Pioneering in the mountains of China is not what God has called me to do.
Pioneering in Ghana? Somebody did that job long before I was born.
As for figuring out culture and being a foreigner and how it all mixes? Well, though I've certainly thought lots of those things through, that is not really what God has led me to write about regularly. Who knows? Maybe I'll surprise everybody {including myself!} and write out some of my thoughts on those issues....but not right now.
Some days it is hard to be me, because I feel guilty.
I feel like I have too much.
I've been too blessed.
God hasn't asked me to be a REAL missionary/parent/spouse/pioneer yet.
I've not lost a husband or a child to a dreaded sickness.
I've not slept in a mud hut in 100+ degree weather.
I've not climbed jagged mountains for days and forded swollen rivers for hours.
I've not slept with snakes and tarantulas over my head and lions prowling outside my windows. 
But is that the measure of things?
How HARD something is?
Would that change anything?
I don't think so.
As I mull on these thoughts, these vague impressions, I must come back to the same place.
I am called to glorify God, to shine His light wherever I am at.
To lift up His name in word, song, deed.
To praise Him in my home, and on the road, and in the market.
As a wife, AND a mama, AND a missionary.
To make Him known anywhere and everywhere in small ways and big ways.
That is the same for everybody.
So if God asks me to raise all my own food and sew all our clothes, I do it with a loving, thankful spirit.
And if God asks me to cook all our food from scratch and simply wash the clothes we've been blessed with?
I do that with a loving, thankful spirit, too.
If God tells me to climb mountains, cross rivers, and live in a bamboo hut as a pioneer missionary, I do it with a trusting, abiding heart and a courageous spirit.
And if God tells me to love my {many!} neighbors and reach out to those by the road, and in the market, and in town, and in community after community, and in the schools?
I do that with a trusting, abiding heart and a courageous spirit, too.
If God moves me to write about the joys and agonies of crossing cultures and ministering to those whose way of thinking seems so very different from mine, I do it with a humble heart and a willingness to learn.
And if God moves me to write about the joys and agonies of being a mama of littles and living 5,565 miles {as the crow flies!} from the place I used to call home and what it looks like to live out my Christianity here, I do it with a humble heart and a willingness to learn, too.
So today I choose to exalt Him as I knock down cobwebs and wipe away the layers of dirt that dry season brings.
I decide to worship Him as I sing through the sweeping, and the mopping, and the cooking, and the washing, and the feedings, and the diapers changes, and the lights off, and the water off, and the play-doh messes, and the closet clean-outs.
I learn to glorify Him as I pray in my heart for wisdom to guide my children, and I smile at a child when I want to fuss instead, and I talk siblings through conflicts when I want to send them outside and lock the door.
I let His light shine....
and that glorifies Him.
And that?
That is really all He's called me to do.


Lou Ann Keiser said...

LOVE this! Heart of missions today.

Joseph - Danielle Contreras said...

I feel this way, too, and can empathize. ;)