I know. Another blog? I can barely keep up with the other one, right? Right. But I’m going to try. Keeping BOTH of them going, that is. The other one has become “mission update focused”. Which is fine-I need to keep everyone updated, including myself. Sometimes I forget what is happening down here. This one, my new one, is not going to be mission focused, at least not in the sense of keeping people updated on what is happening here. For a while now, I’ve been feeling an incredible urge (compulsion?) to put down what is going on inside my head. Those of you who know me well should be frightened. Those of you who don’t…hang on. It could be a wild ride.
There are some things that I know about myself, without a shadow of a doubt. I love my husband. He is the most amazing, godly, caring man I know. I love my children. Even on days when I would like to put them all on eBay. I would go to the ends of the earth and back for them. I love my dachshund, Oliver. Dan (hereafter referred to as SH, for Sweet Hubby) says he doesn’t love Oliver, but I think he’s denying his true feelings.
I love my Jesus. I know. You’re thinking “Duh-she’s a missionary. Isn’t that a requirement for the job”? It is a requirement. One that gets shoved to the bottom of the closet and forgotten, until one Saturday when you’re cleaning out the closet because nothing else will fit in there and your husband is making (baseless) threats about what he plans to do with all of your clothing…and there He is. And you pull Him out and promise to never let it happen again…until the next time. I honestly feel like I have more trouble connecting with Jesus here on the field than I did when we still lived in the States. Let me explain. Here is what my typical day looks like. Alarm rings at 5:15. I punch the snooze for about 1/2 an hour, then drag myself into the shower. At 6ish, I go to wake up the girls. Put the dogs out. Go back to wake up the girls. Get Patrick up, dressed and fed. Go back to wake up the girls. Dry my hair. Go back to wake up the girls. By this time I am saying things that would probably get me into trouble if the people on the other side of our duplex weren’t good friends. Get dressed, pack my lunch, remind the girls that if they make me late for work AGAIN (insert threat that I have no intention of carrying out) leave for work at 7:15 or so. Work ALL day. Get home somewhere between 4 and 7, depending on whether or not we have therapy, sports games, doctors appointments…get something on the table for dinner, help Patrick with homework, bathe Patrick, get Patrick to bed, do my own homework, fall into bed. See the problem here?
I am an introvert. Card-carrying. People exhaust me. I crave quiet like I crave peanut butter ice cream. Constantly. I live in a country where quiet is a four letter word. It is NEVER quiet here. Restaurants blast music at a level that keeps you from thinking, much less talking. Stores compete with each other to see who can play the loudest, most annoying music. Ask them to turn it down and they look at you like you’re crazy…and turn it up. Dogs barking, horns honking, people in trucks with megaphones advertising who-knows-what (driving by as I type this, I kid you not), planes landing or taking off (we live directly in the flight path)…It is NEVER quiet here. I need space. My personal bubble is large. Having someone too close to me makes me nervous. As in eye-twitching, react-in-anger-when-it’s-really-nerves nervous. There is no such thing as a personal bubble here. I have had conversations where I back away, the person I’m talking to follows me, I back away, they follow, I’m now against the wall and they are DIRECTLY in front of me. I can’t concentrate on the conversation because I’m trying to breathe.
I love living in Ecuador. And sometimes I don’t. My opinion can change hourly, depending on the kind of day I’m having. Most days I love the people here. I want to bring home every small child, stray dog and little old person that I encounter. It breaks my heart not to be able to (I blame it on SH-he put a cap on my small child, stray dog and little old person quota). I want to rock the babies, feed the puppies and listen to the stories of the old people. I want to make sure that they know about Jesus (even the puppies) and how much He loves them. Some days I just want to go home. This usually happens after I’ve been treated rudely, cursed at (in Quichua even), witnessed or been the victim of crime…Some days life here is HARD. I don’t want to listen to the reasons why you can’t sell me that last button (“because what if someone else comes in and wants one-I won’t have any”), I don’t want to talk to the drunk man at my gate who was here yesterday, and the day before, trying to get me to give him money for “this prescription that my wife has to have or she will DIE” that is three years old…
I have regrets. One, in particular, that I still can’t get over. I am weak. I have a little girl that I failed. Miserably. Her name is Gracie, or at least it is in my heart. She was supposed to be my little girl forever. I couldn’t handle her father. The one who said we could adopt her…then said we couldn’t…who said he would let her go…then kept pulling her closer…who could not ever care for her…who wouldn’t let me. Who has not visited her since we had to return her to the orphanage. That was over four years ago. She is still there. Not a SINGLE day goes by that she doesn’t cross my mind. That I don’t want to go get her, to bring her home to her blue room with the butterflies on the wall and the closet full of princess dresses and the bed with her “babies” on it. I have tried to make peace with it…and I can’t. Because I failed. Her picture is still on the mantle…and probably always will be.
I’m selfish. I get mad at SH. For the dumbest things. Like doing his job. He has to travel sometimes. It makes me crazy. I’ve tried to figure out why, and come to the conclusion that it’s fear. Like “What if he’s gone and that big earthquake that they’re always talking about happens and he can’t get home” fear. I can’t handle the thought of having to deal with all of that by myself. Because SH could deal with it. He would take care of me, and the kids, and all of the other people in our mission, and the drunk guy at the gate, and the little old people…because that’s my SH. He can do anything and he’s not afraid. I’m terrified. In general.
I love my Jesus. I truly believe that He’s put us here for this season in our lives because He’s got a plan. I have NO IDEA what it is, or whether I’m following it, or making a difference. I want to make a difference. I want to make sure that people know about HIM. What He’s done in my life, and what He can do in their lives. And yet I fail, I’m terrified, I get mad at my husband, I fuss at my kids…
Some days I love being here. Some days I look around and wonder how on earth I ever got here. And some days I just long for home. Not Ohio. Heaven. Where I won’t fail, won’t be angry, everyone will know my Jesus…
This blog is about my thoughts. Some might offend-please bear with me. I need to find a way to channel this, before I lose what’s left of my mind. The other blog will continue to let you know what’s happening in our ministry. This is the one where I tell you about my kids, my SH, my dogs, my job, my thoughts…my life. And where, hopefully, Jesus and I figure out what I’m doing here.