When I was a kid I had a book called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. Chances are you have probably heard of this book or have even read it. It is a classic in my opinion. The title does all the explaining needed- Alexander had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Growing up this was one of my favorite books. I’m pretty sure with a little revisiting my mom could quote much of it to you because she had to read it to me that many times. And although I cherished this book as a child, I have found myself regretfully reciting its title throughout the week. Why? Because this has literally been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.
I can’t even begin to tell you why this week has been so stressful on me. Quite frankly, I really just don’t want to come off as a complainer. I mean, who wants to read a blog where all I do is whine? All I am saying is that this “missionary life” isn’t all it is cracked up to be. It’s not all blessings and joy just because I am serving others full time. God doesn’t always rain down His abundant gifts. Sometimes His blessings are mere sprinkles sent occasionally in the mist of a drought- just enough to survive.
And this week I have been living in a drought.
I have felt like David in Psalm 13. I am not sure what was going in on David’s life when He wrote these words. Maybe he was struggling to keep an orphanage afloat as well (I’m joking). But whatever the situation was, I can relate.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him”,
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for He has been good to me!
I am not saying that I feel abandoned by God. Quite the opposite, I have felt His presence even more near this week. I have felt His hand in mine and although I feel as though I want to crumble in fall, He is providing me with just enough strength for each moment. Nothing more. Nothing less.
In His infinite wisdom, I know that God knew what this week was going to bring me. Whether He has willingly placed these challenges in my life for one of His all-inspiring life lessons, or whether He is simply allowing the enemy to attempt to trip me is irrelevant. Why? Because in the midst of the drought, searching for explanations can sometimes get in the way of survival- at least in my life they do. Right now, all I have the energy to do is put my hope in God’s “unfailing love” to see me through.
And “unfailing love” is undoubtedly what He has provided me with this week. First of all, in His perfect timing He sent me Tanya Pirtle to be here for two weeks. Although she has openly claimed that encouragement is not her spiritual gift, I believe she is wrong. For me, encouragement doesn’t always come in the means of words. This past week, I have found encouragement in her presence, wisdom, prayers, and willingness to just let me have random breakdowns when I need to. Without anything in return she has volunteered to single handedly take on the task of tracking down one family member of each of our kids in order to complete our dossiers for our IBESR application. Whether she knows it or not God has provided His “unfailing love” through her this week and for that I “rejoice in His salvation”.
God has also provided me with peace. I am quite terrible at memorizing scripture but somewhere along the way Philippians 4: 4-9 has made a permanent imprint on my brain.
Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
God is near and I know it. I feel Him. And although “worry” might as well be my middle name, I am trying my best not be anxious with every breath I take. How? Well, I am no master by any means but I am learning to do what Paul said. Instead of drowning in my anxieties, I am trying to think about those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. And I am trying to relive previous lessons that He has taught me and placed in my heart
I am focusing on the truth that God want us in Haiti no matter how difficult that may be, and no matter how much I want to run away some days. In some ways I believe that is why He gave us Dalencia so early after we moved here. He knew that in our deepest lows, when all we want to do is throw in the towel, we would have her to keep us here because we will never leave Haiti until we can leave with her. And realistically that could be years from now. So with His intelligence He made persistence with our mission a necessity.
I am focusing on scriptures that are full of noble words of wisdom. I have been daily reading through Proverbs, Psalms, and various letters written by Paul to churches who were also struggling to remain strong.
I am focusing on what is right. Loving God and loving others. Right now, being obedient to Jesus’ greatest two commands is as about as right as I can get.
I am focusing on being pure like my little children. Not that my little ones aren’t guilty of all sorts of mischief, but their hearts and souls are as pure as they get. And I know that I must become as pure as them if I want to enter the kingdom of God. (Matthew 18:3)
I am focusing on what is lovely about Haiti and the life I live. I am learning to look pass the trash which typically clouds my vision and take close look at the beauty that surrounds me: the mountains, the beaches, my children, my marriage, and especially Dalencia- all extremely lovely.
I am focusing on all the admirable people God has placed in my life. I am searching for wisdom in their words and example. I am learning to have faith through the faith of those around me.
I am focusing on the excellent things happening at the orphanage rather than the bad: the building of our playground, our amazing sponsors who are graciously funding various projects, the university kids who are thriving in their studies, the teams who are traveling here to serve us, my mom coming in Septenter, the kids who are being adopted and no longer have to consider themselves as orphans in this world, the kids who are about to graduate and move on to a new chapter in life, Nahomi’s first steps, Dalencia writing “Daddy”- her very first word, and much much more.
And last but not least I am focusing on the fact that despite various circumstances, my life is more than praiseworthy. God has always been faithful in His blessings. And one of His greatest blessings in my life has been the CHCH. God deserves all the praise for creating such beautiful children. And the fact that He has entrusted me to live with them and raise them is an honor and praiseworthy in and of itself.
So there you have it- this week has been crap! (I can just seem my dad cringing in this moment as he is reading the word crap on my blog. My apologies father, but it is the most accurate word I can come up with J). But God is good. He is faithful. And His blessing will prevail in His own timing- which we all know is perfect. My enemies- they don’t stand a chance for God is on my side and He will see me through this week and all those yet to come!