Thursday

Is it procrastinating if you’re putting something off because you feel like you’ve already accomplished a lot for one day? I have laundry on the clothes line that needs to be brought in and stuff on the couch, like luggage, that needs to be put away. I’m justifying not doing those things right now, and blogging instead, because I’ve managed to not only finish the grant reporting that I had to do and thought was going to take several days to finish, but also sent it all off. Whoop whoop for me! And I also stained 3 chairs. And I look kind of funny because of it. I didn’t realize how much of the stain ended up on my legs.

The thoughts running through my head today have been random. Chris left at 6:30 am to go to Port to get the finally fixed Daihatsu. He just called and is giddy like a little boy getting a new bike. I’m preparing myself for the dinner time discussion that will most definitely involve much motor talk and probably several, “Les, you have NO IDEA! It’s so much faster than before.”

So back to the thoughts in my head. They’ve been about faith things. And life things. And where the two meet. And grieving. And letting go. Earlier this week Chris and I were talking about Haiti and how long we were going to be here. I will be very honest and admit that he called me on something – the fact that deep down there is part of me that wants to go back to Canada and live a cushy life there. When you’re newly married and one person most definitely feels called to be here for the long haul (read 20-30 years) there is no easy, comfortable place to sit in this one. When I moved to Haiti it was with the absolute certainty that this was where I was supposed to be, but the time frame was fuzzy.

Over time I’ve learned to love Haiti, and hate it. I love it for all the same reasons that I hate it. Mostly the things that make absolute sense and the things I see that make life so hard and different here. I guess “hate” is a really strong word, but sometimes that’s how I feel.

When I was here and single I didn’t worry about things like medical assistance in case of an emergency, or what my kids would grow up in. I only saw what was right in front of me every day. Since we’ve gotten married I find my brain and heart doing cartwheels and crazy flips about all sorts of things like wondering what kind of world my kids will encounter every day and how I make it through the next 20 years with so many things that have been so important to me put on the back burner. I am grieving about the life that I may not have. There are parts of me that wanted to live in a cute little house and be a soccer mom. I wanted my kids to be able to walk down the street feeling safe. I wanted the freedom of being able to go to the grocery store down the street to find whatever I needed at that moment. I wanted to be able to go out with my husband and feel like we had some privacy in a crowd.

Haiti will give me none of those things, at least not in the state that it’s in now. I am grieving that. And I am grieving the loss of friends and family the way I have known them. How do you stay close to people that can’t be a part of your everyday life? Heck, they probably won’t ever even be able to just come over for coffee to see what we live in. I miss my family and don’t even want to think about all of the things in life that I just assumed I would share with them. I feel like they are missing my life and I am missing theirs.

Somewhere in here I know I’ll figure this out, but right now it seems overwhelming. I want to be happy and full of joy here because I do believe this is what God has called not only me, but us, into. I also want to be willing. I want to be willing and able to hear what God is telling us about life, and about what he wants us to do with it. In the back of my head and my heart I can’t help but think about the fact that maybe we won’t be here for the next 20-30 years. The reality is that I don’t know because this feels too big to do on my own. I know I can’t, and I know that the more I fight it, the more frustrating and confusing it will be. I also know that when I just stop and breath and let go God steps in and takes over. He did that for me when I didn’t know what to do about picking up and moving here. I essentially spent two years asking the question, “Is that what You’re saying?” I remember the day after I got here in the summer of 2005 during a mission trip I was leading. I knew that while I was here God would be talking to me. I was standing at a table saw for about 4 hours just cutting diffusion plates for the filters, and at one point I couldn’t hold back the tears. I kept thinking, “Is this really the life I want for myself?” I was scared. Okay, understatement. I was FREAKING OUT. I knew I needed to take a step back and breath and wait. Turns out a week and a half later I was ready and able to hear that very small voice that came peacefully and said, “Okay, it’s time.” It most definitely was. There was no fear, just peace, and I stepped forward.

In my head today were also thoughts about obedience. Being willing, following, listening, waiting and trusting are all part of the obedience picture. In this place of “I don’t know” I need to be willing to take on whatever we’re here to do and for however long that is. I need to be able to follow not only the path God has for us, but also how He says to walk it. I need to be listening because He may be saying, “Calm down and let go” or He could be trying to tell me other things. I need to wait this thing out. I know myself well enough to know that I can panic, and feel uncomfortable and that in that place I can be a crazy person. For my husband’s sanity, and for my own I need to just sit back and relax. I need to trust that the bigger picture that I don’t see is going to be more beautiful and amazing than I ever would have thought. That alone is kind of a silly thing to have to remind myself of considering that when I look back at my life, at all of the hard, un-fun, unexpected things I see a beautiful mosaic of stuff that has made me who I am now, and the good news is that through it all I came out okay.

I want to be living a life with not only purpose, but passion, and I feel like I’m forgetting how to do that. If you’re reading and you feel led to pray, I would love and appreciate that. I also want to live a life where I take one step at a time, knowing that when I put my foot down it’s the right step because it’s been guided there. I want that for Chris and I as we do life together. We need a lot of prayer about that because we’re just two people trying to figure this whole thing out, and we’re newly married and trying to combine hopes and dreams and callings. Not an easy deal right now.

Something just popped into my head, and funnily enough it was one of the key things that led to me being okay with moving away from cushy Canada…

“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion – do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers – most of which are never ever seen – don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. “

~Matthew 6:25-34

To not be so preoccupied with getting…

Respond to God’s giving…

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provision…

Don’t worry about missing out…

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now

God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Oh, silly, silly Leslie.

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This entry was posted in this is haiti, this is life by Leslie. Bookmark the permalink.

About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

2 thoughts on “Thursday

  1. Oh, Leslie! You said so much! Not just “many words”, but your post was just so packed with meaning today! I’ll be praying; you can count on that. The scripture you pulled was perfect, absolutely addressing everything you had just said in your post. Isn’t God good? And I’ve got to say, in the end, the feeling I’m left with is “peace”. Not peace because all our questions have been answered, but because we know the one who is Peace in the midst of the questions. The pictures are beautiful – perfect examples of peace in the midst of chaos. Thank you for blessing me today!

  2. Hey Leslie – your blog really resonates with us today! We really know how you feel. Like Cindy said, your scripture was right on the money too. Just a thought… If we can focus more on keeping our hand in His and listening to His gentle voice instead of worrying about where we are actually putting our feet down, we might just find ourselves walking on water! My tendency is to want to know more details about everything, when what God wants is for us to learn to truly enjoy His company and leave the travel details to Him. For Him, the journey is the thing, not the destination! I will keep you in my prayers, and you can be praying for me too, ok?

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