3 Toughest Adjustments With Change

I have committed the ultimate blog sin and have been on a blogging hiatus for the past few weeks. I have been MIA and every day feeling the tug in my heart to share with you the reason. So here it goes, I have been feeling the impact of major change in every area of my life. Everything has changed. It’s been overwhelming and it’s time to let you know and seek wisdom and advice and prayer. Also, I have some really big news …. It feels safe to share this here with you as I build up my confidence to share my feelings with the people in my life. The transition and adjustment being off the mission field have been the hardest, I think, for me since returning back to the states in late July. So many family and friends have asked me, “How are you doing?” Honesty, I haven’t had the clear understanding yet to share the truth, the reality of how I really feel. It’s too hard to explain out-loud everything we experienced and discovered loving and serving in Ethiopia, Haiti, and Nicaragua. How do you even begin sharing the day-to-day things we saw with our eyes, and touched with our hearts, that changed us forever. It means so much to have someone care enough to check up on me, but there are just too many stories and experiences to share over a quick lunch or coffee date.

My heart is thankful. I’m beyond thrilled that my husband has a wonderful new job, my three kids are adjusting well to their new schools (college, high school, kindergarten) and finding a new home. God has covered us in His protection, provision, and guidance every step of the way on our mission adventure and back to life in the states. He’s opened every door we prayed for since we returned. But, my heart feels pulled in two different directions. I want to go back and I want to stay put. I believe God has us back here for a season and I want to be obedient to this new change in my life and face it with joy. We always had a start and end date on our time serving overseas. We made a commitment to our children and we followed through and did exactly what we promised. Now, I’m starting a new journey and want to make a difference where He has placed me.

New Life Nicaragua Orphanage

My three toughest adjustments with change have been:

1. Feeling the loss of getting up every day facing unknown possibilities loving and serving in Ethiopia, Haiti, and Nicaragua. Every day was different, and new, and exciting, and challenging spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally. I loved never really knowing what was going to happen or what God would place in front of us … daily. There were constant bumps, and changes, and redirection all day long. We would plan one thing, and something different would happen. I loved the days we ventured out, just to share the gospel. I have had the honor of sharing Christ’s Good News with lepers, witch doctors, orphans, widows, the sick, the lost, the unclean, the least of the least. Visiting orphans and orphanages all over the world, have changed me inside and out: encouraging, hugging, discipleship, mentoring, feeding, washing, caring, playing, singing, and worshipping were daily activities on the mission field.

2. Feeling the loss of taking care of the needs of people groups in desperate circumstances. Every single day on the mission field you are faced with pain, tragedy, desperation, life-and-death needs and obstacles serving the community. You are needed and wanted from the time you wake up, until the time you sleep. Helping out in several medical clinics opened my eyes to the physical needs of serving. We were so grateful for the training from seasoned, long-term missionaries. We watched them daily in action and constantly amazed at their strength, flexibility, mobility, and courage to face major life-altering decisions. Missionaries are pulled in every direction, every day and night. They learn quickly how to set boundaries, and make a difference for the people they serve with joy, and tears, and the boldness when to say no. They love big with no limits or conditions.

3. Feeling the loss of living internationally. I loved every second living in three 3rd world countries. There were some days that were extremely difficult and uncertain, but even during those times, I soaked up everything as a life-lesson. I loved walking in flip-flops through mud and dust laughing at how dirty we always were. I loved not caring what I wore for the day, or the choice to either wash my hair (in cold water) or wear a hat. It was crazy driving, too! It always felt like the old 80’s game, Frogger driving internationally. The fear mixed with the challenge made it so fun! The simplicity of living life in another country is refreshing and calming to my soul. One example, waking up in the morning for 60 days in Haiti was like waking up to a piece of paradise, even though life was really hard there. I was surrounded by the beauty of nature and the reality of how hard life was for the people and missionaries we served. I loved trying new foods, and learning new languages, and being the minority everywhere we went, and being constantly humbled by the difficulties people face every single day, not just the 16 months we were on the mission field. They are all still there. I miss each and every friend we made, staff members, missionaries, and the people in the communities who opened up their homes and world to our family.

When I start feeling lost or alone or frustrated with slowing down and waiting for God to direct my new steps, I’m reminded how much God loves me. He’s been patience and gentle during my transition and adjustment. I’m grateful for my international friends who made every day serving on the mission field a real God-adventure. I’m thankful for the people who gave generously for our support to live on the mission field. I’m thankful and grateful for every experience that changed me and allowed me to grow, and learn, and stretch beyond what I thought I was capable of. I learned what it really means to simply love.

So, now to share some really big news with you. I’m writing a book, a type of memoir, navigating through our mission adventure!!!! I can’t wait to share ALL the stories, the joys, the laughs, the tears, the challenges, the pain, and the life-lessons I learned letting go of everything, even when I was afraid, to go where God wanted us to go and dream big, love big, and serve big! I hope you will join me on this new writing adventure (my first grown-up book) and pray for this project. We are all in this together…I want to learn from you too! “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Later this week, I want to share with you a special project for us to do together, as bloggers, called Project 12. What is Project 12? It’s a year-long project to inspire and equip you and your girlfriends to share the love of Jesus and make a difference in the lives of people around you. We will share our stories and pictures on facebook, twitter, and instagram using the hashtag #designedproject12. Be the change!

Question: What are some ways you handle major change in your life?

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