HI! It’s Jess!
Back in college we used to take this really, really great hike to a set of the earth’s most beautiful waterfalls: Havasupai Falls. By “really, really great hike” I’m talking about a thirteen mile hike. If memory serves, the first three miles are nearly straight down into a very steep canyon and the next ten miles are fairly flat and straight in. But thirteen miles is thirteen miles and by the time you make it to the first waterfall you are ready to sleep on concrete. You don’t care if you have a tent or a pillow or even if you have a flat surface to sleep on. You are so blooming tired you could sleep on a park bench if they had one. There is a picture of me in some photo album asleep in the canyon after that grueling hike and I am on some paper-thin blue tarp sound asleep. I’m stinky, I’m dirty, and I probably drooled in the most exhausted peaceful I-don’t-even-care slumber. But, when I look at that picture I always smile because I know it was worth it.
Okay so, if you ask any missionary in the world there is a whole lot of waiting, transition, and travel in the process and none of those things are a whole lot of fun. Take today for instance: Phil worked a long shift at Trader Joes (alarm went off around 4 am) and then rushed to meet us at a doctor’s appointment in town, we had to grab dinner on the road (icky), then enjoyed sweet and rowdy fellowship with our LIFE Group this evening but had to scoot out early because Phil had a flight with a student. He’ll probably get home around 11:30pm and be so tired he could sleep on concrete. We rushed to put our kiddos to bed and there is a list of things that still need to get done tonight to keep our many plates spinning (I will probably get up with Solomon at least twice before 6am). Within that statement are a handful of real blessings and a handful of tough realities.
Blessings: 1. A job that puts food on the table. 2. A flight student which offers the blessing of income as well as flight time. 3. Fun kids to hang out with, even if it is in a doctor’s office 4. A church and a LIFE Group with people to love and be loved by. 5. The hope for the place and the people the Lord will allow us to serve as missionaries
Realities: 1.Transition times are really tough (weird jobs, weird schedules, and a slew of expectations from all kinds of people). 2.The Vana’s hit the bed these days so tired we could sleep on a rock and yet… we are.
The Rock of Christ
But here’s the deal. I recently read in a book for wives that we should never, ever indulge in self-pity. I think the line in the book went something like, “self-pity will kill you.” It’s sounds harsh, maybe even crass, but, it’s true. Self-pity will kill my joy and rob me of a proper focus. Phil read the same sentiment this week in “My Utmost for His Highest” and came to the same conclusion. No matter how much muscle it takes, I will muscle myself toward a God-centered joy and dwell upon the blessings (the people in particular) and refuse to allow myself the indulgence of self-pity. In the moments when we are truly physically exhausted but still have dishes to do or a baby to feed, this resolution can be tough. But in the moments like this evening when Adelina ever so gently and sweetly welcomed a new little girl to our LIFE Group…it’s as easy as pie. Or when a girl new to our church whom I gave my contact information to actually wants to get together and hang out. Or when Solomon smiles for the first time. Or when Jeremiah says a new word or looks at me with those piercingly beautiful almond eyes. Or when I get so excited about serving overseas that I literally dance in my house for joy (happened today).
God is really good. And that’s all that matters. He’s the point and whatever we’re doing and however we feel, we hope to point to Him so others can see what a really good God He is.
What’s the punch line? God is really good. The hike to Havasupai is really good but really tough. The sleep at the end of that hike is the best ever. And not long from now, Lord willing, we will be serving overseas. With that comes a kind of rest our souls are pining for but we know is on its way.
May you be blessed with good work, encouragement for your soul, and really great sleep.