I died a thousand deaths. [And then picked up my boxing gloves]

I can’t say it better than my dear friend JMTK put it in his most recent blog, so I’m not even going to try. But I will say, he hit the nail on the head in regards to life after doing long-term ministry overseas.

That’s one of the worst feelings- knowing that you’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It ain’t gonna happen.

Little did you know, mostly due to me being in and out [mostly in] the pit of despair and solitude, the waves are raging and the sea of life is rough. This quote-unquote season is rough. Faithful is asking me to trust Him, and to be honest, I haven’t. Since I’ve been in America [exactly 100 days], I’ve tried to plug myself into two different states and have visited 8 different cities. I’ve church hopped like nobody’s business. And don’t even get me started about the job searches {Immigration Officer at the London US Embassy, sign me up! ‘Cause nothing says “Welcome to the UK” more than having hot tea sloshed on my blouse by a bunch of angry people whom I just denied a VISA}.

In all reality, I’m tired of trying to figure out what’s next. I appreciate and love that so many people are willing to sit down an brainstorm ideas with me about potential jobs, living situations, etc., but I am overwhelmed with what’s behind the door the illuminated by the good ole’ red, white, and blue that the Lord just lead me through. As much as I enjoy funnel cakes and Christian Chicken, the buzz has worn off.  As JMTK stated perfectly, “The smoke has cleared, the ink has dried…and now I sit on the shore of my life skipping the past years into the foam like stones, wishing with each splash that I could dive in and pick them out again.”

I’m weary and exhausted. I’m tired from doing it in my own efforts for self-fullfilment, purpose and satisfaction.

[Here's my cycle I've been trapping myself in for the past 100 days] Starting point: unemployment which leads to feelings of lack of purpose mixed in with anxiety about finances, BUT then there’s the feeling of not only not fitting but feeling like I’m not supposed to be in Ohio or Memphis or wherever it is I’ve made camp that week. Again, I do know that I’m not made for here so I won’t necessarily feel that “sense of belonging” until Heaven, but I have this ever present feeling that being in Cincinnati isn’t where the Lord wants me, called me or even lead me. Which makes me a much bigger peg and Cincinnati a much smaller hole. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some amazing, sweet, gospel-centered believers in Cincinnati. I’m excited for what the Lord is doing here, I just don’t feel called to be a part of it.

So, what do I do? Look for a job in Cincinnati? If not, then where to? And doing what? But then I think, if I get a job then I’m trapped to a city and so far, I hate all of them! [I'm dramatic, but reallyyyy.... a commitment phobe]. And so the US Embassy job search continues with planning a month long escape to scope out how I feel about living in Belfast. [what?!]

I haven’t done this on purpose [but let's be honest, who ever really DOES do this on purpose?], I feel like I’ve tried to be the God over my own life the past 100 days. But in the true Christian, sinful spirit of justifying my sin, I needed to live somewhere. I had to make some kind of decision about where this little lamb would lay her head. It’s hard when you grew up in two states, half of your family lives in one city, you went to college and have community in another city six hours away and then you lived overseas for two years. Knowing where you should call your “base” gets tricky. Add reverse culture shock into the mix and you get one big dose of…. I can’t say. People will think I really dove off the deep end.

People, let me tell you. I long for the day that I can say, “Yes, that season was hard but the Lord showed Himself faithful.” Right now, in this moment I’m faced with, “Mary, you’ve been trying to run your own show. Are you ready to hand it back over to Me?” To which I sheepishly reply, “Yes, Lord. Please.”

I’m gripping, grasping and clawing at deeper faith of “Yes, this season is hard but the Lord is and will show Himself faithful.” I want to fight for that stance and will. I am not throwing in the towel just yet. Right now it feels as if my punches are packing very little heat, but I will fight the good fight of faith ’til the day of redemption because He is worth it and His kingdom is worth it.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare…

10 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into.” Jeremiah 29:4-7;10-14

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4 comments

  1. Hey, gorgeous lady.
    May God lead you and comfort you where you’re at.
    I feel like I’m in a similar place. Though certainly not the same. I have ‘a million things’ to focus on, but strangely enjoying learning heaps about myself and anxieties I’ve held. I am slowing right down.. Not by choice! I have a breathing condition and have been stressed to breaking point recently with a million questions.

    Perhaps find some quiet people you can enjoy praying with, and quiet time with the LORD. May He just provide it and show you the next steps.

    I want acting classes. I am learning so much (I hope I retain this) about how I come across to others, which has always stressed me out. Life has settled down a little, I took myself out of some things and I am around good people to the point that I am no longer so desperately lonely. I’m not on my treadmill to find God and people but appreciating that they’re here. Does all that make sense? Love you Mary. God bless you. I hope some of that is encouraging. xoxo

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