The Wall

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Today was that day that you just think to yourself, ‘Can this be over now?’  I have been struggling to identify what I have been going through these last two weeks.  I have been told depression, selfishness, culture shock, 3-4month slump (later attributed to culture shock), that ‘you just need time to yourself’ busy lifestyle.  But that’s just it, what I feel doesn’t fit into a box.

Culture shock.  The word just rubs me the wrong way, like velvet.  It’s like soggy, moist, or dismissive phrases (“so, anyways”).  I don’t feel upset about Polish thought processes (soon is when exactly?), lines in the mall (it is my personal bubble, not your cut in line), not being able to read labels (whole wheat flour is what grade of mąka pszenna?), or being told what to do (get some gloves on that baby, it’s cold outside!).  The only thing about the culture that is frustrating, really isn’t even about the culture; I can’t communicate.  I don’t speak the language.  I think it’s just the wall.

In the last two weeks we’ve gone through visa issues, miscommunications, a 36-hour out of the country trip, work complications (thankfully mostly ironed out), potty-training wins and losses, I(Brad) have ripped all of my jeans, and my Aunt Carmen passed away.  I like to think that all missionaries are on fire for God, solid foundations of the church, spiritually disciplined apostles oozing with the Holy Spirit.  The kind of person you feel their presence before they enter the room.  In these two weeks I have felt more like ooze at the rest stop that makes you think you can hold it just one more stop…maybe you don’t have to go that bad after all.  I think it is important for people to know (not my foul odor) that we are all human and life is full of unfortunate realities, none are exempt.

Yet, it’s more than that.  Paul recognized in Ephesians (6:11-13) that it’s not always a physical battle we endure, but a mental-spiritual one.  God wants us to seek Him.  God wants us to trust Him.  God wants us.

We have hit the wall.  We stand.  We surrender.

…and after you have done everything, [to] stand.  Ephesians 6:13

This is where my choice lies before me.  I must choose to attempt to conquer the wall by my will or stand firm in the peace of God, allowing Him to remove the wall, build the doorway, knock it over, or do what His will is. When I look back, the beauty of hindsight, I can see the impromptu alone time with Michelle, the financial blessing and life-experience of parenting without diapers (safety net reminders anyone?!), the reminders that I am willing to get down on a knee to look my children in the eyes and that I love and want to engage my children.  The reminder that God is love, God knows best, and sometimes what we want is not always God’s plan.  Yes, life is full of unfortunate realities that none are exempt from, but we are given the promises of hope and life everlasting.

Michelle and I talked briefly tonight after a day of exhaustive struggle.  I didn’t want to hear what she had to say, but God’s wanted me to hear; so I listened.  God called us to Poland, and so we are here.  God is using us to minister to the church, the coffee shop, believers, and non-believers.  No matter the struggle that I am going through, God is there. Be comforted that sometimes we just need to stand and let God be God.  Sometimes we just need to let God be more.

Pray.  Stand.  Conquer.