That seems to be the theme of the past few weeks…slowly, progressively, our team is getting sick. It started with Courtney’s cold, now there are sinus infections which may be bronchitis, stomach bugs, and sore throats.
It’s upsetting, it’s frustrating, and it’s hard. Illness seems managable when it’s just you…but when you start adding it all together, 9 out of 14 seems sort of serious. And what’s worse is that none of us know why we’re getting sick. And what’s even worse (for me) is that I hate being sick. I hate it. And for right now, that’s what I am.
I laid in bed all day yesterday trying to avoid throwing up…and nothing was really making me feel better. I slept the worst of it off…but I still don’t feel 100%. I couldn’t/didn’t eat because, well, I was nauseous. So now I’m weak, exhausted, and still sick.
So I say all of that, not to complain or get pity, but to ask you all to pray – and pray hard. Being sick is bad enough. Being sick in a foreign country when everyone is busy or sick, too, is extremely unfortunate. So please, please be keeping the health of my team in your prayers. We need all the help we can get. Sometimes, being sick seems like the end – it’s kind of hard to see past it, especially when you don’t know what’s wrong. You don’t know how to fix it. The only thing I know to do now is pray, and I have been. But I need your help, too. We all do.
Other than that, life here has been incredibly challenging and entirely refining.And so rewarding. I have to admit, sometimes it’s hard to see it that way, but I’m so glad I’m going through this. I have never faced so much in such a short amount of time. It’s amazing. All of the things I thought I knew and understood about God, about myself, about Jesus and my faith are being shattered and pieced back together. I would go into more detail…but that could take days. And, let’s be real, some of that is sort of personal, dear readers.
Jesus has taught me about Himself and about me and about how we relate. He has taught be about being perfect (or, more aptly, about NOT being perfect) and about how He doesn’t expect or want that from me. It is through the hardest times that I have learned the most about grace and about His immense love for me and about how much He desires for me to enjoy Him. I feel like He is taking away all I “know” about Him – He is removing one of my biggest comforts: knowledge – and asking me to reveal myself to Him. And to trust what He reveals to me about Himself.
I have learned about the things I’ve always wanted to and have truly, truly experienced them. Not the things you can study, but the things only the privileged get revealed to them. I have learned that I am not privileged because I want to be, but because God treasures me. He really and truly does. He doesn’t just say He does so He can get me to do things for Him. He does treasure me because He is worth treasuring. I’m sorry if that doesn’t make sense to you. If it doesn’t, pray that it will. Because that is a lesson worth learning. Know God. Truly ask Him for Himself. He is better than anything I’ve ever wanted.
On another note, I’m excited about coming home. I was telling (shout out alert) Emily (or, as I always call her, “my best friend”) that I feel like God has protected me from homesickness. I haven’t really wanted to go home, but I’m also not wallowing in grief at the thought of coming home. I love being here and don’t want to leave one day earlier than I’m supposed to, but I’m also equally happy with the thought of coming home. I don’t know about you, but I see that as a huge blessing. To feel content and at peace with just one aspect of God’s plan for me is overwhelmingly reassuring.
Something else that God has been teaching me is to learn how to be thankful for what I do have. I was thinking the other day (stressing and worrying, really) about something that wasn’t happening when all of a sudden it occurred to me that so much was happening that I have to be thankful for. Rather than worry about what wasn’t happening and begging God for it to happen, I praised God for what was happening. It was in that moment that I experienced an overwhelming sense of joy at the thought that God is doing anything in my life. He doesn’t have to. But He’s choosing to. And that is so much to be thankful for!
Another thing that I want to be more and more thankful for is my team. I love these people. They are beautiful, amazing lovers of the Lord and they encourage me in more ways than they know. They are caring, smart, humble, etc, etc. They are each so unique, so young, so fresh in their faith, so persevering. I know I don’t always show it to them, but I am so blessed to know them. And Rachel, you little eavesdropper, you’re the coolest. I like sitting with you and listening to you talk…you’re so precious. (Cue the condescending pat).
And finally, here’s some scripture. Focus on verse 12. I don’t have anything to say about it. Just read it.
10 “But you are my witnesses, O Israel!” says the Lord.
“You are my servant.
You have been chosen to know me, believe in me,
and understand that I alone am God.
There is no other God—
there never has been, and there never will be.
11 I, yes I, am the Lord,
and there is no other Savior.
12 First I predicted your rescue,
then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world.
No foreign god has ever done this.
You are witnesses that I am the only God,”
says the Lord.
13 “From eternity to eternity I am God.
No one can snatch anyone out of my hand.
No one can undo what I have done.”
Keep us in your prayers. And keep fighting the good fight. It’s called a fight for a reason.