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Part A: Breaking the Cycle

31 Dec 2015

I haven't posted in over a month (shame) and I've been really having a hard time thinking about what to write next, but I now understand what “writers block” is all about! It’s been driving me crazy, which also made it easy to push it to the next day, then the next day, then next week, and so on. I’ve been procrastinating. 

 

It’s been important to me to not just write for the sake of entertainment. Every post I write, I really take my time with. I use it as my opportunity to really focus and reflect on specific points that have been going on and praying through it all, talking to God, listening to what He may be teaching me through all this, and just attempting to figure life out even when God seems to be silent in my prayers for what feels like weeks at a time. Or so I thought. 

 

I’m actually quite glad that I have had a month to work on my next bit of writing. And if I may be honest, in ways I feel like I’ve been ignoring God a bit. My own self inflicted Writer’s block. Anyone else catch them selves doing that sometimes? Ignore God? Meanwhile in me doing so, I had been feeling very anxious and felt pushed to finally snap back into focus.

 

Being here still feels sort of like a dream. But I constantly sit on the fence between hurting, as a result of being so far away from family and friends, but then I also feel so comfortable and really feel more at home in this exciting adventure. An adventure I never thought I’d be the one to experience. Growing up it always seemed that everyone was getting these cool trips and I was stuck at home (sorry mom and dad, totally not your fault, just an emotional moody teenager at the time and living with my own personal consequences). Finally this is my turn. My own personal adventure that I am BEYOND honoured to be experiencing with my two kids and my husband. Wow! To finally realize that God has been preparing us our entire lives until recently. This feels like such a special surprise.

 

When Chris and I take the girls for walks outside and see the views, the old buildings, listening to the accents, walking alongside stonewalls and cobblestone streets, everyday remembering to take an umbrella with us because it rains often,  I pinch myself in disbelief that we actually made it here. After everything we went through, be it all the stress, working out finances, intense praying, sincere trust in the unknown plans of our Great God, ridiculous amounts of forms to fill out, finger prints and photos to be taken, packing up our entire life, saying good byes, resigning in life as we knew it at home. ALL THAT HYPE and then suddenly we are here. We finally made it to the destination that brought on all that chaos. The worries, the tears, the stress, those intense moments with God, juggling family life, and those “pinch me I’m dreaming” feelings when I see my surroundings now that we are here, all seems to be a distant memory some days. And then now being here brings all news worries, stresses, anxieties, but more so, much happiness, fullfillment, thankfulness, peace, and joy. We’ve become better adjusted, we have started new traditions, we have friends that we’ve made, a church we attend, a grocery store we shop with, a school our kids will be attending. We’ve become comfortable again, we’ve set roots, we’ve created a home. But why do I feel sort of like I’ve stopped listening to God suddenly?

Have I become emotionally numb to the thoughts of things back home? The people I miss, the lifestyle I knew?

Why do I feel like I am trying to resist what the Lord is teaching me?

Have I become so used to pushing aside my emotions so I can put my family’s emotions before mine that I just can’t seem to see and hear God clearly?

Why?

I’ve really struggled with all this the last couple weeks. As I’ve been trying to seek God for some answers, He’s been reminding me of the things I’ve “missed focused” on but the answers were always there.

 

We really love being here. And of course we miss home too, but for me personally, I feel so at home here. I feel good, I feel like I am in my place. It seems bizarre to hear me say it because I have always been the severely homesick type. SO that leads me to believe that we are exactly where God wants us in this new season of growth. But I almost feel like we’ve had so much emotional and spiritual growth in the last year especially in the last 4 months, that I’m just…tired. I need a break from learning. I'm feeling a bit weary. As I’ve been allowing myself to get to that point of thinking, suddenly all this negative mind set starts creeping in such as worry, doubt, depression, anxiety, lack of trust, self doubt and so on. It’s like I have let down my barrier a bit. 

 

I’ve been told that there are phases of culture shock one goes through when making a major transition in life. 

  1. ELATION (aka. honeymoon stage) - Stimulation of differences of things unlike at home i.e. sights, and sounds. (my own emphasis; Super excited, totally in awe, living in a new country, holy crap! Waahooo!)

  2. RESISTANCE - Constant comparison of back home to where you are living now. (no emphasis needed, it just happens, but you either make it positive, or negative)

  3. TRANSFORMATION - Feeling more familiar with your new environment and beginning to see the good sides in the new country you live. This transition typically happens at around 6-9 months. 

  4. INTEGRATION - Cultural barriers are bridged. Individuals finally learn to appreciate both their own heritage and the new way of life.

 

...I was fully prepared for and not naive to these stages and since being here I clearly see how God prepared me with very specific things, moments and situations beforehand so I could be ready and be on guard for not only myself but also for my children and for my husband. I have been going through these stages but much quicker than expected. That, once again, just leads me to believe even more that where we are right now is right where God wants us. 

 

BUT in ways I don’t think that these “phases of culture shock” is entirely what is going on. With every fibre of my being, everything within me knows and agrees that our family is exactly where God wants us, but Satan is trying to get a foot hold with in my moments of feeling weak and tired. I am in a spiritual battle. But the closer we draw ourselves to God the more Satan wants to try and debilitate us and trip us up and set up spiritual barricades to lead us into a different path of thinking or of feeling. But my God is more sufficient than those negative emotions. Since even before we moved as I was, consciously, being prepped to leave God has been speaking into my spirit, even now “Get ready. Be ready." 

Ephesians 6:10-20 "Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all the armour that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil's tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armour that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.

Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God's justice protect you like armour. Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Let God's saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God's message that comes from the Spirit.

Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God's people. Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news. I was sent to do this work. So pray that I will be brave and will speak as I should."

 

It’s made me realize that in every aspect and area of our lives, whether we have it all together with God or not, whether we feel like life is good or tough, whether we always seem to coast on the waves of God’s grace though the rough bits, or whatever we feel like we are constantly drowning, Satan see’s these moments of “weakness" and attempts to plant those seeds of doubt, worry, anxiety depression, and so on. THOSE ARE LIES! That's when you need to rmember and believe more than ever that you are right where God wants you.

 

John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. The one who abides in me while I abide in him produces much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.

 

4. John 15:16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.

 

You are nothing without God. You can not do life without Him whether you believe this or not. You are here. You are a product of His perfect creation. 

I personally need Him, always. I trust Him with the protection of my family when I cannot not protect, or when I need sleep. I trust Him to help get me where He needs me and wants me. I trust that where I am what I go through are not always His Will but becomes His Will. It takes effort on my own part too. I work with God and He works with me. We are a team. God is your team. Yes, there are things that happen in life that we just cannot make any sense of but thats why all it takes is faith like a mustard seed.

Matthew 17:20 "He said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you."

 

Another verse that has been resonating in my spirit for some time now is Philippians 3:12 "I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize."

 

Aside from being a mother and being a wife, I know at my potential holds more than just that. Otherwise, why am I here? Why did I let go of my own control to let God take complete hold of the reins on my life?

 

I’m sure many of us can attest to this —  wondering if we are meant for big things. If we have a purpose. If God will use us. Sometimes is easy to feel so small in insignificant and wonder how on earth you are capable to do big things. But God places dreams and desires in our hearts for a purpose, and those dreams and desires may require a big leap, big faith, big steps, but it wouldn’t be

there if it wasn’t supposed to be big. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Nothing is impossible with God. If He agrees with your desire, it will happen. And it may not always make sense as it comes to pass but if I have learned anything lately it is that God did not bring you this far to fail you. He’s got you.

 

There is a season for joy and weakness but my God is faithful. Today I choose joy, I choose to be thankful, I choose to give praise and rejoice my Heavely Father for all these things He has done thus far in my life and in my journey. My journey has just begun. And if God has been doing all this wild shinannigans in my life for 2015, I am really curious to see how His plans will unfold for our family for 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

YOUR journey has just begun. How will you choose to live it?

 

     Bethany 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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