Jan 3, 2008

Being Real

Freezing on the Great Wall!
Left to Right: Chris (Jacob's oldest brother), Jane (Chris' wife), Carrie, Jacob, Aaron (Jacob's youngest brother).

Today we dropped off Chris, Jane, and Aaron at the airport. Now that they are on their way back to the States, you'll probably hear a little more from us on the blog. We were taking a break from all things electronic to spend time with them. :) Having them here was such a blessing and a joy and an encouragement. We're really going to miss them.

Leaving them at the airport was really hard. Last month when we left my parents, it was also hard -- but I was encouraged by the fact that in another month, we'd have more visitors from home. Now, we're facing a several month stretch until we see any family. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be so difficult. We've gone 5-6 months without being around family before. But, it is hard here. Everything is hard here.


I think we hit a wall. When I was in High School, I ran long-distance track. In the Texas Panhandle, running long distance track means learning to run in gusty winds. We runners used to talk about "the wall" -- a point in the race when you would come around a corner and you'd be faced with the full force of a strong wind. You'd be running directly against it, and compounded with the fact that you'd already be exhausted from the general pace of the race, this point in the run seemed nearly impossible to get through. To be totally and painfully honest, that's how we feel right now -- exhausted, discouraged, worn-out, and struggling to keep going. We really want to pack up our bags and high-tail it home most days, but we know we wouldn't be leaving for the right reasons. So we stay...

I'm sharing this in a public place like our blog because we need your thoughts. We also want others to know that this is a very real part of moving overseas, because I believe that what we're going through is "normal," and for those who might be considering a similar move, it is important to be prepared. We haven't figured out all that causes these feelings, but some of the factors include: continued sickness (the latest is that Jacob got pink eye, of all things!), and feeling a little useless in our day-to-day life and jobs.

Being sick all of the time takes a toll on you emotionally. It is exhausting... As for the feeling useless part; that's mostly the result of the fact that we're feeling like we take up more space and resources than we give back. I think that is hard to explain effectively... in short, we are completely reliant on other people here. We need help for everything -- even ordering at a restaurant! On the flip side, what we contribute to the organization where we are serving seems fairly insignificant to us. It isn't that they are telling us that; it is just that in comparision to our previous jobs, we aren't really carrying our "full weight" around. This is difficult, especially in light of the fact that some people from back home are helping support us financially, and that people here at our organization are providing us so much assistance to get through our daily life.

Another huge part of this is just feeling empty and dry spiritually. For those of you who are believers, maybe you have gone through an experience in life like this. Neither Jacob nor I have experienced it to this magnitude before. We are far from home in a very strange land, and we're feeling a bit abandonded... We know on a cognitive level that He is still here and that He did bring us here; we're just not "feeling it" at the moment.


We're just trying to set our eyes on Him and keep running forward. Please hold us up as you think about us...

5 comments:

Nora Glenys said...

Give thanks for the spiritual dryness. It will be so wonderful when it's over you will wonder how you ever felt it in the first place. I check your blog daily and pray for you always. I feel as if your in the next room as close as the computer. It must feel like another planet to you. Your never forgotten.

Love, Pam

guatmommatobe said...

Hi Carrie,
I so love to read your blog and see what you and Jacob are up to. I lift you both up regularly and I know that you will be filled beyond belief before you know it. It is hard not knowing what the future holds and feeling more like a burden than a help but you know you are there for a reason and you know you were led there. Camp out on that and know there is a plan...you just have to be present for it! He'll take care of the rest!
Love,
Tiffany

Jenny Fridge said...

Carrie & Jacob,
We just returned this September with our precious daughter from China. I cannot tell you how often in a day my heart and mind thinks of China (and you). I will look at the clock and consider what time it is there. I remember the faces & imagine the day I go back. So much of our Mei Lynn's early days will always belong to China, so my heart can't help but be tied there too. I can't begin to know how hard it must be, but I will tell you that you are the hands and feet for those of us who aren't able to do what you are doing. I will pray.
Jenny

Sally said...

Hey Carrie and Jacob:
It means a lot that you would have the courage to be real on your blog. It helps us know how to best support you. Be assured you have all of our love and prayers. Keep running.
Love,
Sally

Vince and Sharon said...

That's a great picture. What makes it great is that if you click on it you notice that 90% of the picture is in the background. It's a beautiful, foggy, kind of surreal scene, but it goes almost completely unnoticed because our eyes are drawn to the people in the foreground.
Our lives are like that. When we're sick, or discouraged, our eyes and spirits are drawn to the foreground, to the big things that are immediately noticeable. But it's the 90% in the background that's the beautiful part, we just don't notice it while we're stuck on that foreground.
You don't have to wonder if you're pulling your weight -- if you're being obedient (and we know you are), then you're pulling all the weight you've been asked to pull. You might be asked to pull more in the future, but this is something of a 2 Cor 9 moment -- you're being helped out of their abundance so that in the future you can help them out of yours.
Keep your eyes on the *whole* (dare I say "Big"?) picture.

We love you both!

Vince and Sharon

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