Hard Lessons Learned

Hard Lessons Learned

Today I spent a good 30 minutes crying on my bathroom floor. When I first accepted this call as a missionary, I thought many things:
1) I will be changed, but will change others more.
2) Because this is a calling, I won’t look back.
3) Because I am intelligent and well educated, I will do my job well.
4) My faith will grow through this experience.
5) I will be here for many many years.
6) Old demons and struggles of mine from years past will not haunt me again.

6 months in, I have come to discover many things.
1) I am learning way more than I am teaching, and I teach a lot.
2) Before coming here, I’ll admit I idolized Rwanda and was a little rough on America sometimes. Being here, I’ve seen things about Rwanda both more beautiful and terrible than I had known before. But I’m even more surprised at how God has changed my relationship with my home country. He has given me a sense of pride in where I come from, with it’s problems and all. He has given me a sense of gratitude for my church and family that I previously took for granted.
3. Running a school is hard work. There are a lot of aspects of my job that I am super amazing at. There are others that I am not. I’m humbled by my lack of experience. I’m being shown that while God has gifted me greatly in educating and leading, my forte is not and continues to not necessarily be managing, though I give it my best daily.
4.) My faith flounders all the time. Being here in the center of God’s will for me is not enough. I still have to actively pursue him daily as he actively pursues me.
5) I might never come back to the United States. I might come back in 3 years. I might come back at the end of this year. I cannot plan. I am open to listening to what I feel I’m being asked to do, whether that means being homesick or looking like an idiot for not being gone nearly as long as expected.
6) Wherever you go, there you are. The struggles that have plagued me for many years follow me wherever I go. Demons I hoped were behind me have resurfaced and require me to fight, even in a place where they are not understood. Hence, the crying today.

But as I sat crying, I also ironically felt a lot closer to God than I have in a while. I just kept praying, “Use it for your glory. Use it for your glory. Use all my misconceptions, all my inexperience, all my naivety, all my hard work, all my love, all my struggles, all my sickness, all my uncertainty, all my failures, use them for your glory.”

To tell you the truth, I have no idea what God is doing. I don’t know if he’s training me and preparing me to better serve this school long term, or if he used this school as a way to get me to this country so he can show me somewhere else he wants me to serve here. I don’t know if he is using my time here to change Rwanda more, or affect those in America following and praying for me, or just to change me. I don’t know if he wants to soften me to living in America again, or teach me to love a new home. I don’t know.

But I know that game I have played with these children has brought a smile to them.
I know that every new Bible story they have heard from he has enriched them.
I know that every long hour put in has helped coworkers have more peace.
I know that my friendship has been a blessing to the other missionaries here.
I know that nothing has been wasted. And nothing will be.

So why the picture of 7 year old me? Because I love this photo. I have this peace on my face. God is with that girl. God has a purpose for that girl. And, “the LORD will fulfill his purpose for me, his love endures forever.” Psalm 138:8 So let him continue to work in me, however that looks.


2 thoughts on “Hard Lessons Learned

  1. Sarah,
    Please don’t think of hitting me because of this response! But, I see God all over what is going on in your life. It really can be God’s instrument to achieve all that you hoping for, it will eventually build your faith and teach you so much of who God is.

    I don’t say this lightly or am I trying to say I am an expert in what you are suffering. I just know that God does some of His best work when He blesses us with times of not being able to do it ourselves and really needing to depend on Him.

    So, Sweet Sarah, Keep on keeping on! He will get you there! And when you look back you will be amazed at what He has taught you through all the pain!!

    Bob and I are so proud of you for how you have stretched yourself and sought His provision in the midst of it!

    Be blessed to be a blessing,
    [CTEN May 2013 Office pic corrected thumbnail]
    God does nothing but by prayer, and everything with it. John Wesley
    Pastoral Care
    [Cten Logo]

    1. Beth Moore shared this quote from Abraham Joshua Heschel: “Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart. Audacious longings, burning songs, daring thoughts, an impulse overwhelming the heart, usurping the mind — these are all a drive towards serving Him who rings our hearts like a bell.” Stand firm in the faith — the faith that He gave you in your baptism and the faith that He will sustain in you through every hard lesson . . . and through every joy! Know that the Savior loves you with an unfathomable love, Sarah. We are praying for you.

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