Every time I return from the United States, I take an emotional roller coaster ride. I’m not very fond of roller coasters anymore. I remember my dad sacrificially going to amusement parks with me when I was a teenager. At my request, of course. Now, I am very content to go for a walk with my dad or have a nice chat. Roller coasters are way to dramatic. This time, after returning from America I needed some help to level out my emotions and sort out all the mixed-up feelings that come with yo-yoing between cultures and my people. Note that “my people” include blood relatives and my chosen overseas family.
Part of the help I received came on a walk with a trusted friend. She discerned that I was struggling and asked some questions. I decided to be authentically real and share.
Insightfully, after listening to me this friend pointed out that I have had 3 significant recent losses, but also have been given 3 important things to do (that I am passionate about). I was so touched by her thoughts. The three losses were our children leaping out the next in rapid succession, the loss of my clinical work in Indonesia, and the loss of finishing studying. All things that I loved/love. Gratefully, the Lord has given me 3 things to do that have given me focus and joy. These important things are: working with refugees, developing a forgiveness program to be used in the Middle East, and working with pastor’s wives and women.
I don’t care for math, nor am I good with numbers, but I can understand 3 losses: 3 gains. Somehow this comforts me. And it gives validity to this season.
I would love to share with you more about the gains. This week I was honored to sit in a 2 meter by 2 meter “home” and give the dignity of a job to another refugee woman. My eyes brimmed with tears several times as I heard her story (coming soon). This week I additionally was honored to trial session #2 in the forgiveness program with 6 Lebanese young adult girls. It was so touching to see tears and deep emotion on several of the girls faces. One asked to talk with me afterward and trusted me with her heart. Also, this week I had the opportunity to hold a women’s event with hats that represent the many roles that women have. These are all fresh examples where I am getting to work in my areas of passion.
However, much more happened this week like an emergency at the University where I was called in to work with a student who was experiencing severe pain. Yesterday, I texted a young adult telling him I was his “fake Mom”. He endearingly responded that I was his “Faith Mom”. I was so touched by his response, because his real Mom would not understand the decisions he has made. Also, this week I had the privilege of taking visiting doctors around Lebanon and seeing with their eyes afresh different beauties and aspects of Lebanon that are easy to overlook when living here a long time.
I think the math calculations are not accurate. 3 losses yes, but the gains are feeling like much more than three…I mean, being a Faith Mom is priceless. And working with a girl through her pain is precious and leading people on journeys of forgiveness is beyond measure. Mentoring other young adults is thrilling.
Gratefully, I am no longer at the amusement park and the roller coasters are just a memory. Now, I am focused once again on the tasks at hand and honored to be used by God in the Middle East. For sure, more thriller rides are ahead, but for now I’ll enjoy the scenic train ride.
Thank you as always for your prayers and your interest. I am humbled that you care enough to read and want to know what is happening. May you be encouraged as you press on and if you happen to be at the amusement park, I hope the rides are just the ones you like. Until next time….Courage!