Finding My Place

Thank you all for your comments on my last post! I think I might have mentioned before that we have “pay as you go” internet so it’s been hard for me to feel connected to every one! Each of your comments were so encouraging and thoughtful. Thanks!
This week was our first real week of ministry. To be honest, it was hard. Our work here is with kids mainly, and it’s very hard to love on a bunch of kids when your arms/eyes are full with keeping up with a very active one year old of your own! I honestly came away from a couple of the “events” feeling very frustrated. It was very hard for me to feel useful when every 5 minutes I was pulling away to chase Peyton, change a diaper, rock her to sleep or feed her a snack. Also, school is out for the kids here right now (will be out for the whole duration of the World Cup) so most of the activities that Africa Jam is holding for them are during the morning.. during Peyton’s morning nap, so it’s very hard for me to try to juggle putting her to sleep and participating in the activities (and if Peyton misses that morning nap, I can basically kiss my entire day goodbye!) I had a couple nights this week where I just came home and cried with frustration that I can’t be the missionary I want to be. A few years ago I would have rushed to hug and hold each of those African kids, loving them and talking to them…. But I just can’t now. And it’s hard. I vented to Bryan one night and just told him that I don’t know why I’m here if I can’t be useful! But he just gently reminded me that I need to look at this move to South Africa as I would look at a move for his job… my main priority of course needs to continue to be my own children, and if I have to stay home a lot of the time, I don’t need to feel as though I’m not being useful… because I AM being useful… in the ministry that God has DIRECTLY given me through the conception of both my children. The director of Africa Jam said the same thing to me yesterday… I was feeling bad because my sister and I both had to duck out of an event at a Children’s Home to put our babies to sleep, and we felt like we weren’t being helpful… but the director pointed out that we can’t interrupt our child’s lives to do ministry. I feel like my mindset was corrected in a very freeing way this week.
I’ve decided to commit myself very lightly to ministry, because that is the best thing for my family. Not only will that allow me to be the best mother to Peyton (and to this unborn child who needs me to take some time to rest!) but I can also enable Bryan to work to the best of his ability by giving him a home environment conducive to handling his outside work load.
I hope you understand what I mean… Jess, you commented on my last post talking about the wife of your youth leader who ministered to you just by her example of being a good stay at home wife/mom. That was such an encouraging comment for me to read! I’ve been feeling like now that we’re here, I have to do it all… and be Super Mom AND the best missionary I can be… but I have to realize that God has given me my children and it’s my responsibility to care for them with my whole heart… and I do not want to EVER, EVER, EVER let my own children fall by the wayside while I throw all my efforts into other children.
Bryan and I are praying and seeking God’s will to what my ministry should be. I still want to move forward with the ministry for the young mom’s, and the great thing about that is that I could even host that in my own home! I am also praying about being a “weekend parent” to 2 young girls (ages 15 and 11). They would come on the weekends from the Home they live in (a home for children who have been removed from their parents) and this would be a safe place for them to spend weekends. I’m not sure, to be honest if that would be taking on too much, so I’m just praying about it right now.
I’m also excited to hear that there is a Missionary Mom’s Group in our town! It takes place on Thursdays from  10-12! The thing I’d missed most about being at Bethany was the amazing Mom’s Group we had and the support I felt when I was there. So to hear that there is a Mom’s Group for missionary mom’s here, is such good news. I know that I will find other mom’s there who have been through all this before and can offer wisdom and advice.
It’s a daily journey to adjust to life here, but God is so good.
Last night we had a little bit of a scare… Bryan and I went to bed around 10:00 and about 10 minutes after we laid down, we heard a very loud bang downstairs. Moments later, our home security system alarm went off. (like ADT, but called Chubb… many of the homes here have them installed because of the crime rate here) Bryan whispered to me to get the baby and get behind the bed… He came as well, and we huddled there just waiting… the alarm was so loud and my heart was pounding out of my chest… all I could do was pray! I honestly thought someone was going to come storming through that door, and I prepared myself for the worst! I had no idea what had caused the bang or what had caused the alarm to go off… moments later we got a phone call from the security office to ask if we were alright, we told them we were scared to leave our bedroom and they said they would send over the armed response. We didn’t hear any more noise in the house, but were still frightened to go downstairs. In about 3 minutes (which seemed like AN ETERNITY!) three armed guards came to our house… They came in and searched the house (and Bryan went down to meet them) well, embarrassingly enough, something had fallen in our living room and the motion of it falling had set off the alarm!!!! The guards laughed with us, but we were all relieved I think to find that it wasn’t a real intruder!!!! It took a while for us all to calm down… but I have to say, even though it was a false alarm, I went to bed thanking God for His protection and for men like those guards who make it their job to protect people from harm.
Right now Bryan and Andy are at a township working with kids who are off from school this week. Leigh and I are both at our own homes with the babies this morning after a busy morning yesterday at the Children’s Home. I better go and get lunch started for Peyton.
Hope you’re all doing well! I haven’t been able to read much of your blogs because of our internet situation, but if I make to an internet café at all this week, I’ll be sure to get updated!

Much Love!


Stephanie M. Page said...

HI Claire!

I have tears in my eyes, because I can relate!! Your role in ministry changes when you have your own babies, and that can be soo hard. Keep remembering that the best way to leave your mark in this world is to pour into your children. HAve you ever read a mOthers heart? THat book reallly helped me when I was on the mission field with my first.
love and prayers

Melissa Reiner said...

Oh Claire .. I've been eagerly reading along on your journey, and I remember to pray for you and Leigh and your families all the time. While I'm not a missionary overseas, I can definitely tell that you I know what it's like to have kids "hold you back" from doing missionary work. The wisdom and advice you have been given is right on. You are shaping children that will change the world someday, and you are doing exactly what God has called you to do!

Jess said...

I am so glad to read that you have been encouraged by everyone. I know that South Africa has been on your heart for some time and you're there! Ministry comes in so many forms (remember the yg spiritual gifts retreat in 2004? hospitality is a spiritual gift), but ALL of them carry a clear presence in Christ. I will continue pray for you as look for God's guidance and assurance as to how he will use your gifts for the Africa Jam mission. Praying for all of you.

Runningmama said...

Hi Claire...just hopped over from Krystle's blog "And These are but the Fringes". I have read a little bit of your blog and love it and find what you and your husband are doing is quite amazing! I am your newest follower!

Kelli @

partialemptynester said...

As your newest follower, I want to tell you how much your ministry will mean as the years go by! You might think that you are doing nothing by taking care of your precious ones and taking care of your home...but by allowing your hubby to be the head of the house, you are able to be the heart of the years to come, you will look back on these years and see the garden of opportunity that God is planting the seeds in now...this Mom's group will open doors that your hubby would not be able to open without a a single man, his ministry would only be so fruitful, but with a family God will be able to add to his ministry 100-fold! My mom and dad were married at 17 and 19 years old, had three kids by the time they were 21 and 23 and lived in Pakistan as missionaries...they've been married 54 years and are still an amazing lifetime examples of mom was definitely the heart of the home and we all knew we were loved and a vital part of their ministries...your kids will, too! You rock, my precious new bloggybuddy! I will be praying for you and your family...oh...and we were in Tehran in 1978 when Khomeini took over, I had to laugh at your "scare" that you had the other night...we had many similar instances growing up...God has an amazing sense of humor and uses it to let us know HE IS THERE! LOVE YOU ALREADY!!!!!