Learning (hard!) Lessons

This past week has been hard. But hard in a good way… if you know what I mean.
I’ve been struggling with homesickness quite a lot lately. And unfortunately, it has affected my entire outlook on life here.
My sister made a comment to me last week that really hit home. She mentioned that she feels as though I’m constantly pining for back home… and it makes her feel like I’m not happy to be here. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that I have had a complaining spirit for the last couple of weeks since I’ve been here. I have been missing home, and I’ve also been focusing on the negatives of life here… instead of the blessing we’ve experienced since being here.
I realized though, that this isn’t just something that applies to being here in South Africa… rather, this negativity is something that I’ve struggled with my whole life. I’ve always wrestled with a “grass is always greener” mentality. As I look back through my life, I can see so many times where I wasn’t happy somewhere, but instead convinced I would be happier elsewhere. When I allow myself to walk in that negative mindset, I miss out on my own life.
When I left my sister’s house after she made that comment, I was launched into a time of self-examination. I went to bed that night, praying that God would do a work in me and that He would reveal to me the core issue so that I could deal with this ongoing problem in my outlook. He confronted hardcore the next morning with a parallel in my daily life that couldn’t have been more dead-on. There are times when my husband approaches me to “be romantic” (want to be sensitive in how I word this) and in my mind, it couldn’t be a more inconvenient time. It’s a time when I have a million reasons for why it’s just not a good time… the baby is about to wake up, I have food on the stove, I’m exhausted from running after a 1 year old and being pregnant… you name it, I have the reasons. But, thinking in my mind that I want to be a dutiful wife, I accept… but only in body. My heart and mind are elsewhere. I perform the act in order to fulfill my duty as wife… but my heart isn’t in it. This happened that morning…
A little later that day… I heard God remind me of what had happened with Bryan that morning. I heard Him say loud and clear, that that is exactly what I have done with Him. I have acted dutifully toward God. I have obeyed Him in body by leaving country and friends and family and coming here to South Africa, but my heart is elsewhere. But God “doesn’t want our burnt offerings, He wants us to know Him. He doesn’t want our sacrifices, He wants us to love Him.” (Hosea 6:6) God wants my heart, more than He wants my acts of service… just as Bryan wants my love more than he wants my begrudging fulfillment of a wifely duty. I went to Bryan and apologized and confessed my sin to him. I told him that in future, when I feel it is an “inconvenient” time… I will tell him I need a few minutes to get my heart and mind right and when I’m ready I will love him with every fiber of my being… I said the same to God. I got down on my knees and confessed my sin and I asked him for another chance… a chance to be here with everything I am.
I don’t want to be looking back one day on my time here in South Africa, and see days of negativity, selfish pouting and homesickness… I want to see productivity, love and LIFE.. a life that I LIVED and didn’t let pass me by.
My sister told me this morning that she has already seen a change in my attitude. That was so encouraging because I do feel that a change has taken place. But not a change that I have made… but a change that I know God has made in me. I am praying that He will continue to implement that change daily.
In the meantime, I am waking with the sunrise, and looking out over my new world with excitement and hope for what each day holds. Knowing that even if my day only consists of housework and caring for my child, that I can still please God and bring Him glory in that act.
My sister and I have plans for the young mom’s group in the works. There are 3-4 girls whose names have been given to us that live in Khayelitsha. They are between the ages of 16-18 and they all have babies. We are planning on meeting the girls next week some time and setting up when would be best for them to have our first study. We are planning for once a month at first, but we may change that eventually. I am so excited to know that there are girls who need our encouragement and support! Leigh and I can’t wait to lay out our vision for this group and to begin brainstorming topics to teach on and discuss.
We had our ultrasound, and we are expecting ANOTHER BABY GIRL! We are so excited!!! Now my search for a midwife has begun!!! I’m excited to find someone and begin a relationship with the woman who will help deliver my daughter! Please pray for me in this process! I’ve chosen to go with a midwife this time around because OB-GYN’s in South Africa have a 95% C-Section rate (=NOT GOOD!)
Now we’re just praying about what we will name our new princess ;)
By the way, welcome to all my new followers! I’ve noticed a few of you who are new around here! Thank you so much for joining and I hope my stories about my life are encouraging to you! I look forward to reading your stories as I find the time.  I welcome comments always! I love to know  and “meet” who’s hanging out and reading about my life!
Oooo exciting fact… my sister and her husband have decided to spend a little extra and get high speed internet (a rarity here in South Africa!)… but they do video updates for their supporters so it’s totally worth it for their ministry. The great thing is that Bryan and I will get to use it when we are over there! So you can look forward to a few more frequent blogs from me!
Oooohhhhhhhhh and one more thing… please pray for my computer. Another missionary here tried to help me conserve internet time by turning off my automatic updates on my laptop… and she must have accidentally done something wrong because my computer won’t boot up now. It’s very hard because they don’t have Best Buy’s here or anything like that where I can just take it in and get it fixed… so I’m praying I’ll meet a nice Techie type person here who can help me out… VERY FRUSTRATING! Please pray. It’s hard not having my laptop and having to borrow Bryan’s all the time. Plus it’s just an expensive item that can’t just be replaced.
Okay… I’ve probably lost half of you by now!!!! Be Blessed!!!


KB said...

So good to hear an update from you!
Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable subject.
You are being prayed for and it is so good to see God's faithfulness in you!
Congrats on another little princess!!
Hang in there, and I can't wait to hear about how you are able to minister to these young mommas!

Ria Thurston said...

Claire!! I loved reading this and read EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. Thank you for your honesty as it has helped me today. Really!

Please keep sharing about this ministry and we'd love to see pictuers if you can :) Bless you!

Callie Nicole said...

Good perspective on attitudes - very insightful! Thank you for sharing this, and congrats on another little girl!

A Lil Story said...

wow, that is a great testimony... and I have been struggling with something similar lately, knowing that God wants my heart, not just a sacrifice of time or service. Thank you so much for sharing!

Praying for you and your family =)

~The Harrison Family~ said...

Oh Claire, you sure have a way with words that bless anyone that reads them. Really.

Thanks for sharing your heart in the most intimate of ways that you do. I love reading your updates and knowing how to pray for you.

Thanking the Lord He is teaching you new things all the time and you are quick to listen to His voice. Praying that He brings the perfect match for a midwife for you also.

Love from Michigan,

Colin Ryan said...

Love you baby sister... I'm so blown away by you. I want to see you, but we'll figure that out sometime. For now, know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, and that I care about you so much. Your honesty is so powerful. I'm proud of you.


Lindsey V said...

I am an American MK that has now lived in Johannesburg for the past 3 years with my husband. I understand the journey through homesickness and purpose, etc...send a shout out if you ever need to speak to someone who understands...