The past few weeks have been really great, intense, but none the less great. My sister Becky was here and it just felt so good to have family. It's hard because I love people and I love getting to know different volunteers that come through, but there's something about family that is just different.
I've had a year now since I haven't been to the states to see my family and friends. I've read the stories of so many missionaries that say don't stay longer than a year without taking a break, because it burns you out. Well it's very true! I love being out here, I love feeling fulfilled in my daily tasks and daily making an impact. But to be honest, between running a full-time non-profit and single parenting, there isn't much time to take care of myself or even be alone.
I've never written about it, nor talked about it much, except with a few friends and family. More then a decade ago I started having some very serious health issues. I'd been to countless doctors, natro-paths, done so many blood tests and not one person could identify what was happening with me. It wasn't until two years ago that I found a doctor that did the most detailed blood test I'd ever been through, and found that I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease, where basically my immune system attacks my thyroid (read more about it https://www.webmd.com/women/hashimotos-thyroiditis-symptoms-causes-treatments#1). It really has been over 10 years of so many different medications, scares of why my body wasn't doing what it should, praying for healing and truly believing God would help me.
I'm a worrier, it's one of my many flaws. I stress about everything knowing it doesn't do me any good, but none the less not really being able to control it. Something genetic, that I do believe I inherited. And yes, I do believe in taking everything to God and receiving strength from Him to make it through. But for some reason or another, it is my life's battle, my cross to bear, because lately the struggle has just gotten harder.
My sister and I were having a conversation a few days ago, about how we've somehow stopped living. Like truly living and enjoying life as it should be. We're in this constant fog of what life is supposed to look like or be. It's hard to want to enjoy life when your heart's been ripped out. When our mother passed away, it truly broke us. For me it's just easier burying it and focusing on helping others. But I'm learning that burying sorrow and not taking care of my health isn't going to help anyone, especially all the people out here that need help.
As I sit here and reread the above paragraphs, I keep asking myself should I really put it out there. Should I risk being vulnerable and open? It's a scary thing, letting people in on the deep of your life. But I do it with the hope that people stop judging me at first glance, and remember we all have a battle we're fighting. Just because each battle looks different doesn't mean it's any less significant to that individual.
In the group that was here, I got the chance to really know these young adults that I grew up in church with. Mind you, there's a 10+year difference, but it's been so interesting to see how God brings things full circle. Two of the volunteers I knew when they were very young. They had their older sibling get very sick, and I remember staying with her in the hospital in the hopes of relieving the parents. Their sibling died, and it was extremely sad and heartbreaking. They were too young to realize what was happening, but as we sat at one of our morning devotionals, they opened up about it. I'd prayed for the chance to talk to them about it, to see how they were really coping. Long story short is that we never know who we encounter in life, who we help and how that comes back to bless us later. I never thought I'd meet these then young kids, let alone have them serve with me in Uganda. It was so inspiring to see the labor of my fruit and willing heart truly impact lives not just here but also back home, and so so many years ago.
In the mundane of every day life, I get lost just pouring out. I don't mind it at all, or I wouldn't be doing it. But for a brief moment I looked back on my past and am so thankful for all the times I could help someone, but also for all the scars along the way. We don't become resilient overnight. It takes years of being knocked down and holding on to God for dear life to get back up again.
I hope this encouraged someone to step outside their comfort zone and maybe recognize new things within themselves. We can't grow or change into what God meant for us to be if we're not willing to be honest, vulnerable and let Him do what He knows best. I strive every day to let go and let God do what He needs to do. It's a battle, but one I'm willing to keep going through.