Tomorrow is our anniversary. Eight wonderful, difficult, amazing, challenging, blessed years. Full of ups and downs (mostly related to our circumstances, not our relationship). We were going to celebrate by going to dinner tonight. But then all the things happened.
We found out the car repair is going to cost at least ten times as much as we thought (yes – no exaggeration – ten!). Our neighborhood kids behaved terribly for us and our team who came to put on a really fun VBS for them this week. And then there is the heat. Which causes the sweat. Which never stops. Which saps all the energy. And all the little spaces in the day that weren’t filled with sweating profusely, being overwhelmed about the car or frustrated by the kids who were running away as we tried to talk them into behaving and listening—shut up and listen to the message about God’s love!—all those moments were filled with smaller things made bigger by the weight of the rest of the day.
And it all just left us feeling defeated. Sticky. Exhausted. Unable to force ourselves to get cleaned up, dressed up and go out to dinner somewhere nice to celebrate.
And the reality is, being a missionary looks like this sometimes. It’s exhausting and frustrating and discouraging. Problems that seem insurmountable crush us, and kids we thought were progressing take five steps backwards. This is not one of those days we write about in our newsletter because we don’t want our readers to think the sky is falling and we’ve lost all hope.
But it’s the kind of day that needs to be talked about more often. Before I became a missionary, I thought missionaries were perfect…well, maybe not completely perfect, but definitely way more perfect than I was. I envisioned them humbly and joyfully leading others to Christ everyday, unhindered by any difficult circumstances surrounding them. Now that I am a missionary, I realize how many and how overwhelming the circumstances can be. So much so that instead of going out for a steak dinner tonight, we’ll probably have hot dogs (for the third night in a row). All the things can take you down.
But you get back up. Because tomorrow’s a new day. And you’ve heard and you’ve learned and you’ve seen that God’s mercies are new everyday. That he will never leave us or forsake us. That he will provide for our every need. That those kids who were distracting all the others today might one day be the ones that are leading all the others to Christ. We may be struck down, but we are not destroyed.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”