Overseas mom, you are doing better than you think.
You truly are.
You are sitting there with a cup of tea at the end of a long day. Another long day of survival that has made you feel more tired than you’ve ever felt before.
You are parked in a truck you may or may not be able to actually drive, sitting in front of an electric office while your husband spends an hour or two trying to pay the bill… and you are just happy to sit in AC for a short minute.
You might be hiding in your bedroom with a sweating glass of water hoping that the kids will be in bed by the time you peek your head out the door.
It’s okay. You are not alone in your exhaustion, your blessed moments of air conditioning or your hiding.
There are hundreds, thousands of us speckled across the globe in busy cities, faraway deserts and small country towns.
Overseas mom, you are a part of a collective army of women who feel extremely weak most moments of the day but in actuality are living the dream of God’s power at work in every single challenge, every single struggle and every single insurmountable mountain.
The weakness, the weariness, the impossibilities are part of the call. They are part of the journey. They are ways that God makes Himself known in the nations.
Just you wait and see…
Because the things you face are incredibly hard. The daily battles are intense. The mental fortitude required to just go to the grocery store or market is enough to make you google airline tickets or dream about some cabin in the mountains of Tennessee where you can sleep.
I know… just yesterday, I fumbled my way through a quite embarrassing time at the store… one guy telling my friend that he would teach me Wolof if she gave me to him… another guy not understanding my French and having to ask someone else what I was trying to say. I finally told one of the ladies at check out that, “uhm… it’s kinda hard with all the languages going on around me… and none of them are my language.” which was more like, “C’est tres difficile avec beaucoup de langue!”
I came home with the need for coffee and very little desire to practice any language.
You know. You’ve been there.
Overseas mom, you’ve faced so much and continue to daily push forward through odd, uncomfortable and sometimes unbelievable happenings.
Mornings that are too hot to drink coffee and too sticky to feel like eating.
Humidity that has you beat the second you feel it.
Church services that feel foreign and unknown.
Marriage on a whole new level of crazy… misunderstandings, miscommunications, stress, struggle, dependence, job descriptions… everything changed. different. new. and so hard. But you see a deeper connected relationship blooming out of the crazy, from the togetherness.
Weird health issues that force you into home remedies, google consultations, out-of-country doctor visits and sometimes flights home.
Hormones. enough said.
Helping your kids through change, goodbyes, hardship and growth.
Maybe allowing Jesus to lead your kids away to boarding school as part of their journey with him. Maybe learning to let go in ways you promised yourself you would never, ever do as a mom.
A roller coaster of highs and lows. Emotions that you can’t name.
Feeling alone and unusable.
Going slightly bonkers from the constant donkey, sheep, turkey, frog, bird, bug noises going on around you.
Recognizing the weight of poverty. The great dilemma of have and have-nots. The state of the world. And the inability to do much about it.
Feeling inadequate for the task but knowing with God ALL things ARE possible. Praying for the faith to power through, follow through and see God do amazing things.
The guilt of having so much more than the generations of people who’ve gone before you. Skype, Facetime, facebook. You have a connection with home that they could have never dreamed of, blessings they never knew or had during their work overseas.
Blessings that can sometimes be a major pain for workers all over the world. Social media brings with it a huge weight for us all.
Feeling so thankful for the opportunities that come with being a 21st century cross-cultural worker. Yet, feeling discouraged with so many ways to communicate. So many ways to be misunderstood. So many ways to have to juggle problems at home and problems on the field.
The inner battle to step OUT of the modes of technical communication and engage fully with a new culture. While feeling guilty for abandoning family, friends, supporters. While knowing the stress of balancing it all is exhausting and hurtful.
Trying to help your kids maintain family relationships and friendships while knowing how hard it is for them to keep one foot in two worlds as they try to build new relationships in your new country.
The guilt of aging parents at home, kids in another country for college, grandbabies you don’t see. Keeping eternity and heaven constantly in view. Daily reminding yourself to look up and see Jesus.
Feeling tired of having the same get-to-know-you and see-you-later discussion because the hellos and goodbyes happen so often.
Overseas mom… these things do not define you. They do not define God’s love for you. These challenges do not make or break you.
You can lay them all down at the cross, fully loved, fully enough, fully His.
Laying down the fear of a looming furlough, a coming itineration cycle, a long-awaited home assignment. Fear because you haven’t driven in a few years or preached in English or even put on makeup on a daily basis in a very long time. Fear because clothes are different and you’ll need so many things. Fear because just the thought of access to Chick-fil-a and Wendy’s and Chili’s has you gaining weight already. Fear of re-entering friendships and churches and having to explain again and again a term you aren’t even able to yet understand. Fear of walking your kids through another cultural shock, another school, another year of travel.
Laying down uncertainty with the many different theologies, belief systems, and Christian freedoms expressed just within your close overseas community.
Laying down the very real culture shock of exposure to so many new things, new ways, new beliefs and feeling very alone in your convictions and challenged to think big picture, the challenge to stay Kingdom minded.
Laying down the absolute gut rejection of the thought of packing or moving or transitioning again.
Laying down the hurtful attitudes of those not quite sure why you should have a voice as a newbie or the hurtful attitudes of those not wanting to listen to lessons learned after years on the field.
Laying down the pressure of living life in the spotlight, living a life on the giving of others, being good stewards of time and finances and doing your best to fulfill a call, walk a faith-journey in another country… one with lasting impact and true fruit.
Laying down language learning and cultural interactions.
Filtering it all through a different world view.
Knowing you can’t go back. There is only forward. onward.
And through ALL of that, you slowly begin to sense victories happening.
You feel a connection with women at church and even though the language isn’t there, you sense relationship.
You survive a long church service and feel energized rather than discouraged.
You connect with the vegetable lady, pray at your gate and hear an answer to prayer that her son was healed.
But those victories don’t negate the challenge. In fact, the challenge makes those victories all the sweeter because you absolutely know, without a doubt that Jesus stepped in and made you strong in that moment.
You face fear, grow in faith, hold on to hope with both hands and trust God to come through.
You, overseas mom, live these things. Daily.
You battle worry. You think through a million different ways the day could go. You make decisions about small and big things that both have great repercussions for your family.
You fight for peaceful moments. You cover your family in prayer, speak truth over them and shine light in dark places.
You shop, play, walk, go to places where the gospel may never have been heard, where a believer may never have yet arrived. You are positioned in a holy army of women around the globe who are walking the same path, the same journey in an answer to a holy call.
You, overseas mom.
You might not be strong enough or up to the task on your own. But the beautiful part of that is that Jesus is. And oh, He is with you, living in you and giving you exactly what you need for that moment in time.
So go. do. live. breathe. serve. walk. and most of all, love.
He is with you.
You are doing so much better than you feel, think or know.
another mom in the fight with you