Wednesday, January 19, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Why I NEED to GO

As promised, here’s my blog full of thoughts, struggles, etc that I had before we left. I'm being really honest here and telling you what I've REALLY been thinking, just in case you think I'm some super Holy Christian who doesn't struggle with this sort of thing. Because, I am SO not.

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Everyone keeps asking me if I’m excited about going to Thailand, and I know what answer they’re expecting. But I can’t lie. I’m NOT excited.

One reason I'm not excited is I’ve been dealing with my own crap emotionally/mentally. For the past 3 and ½ months I’ve been working almost every day, night, and weekend for The Sound of Hope to try to get things set up for us to leave (as well as trying to pack/prep for our trip) so I haven’t really had time to journal or process a lot emotionally. Which is not a good thing for me, the 100% “feeler” according to my Meyers Brigg personality test! But what I do know is, as the trip has gotten closer I’ve been going through more and more feelings of fear and abandonment. And that’s probably the BIGGEST reason why I’m not excited.

When it comes to fear, it’s just been 2 or 3 things I’ve been thinking about (which is proof of GROWTH, b/c fear used to be my worst issue!) Things like…..

1) The fear that our house will burn down. Maybe that sounds silly and irrational, but I’ve had 2 friends who had house fires in the past year, and the home we live in is old. There is just this fear that all the things I’ve left behind will be ashes when we return. And yes, it’s just STUFF, but it’s OUR stuff that we’ve put together for our first home and for our life together! And no, there’s really nothing of value there….but how do you place a dollar amount on your photographs, journals, and keepsake Christmas ornaments you’ve collected all your life?

2) The fear that I won’t get better. I’ve had parasites for probably 2 years now, and I’ve been really sick for about 9 months. After 3 doctors visits, 2 rounds of antibiotics, and a 30 day (300 pill) treatment, I’m still sick. And being sick in a foreign country is about the most miserable thing there is!!! So, we are continuing to pray for healing and believing that God can and will make me whole….but this is my reality right now and it’s a scary one.

3) The fear of losing my Grandfather. He’s my last grandparent left and he hasn’t been in the best of health the past few months. I won’t list a lot of details here, but I have had to come face to face with the fact that he could pass away while I’m gone. And that’s a hard truth to face, and a painful thought. To imagine him dying without me being there to say goodbye…or to be at his funeral… or to be there for my Mom and the rest of my family just makes me cry! But Jesus said, “Let the dead bury the dead”. He made it clear that we are to do what we are CALLED by God to do, without any excuses. And so, we couldn’t let that hold us back.

So, that brings us on to ABANDONMENT.


They say that abandonment leads to brokenness, and brokenness leads to dependence on God. Sounds like an nice little saying, right? What they don't mention is how much that brokenness hurts!

For the past couple of weeks, ABANDONMENT & BROKENNESS has been staring me right in the face. Suddenly I'm faced with all I'll be missing while I'm gone!

First of all, there's my family and friends. It's a scary thought to realize that if anyone got sick, hurt, etc I'd be half a world away! And that I can't just pick up my cell phone and give them a call whenever I want.

I'll miss the wedding day of my dear friend Lynette, the birth of my friends (Candice & Randall's) little one, birthdays, and adoptions.

I'll miss Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and Easter. When we come home, 1/3 of the year will be gone!

I'll miss my home...my SPACE...my warm, comfy bed and my nice shower...

My car that I can drive wherever I want to go...

My refrigerator full of food and MY KITCHEN, that I can cook whatever I want in...

My chiropractor who keeps me healthy and pain free, and a pharmacy full of familiar medicine if I do get sick...

My clothes, my accessories, the most perfect pair of cowgirl boots I got for Christmas (that I've only had a chance to wear twice! :(

Our unlimited, FAST, wireless internet... our CABLE and DVR... what will I do without the latest episode of GLEE?!

And not to mention Survivor and American Idol, which are not TV shows I watch, but two of my good friends are supposed to be on them this season and I'm going to miss it!

I could keep going, but you get the picture. We are leaving EVERYONE and EVERYTHING behind, except for a couple of suitcases of stuff we're bringing with us. We're going to a place that is unfamiliar and unknown to me, and I am going to have to TRUST GOD every day, in every circumstance.

And there have been days that I just don't want to! I don't want to give up all these things that I WANT! I sound like a selfish brat, right? Yeah... there's been a lot of whining going on in my head lately.

I wish I could say that through this all I've been keeping my perspective because, "What God has called us to is worth leaving all this behind." But while that is absolutely TRUTH, I haven't felt it lately. I've just felt my ugly, selfish FLESH rising up and saying, "I DON'T WANT TO! Why do I have to do this? All the other Christians get to stay in their cushy beds and their nice homes and wear their pretty clothes...why do I have to go?!?!"

See, if I was really holy I'd tell you what an honor it is that God is allowing us to go and do these things, and how blessed we are to get the opportunity to be JESUS to these people, especially these children, half a world away. That it is an incredible opportunity that God has given me to take care of these precious kids in Thailand (and Swaziland, and India). Because that's the TRUTH. But my flesh just won't let my heart hear that right now.

You want to know why?! Because I AM TOO COMFORTABLE. It's been 2 years since I've been overseas, and I have settled right back into my comfortable American life. We may not be wealthy, and we may struggle financially sometimes with this whole support raising thing, but the truth is, compared to most of the world we are RICH.

And so, I've been sitting fat and happy in my COMFORTABLE home doing whatever I please really, and pretending like that is all I'm called to do as a Christian. Because, we weren't called to suffer....right? No, no, no...that's for "old timey Christians in the Bible".

Except that the TRUTH is, God didn't call me to be COMFORTABLE. And I can promise you that He cares more about the people of Thailand who desperately need Him, than He cares about my COMFORT.

And I can promise you that all this nasty, ugly FLESH of mine that's been getting in the way, is just the devil trying to talk me out of going. That, and more evidence that without God I am not very loving, or compassionate, or willing to sacrifice. I don't look very much like Christ at all!

All this is PROOF that I have to go. That I need to go. That I must GO and remember WHY I am doing what I'm doing. I need to get my hands dirty again. I need to be face to face with POVERTY and BROKENNESS and SEX SLAVES and ORPHANS and these precious people who DESERVE SO MUCH MORE.

Because if I don't go, then I'll forget that THEY ARE WORTH IT for me to be a little uncomfortable. And that God has called me to more than just living the American Dream.

4 comments:

  1. I love this: "All the other Christians get to stay in their cushy beds and their nice homes and wear their pretty clothes...why do I have to go?!?!"

    Sooo many Christians (myself included) don't want to be willing to risk everything have for God, we are too busy living our "holier than thous" lifestyles that we just assume that "someone" else is doing it.

    You are fulfilling the great commission. I am so thankful that you shared your struggles, maybe that will make people WAKE UP and realize that sitting on their couch doing nothing isn't going to profit this world for Christ's sake.

    I will be praying for all your worries and fears; God is going to take care of you and I know you know that, but after my mission trip (granted it was only three weeks) it is great to have any assurance and the blessed assurance that the God who commanded you to do what you are doing is taking care of you, well that totally took away my fears and worries.

    If you have any specific prayer requests, please feel free to share.

    You are a LIGHT to many near and far and I know God's going to use you.

    God Bless you both.

    Amanda
    Lubbock, Texas

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  2. Moving post Ericka, thanks for sharing!

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  3. sarah dale simpkinsJanuary 22, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Ericka, I just love you so much already! I am going to be praying for healing for you and I'm so glad you are willing to share your struggles - it's an encouragement. I can't wait to see what God has in store for you over in Thailand.

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  4. Ericka,
    That's about the most transparent, real expose' of the inner person I've ever read. I salute you for your honesty, and your courage to go on. In spite of the fears, sickness, and all the negative feelings the enemy has orchestrated into a symphony of flesh. I sure am proud of you. Girl, you would have made a great Texan! Joe

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