I can’t believe that we’ve been here 1 year! Since moving to Ireland life has been busy.
Last year I was able to coast through. Just barely getting everything done. Feeling drained all of the time. There was always something to get involved with, and we wanted to do it all. On top of ministry I still work from home (which I adore!)… Oh yes.. and I have a family.
I couldn’t keep up with it all and my health was proof of that.
Last December, right before Christmas my back was injured. We had to call 999 (yes, it’s not 911 here) and I spent a night in the hospital. The doctors couldn’t find a reason for the back pain they thought it was nerve damage in my back/hip but also suggested stress was a key factor. I headed home with TONS of pain meds and continued taking them until this August. My weight was off the charts, I was tired, stressed and felt helpless.
This is not a sap story or a pity-party I promise
there is HOPE in this story
I continued taking these meds all year. This summer I had to take a BIG step back and do much less ministry-wise because the children were off school. This was eye opening! I started to see the toll our first year here had on our family. From our children to our marriage. Ministry is HARD and I didn’t notice that I was putting MINISTRY before FAMILY.
“But you’re a Missionary!” “People who support you will be so disappointed in you” “You’re supposed to put God first so isn’t putting ministry first right?”
No, NO and NO!
These were all the things I heard in my head. No one ever said these things but I heard them. August came around and my friend Kristin came with a church group from Baltimore to do 2 weeks of ministry with us in Ireland. It was the best month of our year here! I loved being so involved and doing it as a family! I also needed that time with a kindred-spirited friend. I needed to hear the hard truth about WHO I was seeking approval from. I was trying to please people. I saw it as “helping” but God quickly cleared up that misconception for me. I’m a recovering people-pleaser. I love helping. I love being needed and having my skills needed. I love having my work valued.
What about the Lord? My family? My husband? My children? Myself?
Was I trying to impress them? Was I giving my best to them every day? OR was I giving them my leftover energy, the seconds? Was I taking care of myself so that I can care for my family for the rest of my life. Or was I running on fumes and having nothing left for our family at the end of the day. Was I putting the LORD first or trying to impress Him with the WORK? (you know something? We don’t have to impress God, he’s not keeping score!)
Mmmmm. Hard pill to swallow!
I started praying – hard like my life depended on it because I felt like my family, marriage, health and ministry DID depend on it.
After a few weeks it was so clear.
Initially I didn’t want to Rest. Nope. Rest sounded so inactive to me, so lazy!! I wanted to work hard because that’s why we came here. (or so I thought) I was reminded that we can’t always see WHY God sends us places, what HIS real goal is. I had to learn that along with REST I needed to TRUST God that He knows what He’s doing and that His plans for me are much better than my own plans.
So I’ve been resting. I have to say resting isn’t what I thought it was. I still work. I still help. I’ve been hosting the mom’s bible study at our house this month, I’ll be baking for the fair next week and I’m still spending time with staff and trainees. I’m trying hard not to worry what other’s think (this is the hardest part of this journey!).
My days look so much different now. I’ve been spending much more time at home. Learning how to enjoy the quiet. Washing the dishes, instead of leaving them piled up in the sink each morning. Reading more. Doing homework with the kids. Talking with Kevin about life a whole lot more. We’re starting to dream and talk about the future.
I’ve made massive changes to my diet and feel amazing! I’m waking up at 5:15 2-3 times a week to go to a crazy boot-camp class. Pushing myself and working hard to get healthy. I’ll be sharing more about this in upcoming posts.
Last month I stopped taking ALL of my medications. ( I was on 3-4 pain meds plus Lyrica every single day!) Two days later I had NO PAIN!! NONE! GONE. I was having pain every single day even when I took the medicine. Now I can work out like maniac and my back doesn’t even hurt (after workouts my legs, abs, knees, arms, and just about everything else hurts but that’s different!) ** I am not a doctor and this is no by any means my advice for you or anyone to stop taking medications with out talking to your doctor first!**
What has changed:
My relationship with the Lord – I’m enjoying quiet times more.I don’t feel like I need to squeeze in these times, they’ve become first priority. My prayer times are special and I look forward to daily readings and studies.
Our Home – I’m not as anxious, grumpy or impatient (although I still have my moments). Our home is cleaner, I’m taking the time and effort to care for our home instead of leaving it for “later”. There seems to be a better rhythm to our home, the children even seem happier as we don’t change things on them at the last minute and we’re not running around every afternoon like we used to.
Our Marriage – We’re talking more, dreaming and opening up a whole lot more. I’m stepping back so that Kevin can take the lead more and it’s been great. I’m learning to let go of control and enjoy our marriage more.
Our Children – I enjoy praying for each of our children every morning. My patience with them has grown as I spend more time with them each day.
My Health – I’ve begun to lose weight, I’m not going to share how much yet (you’ll have to wait for another post for that!) My body doesn’t hurt!! I’m not as lazy. I feel inspired and I’m learning that it’s ok if I take time and energy to take care of myself!
Things are getting better and better. It’s not easy to rest, not at all. I constantly feel judged (even if no one is judging me!!) Learning to let go is hard, trusting the Lord in seasons like this is hard. I hope this post encourages you. I hope that if your life feels out of balance you’ll take time to really pray and be completely willing to do what it takes. It’s worth it! I haven’t felt such freedom and wholeness in years and I’m still learning.
I would love to hear if you can relate. Are you a people-pleaser? Are you giving your family the left-overs?