Due to various conversations we’ve had this week, we’ve done a lot of reflecting on our time in Costa Rica (almost a year now…wow). I think as a missionary it can feel wrong to talk about how hard it is. I should feel blessed, right? That I am getting to witness God bless people. That my whole life is ministry (at least on paper). That _________. I should only talk about what a privilege it is.
But the truth is, it doesn’t alway feel like a blessing. Sometimes the call to overseas missions can feel like a burden. We have dealt with so much sickness and instability since we moved here. Bronchitis, stingray stings, dengue, laryngitis. Living with a missionary family for six weeks and a tico host family for three before ever having a chance to be alone in our own home. Culture shock rocked me (Savanna) especially. (Ironic, the one with a masters in Intercultural Studies. Talk about humbling.)
Even these past few weeks have presented some very hard challenges of their own. Defiant and disrespectful students. Very hurtful and accusatory meetings with parents. A transitioning leadership team in the elementary school that is bringing about much needed change, but even when change is good the transition is hard. It starts to wear on your emotional health and self esteem. And then there’s the fatigue. After emotionally taxing days, I go home to grading and test writing and car problems and trying to find insurance as someone with respiratory issues.
Someone else put a word on it. Crunched. I feel crunched on all sides. But they made a conclusion that I hadn’t been able to reach on my own. I am so much stronger than I thought I was. More truthfully, God is stronger in me than I ever thought He was. I am still standing. I am still here in Costa Rica doing my best. Our marriage is stronger than it has ever been. God is laying a path before us and we are so excited by the glimpses He allows us of what is in store. No, it truly doesn’t always feel like a blessing. But being crunched makes us aware: God is stronger in us than we ever thought He was.