Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
—1 Peter 3:13-15
I have been believing a lie.
Did you know that there is no such thing as normal? I want normal but it is an illusion and a trap from the enemy. It doesn’t exist.
I have spent the last several months wrestling with God over the “unfairness” of our life. I don’t think all the things we have had to endure is very fair. I especially struggle with that in regards to my kids and our families. I’m fine suffering, but what about my kids?
I read and prayed and questioned and read and prayed some more. And the result… God never promised us an earthly definition of fair. God never, ever said life XY and Z are normal and will be easy. He actually said the opposite. We are not to look, act, or seem “normal” according to this world (Romans 12).
You see, I didn’t even realize the lie that had been whispered in my ear by the enemy. The lie that I would lead a “normal” missionary life. I knew there would be bugs, weird food, a new culture and language, different religions, jet lag, and loss. I knew I would miss home, our family and friends, our church, and the comfort and familiarity of the US. I knew my kids would struggle and my marriage would look different and finding a church that felt like a family would be difficult.
What I didn’t account for was my son getting hurt several times and now developing a heart issue. I didn’t ever think that in the first year two of us would experience dengue fever when I know so many people who have lived here for years without that ever happening. I never would’ve dreamed that in our first year we would experience lockdown and a worldwide pandemic and all the feelings of being trapped. I never ever would’ve thought we would have to walk through losing a teammate in a tragic aircraft accident after over 20 yrs of no fatalities.
Not normal. Normal is a lie. Fair is a lie.
So what now? Truth. Truth is written at the top of this page. What is truth? Truth has a name and His name is Jesus Christ. What did His life look like? Was it “fair” or “normal” according to our human eyes and standards. No. Can you really find anyone in the Bible with a life that we could define with either of those words? No.
See, I had believed that moving to the other side of the world and having this crazy life would make all the other trials stop. I’d go through all those “normal” missionary trials but the sickness and the grief and the out of the “ordinary” things would stop. Why did I think that??? I really don’t have an answer for that. Satan is so sneaky. I hate him.
I didn’t even realize I had those thoughts and feelings until resentment and bitterness tried to take hold of me again. I started to have all those feelings of God being a bully again. Thankfully I have lived through enough, had amazing counselors, and worked through many Celebrate Recovery step studies. I have the tools to analyze those feelings and the Holy Spirit revealed those toxic thought patterns and helped me see His truth. I can throw out the lies and let in the Light. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
I know so many people are struggling with loss right now. Maybe a physical loss of a loved one, but also loss of expectations of your normal. You wanted to have a real high school graduation, you wanted to be at your child’s wedding, you wanted to take that trip you had been planning for years. Those losses and unmet expectations can lead to very deep bitterness and anger if left unchecked by the Truth. I battle those thoughts with the Word of God and with gratitude lists. I battle them by reaching out and sharing them with another trusted person and verbally processing them.
Whatever you’re struggling with, you’re not alone. We’re all experiencing this on one level or another. Our boats might all look different but we’re for sure all in the same water right now.
I see you. And so does a loving Father who cares about every little detail of your life. You are not forgotten and you are not alone.
Thanks for letting me share.