First, I want to thank so many people who have responded, emailed, and posted encouraging words since my last post. I must say it was extremely difficult to be so vulnerable. It is hard enough to say you are struggling, even harder to call it out for what it is and let everyone "in" on what we have felt here.
Many of you replied that you were praying for us and would continue to do so. Others of you shared similar stories of living or serving within an oppressed location. I can't thank you enough! In my sharing, I was reminded of the result living in community- albeit over social media. Revealing the lies results in it's opposite- truth that we are never alone, that God works among his people and never in isolation.
I have been thinking a lot since regurgitating my plight on you. One thing I have learned is that the enemy attacks with intensity when you are isolated, tired, and hungry. Matt and I could not have been more of those things. Isolated is obvious, but continuously tired/stressed, and hungry for God to move, reveal himself, and for fellowship. No wonder we felt overtaken. Many people I have met (who reluctantly whispered that they also felt the oppression here) have asked, "so what do you do when you have to live in it?" I had never thought about living under oppression that I had not invited myself- don't we all ask "what did I do to cause this mess?" And since being honest about it here on this blog, I see things a little bit more clearly.
Matt and I were listening to Ravi Zacharias the other day and in his talk on The Problem with Pleasure, he mentioned that "any pleasurable thing that refreshes you without distracting from, diminishing, or destroying your ultimate goal is legitimate." What I first realized was that I had embraced suffering and pity in a pleasurable way. I know that sounds weird, but we can get addicted to our self-pity- thus the statue I posted in the previous blog. We either enjoy it and chase more, or we will see it as an attack and choose to fight. I had forgotten what my ultimate goal was, or maybe didn't know what it was! I had allowed my circumstances to distract me from what God wanted from us big picture wise. I had set my eyes on my present suffering instead of the goal He set for us. Of course that goal is to be more like him, but also that I would serve him no matter where he sent me and remember our calling is so much bigger than present suffering.
Part of this has been the difficulty in embracing the first move by the Army that was not our choice. Even though we didn't choose Colorado- who wouldn't want to live there? It was also my first experience of the unsettled lifestyle of the Army. It was so exciting the first time around and this time it hit me that this was really going to be every two-three years. I had to come to terms with that. I really believe it takes a toll on a lot of families, but just like the deployments, training, etc- you just have to embrace it and roll with it. Just like the deployment- you look for how you will thrive and be better when you reach your ultimate goal, not how you survived life.
I admire so many of my fellow army wives who have learned this lesson way before me, who make each new location "home" and quickly make their mark by serving the families and community wherever they are. I have a lot to learn as I sit here- Matt having left for a month. And so I begin again with new focus, truth of who I am, who we are as a family, and anchored in the truth that any suffering that we experience should remind us Christ's ultimate suffering that ours could never compare to and I am drawn to his humility, love, and outpouring of service towards me. So I'm getting up and gonna do something about this post, be a light, and serve with others who are also shining theirs. My time here is short, and so is my window of opportunity. I so long to be the anchor of our family instead of the afflicted victim.
So here is what I believe is the answer:
1. Pray daily over your home, over your family, over your mind.
2. Anchor yourself in the truth every day, and pray for awareness.
3. Be vulnerable to a community that will pray for you, be vulnerable with you, and challenge you.
4. Do something for someone else.
Thanks again to all of you who responded, we feel so loved.