When we returned from France we were uncertain about what lay ahead. Phillip was adamant that we would go back to language school by the summer. I did not share in his zeal. In fact, going back to France was the very last thing I wanted to do.
It was a difficult journey in France. I’m not going to sugar coat anything. I had a hard time. I was depressed. Like, legit depressed. It was something I had never experienced before and it was something I hope to never go through again.
I know a lot of it was culture shock and a lot of it was pregnancy hormones. But it was also more than that. I’ve experienced culture shock before and I’ve experienced pregnancy hormones before. Neither amounted to the level of depression that I felt while in France. I cried. A lot. And not just over boxed milk!
I didn’t understand it then and I don’t understand it now. Was I just not strong enough? Did I not pray enough? What was I doing wrong? Maybe I wasn’t giving everything to God. Maybe I just wasn’t spiritual enough to be a missionary?
In any case, when we realized that we were still falling short in the financial area month after month and that we were actually in debt to the school, I can’t say that I was upset that we might have to leave the field. I thought going home was the answer. I thought that leaving France and being back around family and friends would change everything.
We prayed for the money to come in so that we might stay and continue language learning. And the money did come in! We received the exact amount to pay off the school and buy plane tickets home. Not a penny more!
So we packed up our things, said goodbye to our new friends and made our way back to the States. And while things did change for me, it wasn’t in the way that I had expected. The depression just sort of melted away. I can’t explain it. It was suddenly like I was my old self again. Perhaps it was more to do with culture shock than I had thought? But over the course of a few months, I began to see that what I thought I was missing out on back home really wasn’t there. The strange thing about moving away and coming back is you realize that everyone else keeps on living their lives. Yes, it’s true! Their lives don’t just stop because you leave. While I obviously know that people continue living in my absence, it was a real eye opener.
I don’t know…I think sometimes God uses little things like that to show us that all we really need is Him. If we hadn’t come back, I would have still believed that being back home would make everything better. That the community we had was what I really needed. But the truth is that while the community and family we have here is amazing and great and all that, it’s not everything. It’s actually not what I had even hoped it would be upon our return. And that realization struck me like a ton of bricks. But in a good way. Because now I feel like I can leave again and it will be okay. I will be okay and my family will be okay.
That’s not to say that I don’t need the people around me. I do need them. I desperately need them. But I don’t need them in the way that I thought I did. And I don’t need them like I need God.
I know that the whole France situation wasn’t just God proving to me that all I need is Him. I know that there is more to it than a mere lesson for me. God works in all kinds of ways for various reasons. But one of the many many lessons I have gleaned from this whole experience is that. A hard lesson, to be sure. But it was one I urgently needed to learn.
I am ready now, truly ready, to give my life to what God has called us to do. I was fighting it for a long time- whining about leaving friends and family, grumbling about doing this so far away from home, complaining to God that I needed a support system. After all, I was dealing with 3 small kids. Of COURSE I need a support system! But God’s right. All I need is Him. He will provide everything.
And this great big lesson came at just the right time, because of thisunexpected path that God is leading us on!