"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Thursday, September 10, 2009

As you well can expect it has been a tough last week. We have gone through as a family every range of emotion there is. For the first day or so we just cried together with the kids. There have been bouts of anger, hurt, frustration, feelings of betrayal, sorrow, disappointment, fear, and in a strange sense, relief. After the decision was made Satan attacked us from every direction. One of the biggest was a feeling of being a complete failure, that I had failed my church, my family, my friends and supporters and worst of all, my heavenly Father. Kelly and I barely ate or slept for the first 5 days, most every one in the house was feeling physically ill. We were barely surviving. We were ready to pack a few bags and just get on a plane and get back home to our family and friends and not even bother to say goodbye to anyone and just leave everything and walk away. We didn’t know friend for foe any more and we felt utterly alone. During this time I was so thankful to be able to talk to my dad and Mike my pastor. It is not that they said a lot they were just there, they let me know they love me/us and that they were praying and that they would do anything for me. On a side note Mike is a guy who has really truly modeled what it means to be a Sheppard, he always made it clear that he was here for me as a friend first and foremost not some spiritual superior authority that was going to tell me what to do. He respected me enough to allow me to wrestle with God in my own time on my own terms and he didn’t try to interfere with what God was doing in me. I don’t have the words to express my gratitude to him.
On day five we went to see our friends in Chongwe. They invited us over for lunch and to just talk. Well, they invited us over just to love on us for a while. And what a difference that made. That morning before we went we had decided that we wanted to leave well. And in talking with Kevin and Suzie they confirmed how important it is to leave well, to say goodbye to anyone and everyone. And to think Satan almost had won and we almost left. The goodbyes are what the nationals are going to remember. We honored our Father by coming here, we believe we have honored our Father by being here, and we need to make sure we honor our Father in our leaving. If we don’t do that, the rest will not be remembered and the testimony of Jesus Christ will be tarnished.
It is also no coincidence that there is a missionary retreat at the end of the month and it is on burnout. We believe we need to go to that to begin the healing process before we get back to the states. It is no secret that we have been in burnout for a while. We sought out help from those we thought could/should help but did not got any. If you are wondering what burnout is, go back in the archives and read the posts on burnout to help you better understand. Missionary burnout is not all that uncommon; it is just not talked about much if at all. It does not exactly put missions in the best light. People like to see missions as something romantic, then it is a lot easier to sell. But reality/the truth is, it is like every other job out there in a lot of ways except spiritually. Satan puts a big bulls eye on your back. So besides all the politics and p.c. crap you have to deal with, you also have a legion of demons assigned to you to attack you and your family any and every chance they get. (That is why I take issue with calling on a spirit of divination to find water in my backyard). That kind of takes the romance out of it, doesn’t it? That does not mean it can not be fun and exciting. It can and is, it just means it is a lot more than just that.
We wanted to tell some people to have them praying for us but we just couldn’t yet. So we just asked some friends to pray and told them that we could tell them what about. Some of them admitted it was hard. They had to go to the Father and trust the Holy Spirit inside them to intercede on their/our behalf. It is often hard to pray when you know what to pray about. It takes complete dependence and surrender to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to get on your knees when you don’t know what to pray for- you are just to pray. Another hard and wonderful place to be. Right now we/I am as close to complete and total dependence on my FATHER as I have ever been. Many will say “that’s a good place to be”. I want to say “come and sit where I am sitting and tell me that”. Just because it is true does not make it easy.
My FATHER is faithful and true and HE will be my rear guard!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so whats the date you guys are coming back?!?!?!?!!!?!?!?!?!?!?