The words aren’t there. I’ve watched the pale morning skies turn their bright blue, deep golden sunshine on the cacao and labape trees outside. I pour a second cup of coffee, my body, heart, and soul feeling the way we have been here nearly 3 months. At least the coffee wakes me up physically.
My Bible has a literal layer of dust on it. How can you claim anything, write anything, live anything, do anything.. when you don’t even open this Book once a day? Shame runs deep, and I know its voice well. There are tears in the coffee, because I am running on empty. My prayers hit the ceiling and bounce off the cement floors and go everywhere except where I need them to. Verses are highlighted, written on flash cards to be memorized, read again and again from the page.. but I can’t make them make sense in my heart, no matter what I do.
Disappointment weighs heavy in my heart because where are You when I need You most, and I know I need You, and I’m begging for You.. and You don’t come?
The kids finish their last week of school. Wildaneise has passed onto her 6 times tables. We stand in the doorway, looking at our class of 7 working away at their Subtraction with Regrouping worksheets, no one needing help anymore. As I check the papers, I hear Mayline’s voice reading a short story reader. She’s so lost in the words of the book that she does not notice the class empty out at 12:00. I smile for the way she sounds out words, the incredible progress she has made since the fall.
Mikey has become almost too heavy for me to lift. He’s in his bed, laughing and then screaming, and then laughing again. The kids are all outside for singing group, so we steal precious moments on the living room floor. He pinches my cheeks, and it actually hurts now. His arms are strong, pushing my hands away when he’s mad with me. He can put up a fight, this stubborn child who does things in his own time. But I think he has learned that I am stubborn too 🙂 He has my heart forever entangled, and I think Stephen’s twice as much so. We have watched his tiny person emerge. And while his screaming can drive me absolutely mad, I hear him shriek and inside I whisper, “Yes.. find your voice..”
Sadrack knocks on the door. “Can you sell me two lollipops?” Somewhere along the way, we became the shop for lollipops, Cheeko’s and Twizzlers. The chalkboard sign on the door means nothing, as knocks come whether we are “Open” or “Closed”.
Bello can do his 6, 7, 8, and 9 times tables now. He tells me of the way he can do the math faster in school because it. Sadrack reads smoothly through the short story readers now, and has read every book on the shelf. Every afternoon at 1:30 they come, and every afternoon when they leave at 3 or 3:30, there is always a thank you, a smile, and a little more self-confidence behind their eyes.
I walked to Digicel twice yesterday, Stephen out with the team and us needing to buy another phone. Past the tin shacks selling crackers and candy, past the women calling for the “blanc to vin achtey” their bread loaves and fried street food, past the men who catcall and want to know if I am married (Abel has no shame, translating for me), through the mud puddles of streets, stepping in things I don’t want to know, walking along the side of the road where whizzing motorcycles and enormous trucks aren’t even an arm’s length away. We stop to hold baby Waldo along the way. I wonder who he will grow up to be, touching his tiny toes and silky soft hair.
My despair grows, because where in the world is the hope in all this? I remind myself (my emotional, feel-deep-or-don’t-feel-at-all self) that things are not always how they feel.
We have watched God provide for our needs in the most unexpected ways. The check comes once a month, and sometimes it is more and sometimes it is less, but it is always what we need. When we find out Alaska will cost more than we anticipated, a message ‘just so happens’ to come later in the morning, asking for information on how to support us. When taxes looked overwhelming, one phone call later found us a place in Florida to help answer every complicated question we had. Nate even comes with coffee creamer the day my powdered kind has run out.
This is not a plea for support.
This is God, reminding me He has never once failed to meet our physical, financial needs. He provides in ways different than we might’ve imagined, but He’s never failed to provide.
And if I can do that for you physically, do you not think I am doing that in every sense of the way? Spiritually, emotionally, mentally? He whispers to my heart, reminding me He has not left us.
We learn to trust; things are not always as they appear, even when you feel empty inside. God provides different than we might sometimes hope, but He always provides.
So I let myself feel the sadness. I don’t deny the despair. I let the Bible sit open somedays, unopened other days. The words on the flash cards hold little meaning right now. This country does look hopeless. But these things, I’m learning, are okay. Because God is still providing somehow, in ways I cannot see right now, for whatever the reason.
And it is somehow okay.
(We leave for Florida on Tuesday. Partly because of the visa situation, partly to get a little week-long break before being in for the month of April. So if you don’t hear from us for a while, we are enjoying paved roads, real coffee creamer, salads and red meat, and sleep 😉