Blocked paths.

I know that the end of a five-day break with all six of us home is not the time for an introvert to be asking hard life questions. It is rarely the time for anything more than quiet, fresh vegetables, and sleep. And yet, here I am: wondering, asking all those questions, putting them up for justifiable (to me) answers.

It feels like there are several blocked pathways in our life right now — family life, coffee, health, househunting, personal pursuits. I feel as if I’m in a forest, knowing I need to be somewhere, unable to find the way out. I’m searching for direction, begging God, showing him my needs — Don’t you see? Surely you can see them! — and each trail my foot finds leads to an avalanche of rocks, a rushing river, a thickening brush. So I’m left waiting, wondering why God is not making a way.

But from His word, I know He has purposes I don’t understand, I can’t yet see clearly. But when, Lord? When will you tell me what you are doing? When will you open a path, clear the brush, build a bridge for us? Will there ever be times in this life overseas — in this life, in general — that are filled with things not borne from adversity? I commented to Bryan yesterday that sometimes I think a tidal wave of suffering would make more sense — something huge that carries you out to sea, plainly known that only God can save you. As it stands, I feel like we are two rocks, patiently worn down by drops of rain over so many years. Each drop is so small, we separate it and know objectively it is little, should have little effect. And yet, a thousand drops of water make a bucket heavy. So I find myself heavy, searching for the why, thinking that the knowing will lessen my load.

When I begin to feel this way, I have a mental checklist of things to try: take a bath, go to bed early, resume that daily walk, get serious about time in the Bible, tell a friend, plan something fun, write. I KNOW there are blessings in times of discouragement. I KNOW that life is not all blocked pathways. I KNOW many things. Even though these help, there is only one point of knowing that will truly transform, and that is the knowledge of God. Do I KNOW Him?

I have few answers right now. In my life, I tend to oscillate between two extremes: internal fulfillment coupled with peace for the road to which God has called us — gratitude for how the difficulties have changed me; and intense frustration over a thousand little things, making the dailies of life feel like trudging through thick mud — the sight for blessings has been lost.

Someone tell me these feelings occur everywhere; tell me its not just because I’m living here, trying to make a life in a culture not my own. I know there are unique issues I will face, but it helps to remember my struggles are not singular, that a plane ticket won’t erase them.

Many questions with few answers means loose endings, not tied up nice and pretty. And this post ends thus.

Post-script for my mama: Sometimes I’m reluctant to publish these kinds of posts, knowing you will probably read them and they might make you sad. Know that I’m okay — I’m still smiling and laughing, I’m just forthright about my struggles. And also know that I love you.


4 thoughts on “Blocked paths.

  1. And as those little drops wash away bits of you, where are those minerals carried? The buckets of water become streams, and rivers, and oceans, and those little bits of you are making their way to become sediment and other rock eventually. And likewise your experiences will impact others, though you and they may not see it or realize. Keep asking the important questions, Jamie. ❤

  2. I’m also finding myself in a place where the blessings are hard to focus my mind on. The big things going on and the thousands of daily details weigh heavily on me. Some days I see more sunlight through the forest canopy; some days I feel like I’m trudging through mud and underbrush in the depths of the forest to get through the most basic daily tasks.

    I won’t pretend that I can fully fathom life with 4 kids in Japan vs life with 1 kid in Lincoln, NE, but I do know you are not alone in going through a season of struggling to set your mind on the blessings instead of the trials.

    PS-I liked your note to your mama at the end. Thank you for being brave enough to share your struggle.

  3. I, too, liked your note to your mama. 🙂 I have come to understand that you, through this gift that God has given you, express many thoughts and feelings as you ponder, question, explore, analyze. Although I don’t want you to struggle, I know that the greatest growth comes from the struggle. You seek growth. Growing in relationship with God has been my prayer for you since you were born. I love you!

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