To Those of You with Feelings {Hello Everyone}!

A few years ago, the Lord began the process of shaking things up in our lives. He called us out of a ministry in the Dominican Republic we had sweat our heart and soul into for 8 years to a new one (still in the Dominican Republic) that we had loved and admired from the first time we heard about it years earlier.

We were ready, excited, hopeful, challenged.

We knew He was asking us to trust Him more, rely on Him more, to go deeper and we longed for each of those things. We were bright eyed and bushy tailed and perhaps a weeee bit naive about making what seemed like a not -so- scary leap within a country that we were already familiar with. However, what I anticipated and what I felt in actuality were worlds apart.

I anticipated being able to adjust quickly to life in a new place, having already faced the brute jarring of culture shock 9 years prior. I anticipated making deep friendships quickly without difficulty and enjoying a fulfilling sense of community, having learned over the years to ask for help, to give up my sense of independence and to not just swallow but squelch my pride. I anticipated struggle, but not the internal mess that welled up inside me.

Over the last year, whether real or perceived, I have felt despair, desperation, loneliness, rejection, isolation. I have felt discredited, discouraged, disconnected and wounded. I have felt lost and loss. I have felt robbed, and despite the fact of actually having our home broken into and things stolen, the real robbery was a loss of trust from all angles. 

ALL of this caught me completely off guard, in spite of the fact that I knew we had been called to rely more heavily on the Lord. And even still, knowing that my human nature combined with an enemy that deals in misinformation is lurking about trying to distract us from what the Lord has called us to! All within the context of being among an amazing body of believers that love the Lord and for whom I have great respect, compounding the feelings of craziness and confusion associated with this season. From the outside looking in, there was no way to expect the wrinkly undercurrent of my emotionally silent tornado and the havoc it was wreaking in my life.

So, to those of you with feelings (hello everyone) – where does that leave us when God either brings us to or allows us to visit a place of despair for a season? When we feel our loneliest and least effective and when everything seems to point to more lost marbles? When we are far from familiar, a long distance from what we expected and crying a loud quiet cry?


God is near . . .
Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

God closeness envelops the shattered soul.

Our heart condition . . .

Jeremiah 17: 9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

Not that our feelings are invalid, but that we keep in proper perspective that which we feel versus the absolute truth and security of God’s word.

Count it all joy . . .

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1: 2-4

Sticking to the truth of God’s Word can be extremely challenging when unmet or unmatched expectations hang over us like a cloud, but all the more reason to be disciplined about staying in the Word. If we don’t exercise, eventually we lose muscle. If we don’t stick close to God and His precepts, inevitably we lose sight of Him. Let’s stay close.

“Whoever dwells in the shadow of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

Have you had a move that “should” have been easier than it was? Tell me I’m not alone!


The Velvet Ashes Retreat is THIS weekend!  It’s for you, right where you are, and you can still register.


  1. ErinMP April 13, 2015

    Yes, actually, that is me right now. I knew some things would be difficult–I am 24 and single out on the overseas field, and I went to a school where I knew no one–but I had been prepping for this, really, since I was 16. I was a fresh grad, I had been on overseas trips, I was so sure I knew who I was in God and was close to Him, and I was READY to be like the Amy Carmichael of Thailand. I probably don’t need to detail what happened next, suffice it to say I mainly just have been struggling–in the midst of good things, yes–with all that you described above. So it was really heartening to read this post and bible verses, and also remind myself that my heart is deceitful, too.

    1. Rachel Sawyer April 13, 2015

      Dear Erin,

      “Ready to be like the Amy Carmichael of Thailand” leaped off the screen at me.  My prayer for you is that you would walk confidently and in lock step with Christ to be the ErinMP of where the Lord has placed you right now.  No matter how much prep work we do, the struggle is REAL, and these struggles are where the rubber meets the road in terms of truly defining our faith.  Struggles are inevitable, but I pray that you are able to struggle well, sister! Going onto the field is like being under a microscope in the hot summer sun – but the Lord is with you and He will meet you where you are at – none of this has caught Him off guard! Hang in!

      1. ErinMP April 14, 2015

        Thank you a million. 🙂 🙂 Good apt description!!!!! Blessings–ErinMP

  2. Lucieluh April 13, 2015

    Of course we knew returning to our passport country after six years was not going to be easy, but we can do this.  The three children have adapted over the past four weeks waaaaay better than we could have dreamt, our unable to handle change child actually seems happier.  They are excited about starting school, the husband with focus and drive to find fulfilling ministry work.  Then there is me, seven weeks away from a new baby (number 4) with no idea or rememberance of what a new baby entails or what ‘stuff’ we really need.  The busy ministry life swapped for memories and facebook messages from kids I love and miss more than they would ever know.  Church that wants to respect us and give us time without involvement….but right now that is my worst nightmare.  A mother in law just diagnosed with breast cancer and declaring she will not have treatment.  A house up for sale because it is okay for four but there is not space for six but realistically no hope of selling at a good price and then head lice (the final straw!!!!) The real issues from this list are not any of these outward reasonings but those feelings inside no one can see, useless, pointless, empty and oh how these words “crushed spirit” resounded.  I know to lift up my eyes, I know to look on the positive and I truly know to count my blessings but for today, another day,  the dull ache is winning.

    1. Rachel Sawyer April 13, 2015

      Sweet Lucieluh,

      My heart pounded as I read all that is going on in your life right now! Leaving the field, no matter what the circumstances, is a real grief in and of itself that has to have the time and space to be grieved – and then all the other big stuff toppled on top of your new states life is enough to make anyone drop into the fetal position.  (May I say that your example of lice being the straw struck a cord in a very REAL way with me? I know this stinking battle very well!) May the dull ache be washed away by the Lord’s lovingkindness today and may you find REST and respite in Him.  He sees you, sister.

  3. Brit April 13, 2015

    I can say, I am with you! I just turned 24 and it’s my first time serving overseas. In the states I felt quite confident and competent in my who I was if nothing else. I thought I knew how to handle various life situations without losing my footing but these days life’s cup is quite bitter and I’m forgetting the face of my Savior. I realize that I’ve been trying to suckle life from blogs and other (good) resources but once more I’m missing the “good portion”, the Word. I am determined that despite my overwhelming fears and crippling anxieties (I think I’ve developed this while being here) that I will immerse myself in the Word. Somedays it takes everything in me to remember the kind countenance of my Friend towards me. I’ve been living on the performance wheel and just “be”ing seems impossible. I have to hold on to Him. He is indeed keeping us all.

    Thank you for your openness.

    Making petitions for you ladies.


    1. ErinMP April 13, 2015

      That’s it, right there! Same here, thanks for the community and community of prayer. 🙂

    2. Rachel Sawyer April 13, 2015


      The dying to self that happens on the field is quite painful – especially as impurities and insecurities rise to the top – visible and blaring – in the midst of the process of being made complete (James 1). Even after 10 years, the process is so difficult – the battles are more intense and subtle.  I pray that “the being” will become more natural for you and the gerbil wheel of performance will tip over and loose its pull.  I am praying for your cup to have the sweet aroma of Christ today.

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