“I'm so impressed with you right now. I'm reading your blogs and thinking...is this the Jonna I know? It just sounds like you have your shit together my friend!”
I must admit, these sentences made me laugh out loud, and not only because my friend used a swear word (shocking!!). On the one hand, I really am doing fine out here in South Africa. I’m not curled up in a ball crying all day and all night. I’m not sitting in a room vacantly staring at the wall. I am getting out, getting groceries (family fun for everyone!), going to church, reading my devotions, reading some teen romance books, going on walks, holding babies across the street, doing laundry, reading chapter books to our kids at night, showering and getting ready every day, and more.
On the other hand, I am now driving on the “wrong” side of the road, I can’t go anywhere without my husband because I am still learning to drive a stick shift and I feel stuck and trapped and frustrated by that, I do things, but I don’t really DO anything if that makes sense. It’s like I no longer have a purpose. I am still a mom and still a wife, but I feel like I don’t really know who I am anymore.
I am still the same Jonna that you all know and love-the one who freaks out when my kids do things that seem dangerous, the one who craves Pepto Bismol when I think about all the decisions that need to be made, the one who doesn’t want to make any decisions because it makes things too final and I constantly worry about what we really should be doing and where we should living, the one who has to really make an effort to meet new people because I am already sure they are not going to like me and that I am going to do or say something really stupid that I can never take back.
So I am still me, but I’m not. Out here I feel like I am seen differently. Some people think I’m crazy. “Why did you leave America to move here” they say with total wonderment and confusion. Some think I’m loaded and that just makes me feel awkward like “I wish I could hand you tons of money so you could feed all these kids you care for, but I can’t and even if I could I’m no longer sure that’s the best way to help you.” I’ve never said that, but can you imagine the awkward silence that would follow if I did? (Side note: if you’ve never read the book When Helping Hurts, you totally should. And then you should go to the Livesays blog, which I’m sure I’ve linked to at some point and read what they have to say about helping people). Some people think I’m an Afrikaner, which I’m not. They quickly realize their mistake when they try to speak Afrikaans to me and I stare at them stupidly.
I am reading “Jesus Calling” daily, but a lot of times the words I read don’t sink in. I still struggle to pick up my Bible and I struggle to make time for God. I struggle to bring my needs and wants and desires to Him. In the morning I read “Pray about everything; then leave the outcomes up to me. Do not fear My will, for through it I accomplish what is best for you.”, but a few hours later I find myself struggling with anxiety for our future and angrily thinking “Why God, why did you ever bring us out here?”
So on the one hand, I am doing fine. I really am. On the other hand, if I really let myself sit down and think about what we’ve done and how permanent a move we’ve made, I think I’d be finding a comfy spot to spend my nights and days curled up and crying.