When You Just Want to Go Home

…You know those days. They’re the ones when you can’t for the life of you understand the people around you, no matter how desperately you want to know where they are coming from. The days when EVERYTHING goes wrong and you can’t get anything done that you need to, and frustration reigns. It’s when the systems don’t work the way that they should, and you are a victim of injustice and there is nothing that you can do about it. It’s when things that you feel are basic rights are violated, yet it is completely acceptable where you are.  It’s when all you want to do is relate, but you are struggling to just communicate basic needs in this foreign and unwieldy tongue and thus  feel totally alone. It’s when loved ones at home need you, or when all of your family and friends are celebrating a treasured tradition and you are on the other side of the globe feeling homesick and wishing more than anything that you could be with them. It’s when someone around you is rude, or prejudice against you, or takes advantage of you and you are tempted to blame that one person’s actions on the entire culture that you’re living in. I don’t need to go on with more examples, most likely. You know exactly the days that I am talking about.

What do you do on days like these? What gives your heart peace and the ability to endure? How does God lovingly restrain your fingers from typing in “expedia.com” as fast as you can to buy the next available e-ticket back home?

God is gracious and loving and kind. His Spirit is our comforter. Our Lord is our Prince of Peace. With Him, justice reigns, even if we have to endure what seems to be total injustice for a time. Praise the Lord that not only is He the one that calls us to serve Him where He does, but He is also the one to provide every ounce of strength that we need to stay for as long as He calls us to.

On the days when we feel like we just want to give up, we desperately need to sit down honestly with our God and allow Him to carry those burdens. He understands the injustice. He knows our struggles. He has felt the pain of being separated from His Father and knows our pain as we are separated in a much lesser degree from the ones we love. He has been spit upon and mocked and humiliated without reason.  He knew what it was to speak words and have nobody understand despite how much His heart desired them to.  Our God is a God who sympathizes with us in every way, and not only that, but a God who desires to love, comfort, encourage, and carry the heavy burdens of the downcast and brokenhearted.

Perhaps you are not experiencing one of these difficult days today, and perhaps you are. I just wanted to take a couple of minutes here to say that when these feelings come your way, you are not alone! All of us experience these times and you are not a “bad missionary” for having days where you just want to give up!  You are not alone in an much greater sense than just having friends around the world who can empathize with you. You have your loving and ever-present Lord close by your side looking tenderly at you and desiring to carry you through.

More than my own inadequate words to encourage you on those rough days, I wanted to leave you with some scripture that might be balm to the wounds that you experience while on the field. May these words be a blessing to you perhaps today or when that next difficult day comes around:

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:29-30

“This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.”  Psalm 119:50

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.6 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.7 My salvation and my honor depend on God ; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.8 Trust in him at all times, O people;pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“Cast your burden on the LORD,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.”  Psalm 55:22

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”   Hebrews 4:15-16

“He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.”  Psalm 23:2-3

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
15Blessed are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face,
16who exult in your name all the day
and in your righteousness are exalted.
17For you are the glory of their strength;
by your favor our horn is exalted.
18For our shield belongs to the LORD,
our king to the Holy One of Israel.”  Psalm 89:14-18

Would you perhaps like to share a verse or two that God has used in your life to encourage you on days like these? Are there any other things that help you on days like these? If you are having a rough day today, would you like to tell us about it so we can pray for you? May you experience His nearness today and always!

(Post by: Ashley)


11 Responses to “When You Just Want to Go Home”

  1. 1 Ashley L. January 16, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Also, something else that helps me on a bad day is a nap and a latte. It’s less spiritual, but good rest and some comfort in a cup does help me as I try to regain perspective! The sleep is especially key.

  2. 2 Addie January 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Beautiful post Ashley! Although I’ve never experienced the foreign missionary issues, I do often feel out of place and long for the day Jesus calls me home. This has also reminded me to pray for you and others who are serving in a foreign culture. Thank you.

  3. 3 Kylene Bak January 16, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you so much Ashley for writing these much needed encouraging words. So great how God knows what we need and sends us encouragement even from people we have never met face to face. Last evening I was venting to my husband about some really appalling sexually explicit billboards that are around our city. He had some other things he was thinking about so he could not exactly understand i just kept going on and on about my disgust with them and all my questions as to why Denmark does not have some sort of censorship on things like that and if it had been someone abusing an animal people would be ranting and raving over that but this no one seems to mind. Then my mind goes on and on thinking how in the world are we going to raise our daughter here with advertisements like that blasted in her face? Very good discussion starters I guess and she is only 9 months now so she does not really notice them. But again I quickly can spiral into a pit of frustration over where I am. Yet I know God has us here for a reason. But also being the only stay at home mom I know of it can get really lonely and tempting to think I should just put our daughter in daycare just like everyone else. Its also been quite the adjustment finding quiet times alone with God being a new mom. So alot of the time I feel my spiritual tank is on empty. I am not trying to be really depressing just honest with you ladies. Because missionaries struggle too. Recently our church is going through a 21 day prayer and fasting time. The first week has been a struggle not necessarily the fasting part. But actually spending quiet time alone with God and with my husband in times of prayer. Even though we are not watching tv its still as if dishes, laundry, running after lily takes us the time I would like to side at my Saviors feet. It seems every time my husband and i sit down to pray we end up in some sort of conflict or differing expectations get in the way. We are both aware of it but it is frustrating this keeps happening and we communicate through it. We would really appreciate your prayers. We want to seek Gods face and see more clearly His will for our lives and where He would like us to serve. Thank you so much my sisters for your prayers. I am so thankful to find a community of women who understand. Praise be to our great God for knowing us better than we know ourselves and for the work of His Holy Spirit.
    Blessings, Kylene

  4. 4 Shilo January 16, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Thanks for putting into words what so many of us have experienced! I find a good rest, a hug from my husband, and time in the word are the best antidotes…but I also always benefit from journaling when I am feeling that way because it brings me back to praising God for all He IS and HAS DONE for me!

  5. 5 Ellie January 16, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Journalling, reading scripture, and writing out how I feel to God. Sometimes, if I am totally overwhelmed and tired, I just write out what I know about God and begin praising Him for who He is in the situation, even if I don’t FEEL it just then.

  6. 6 Ashley L. January 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Thank you guys for your great encouragements and suggestions. I love that you Shilo and Ellie both mentioned journaling and praising God for His goodness and character, despite our circumstance. So important! And Addie, I totally hear you about longing for Heaven! It is so easy for people living overseas to feel like everything would be better if we just went back “home” to America, but you are so right; We will never feel at home on this earth, because it IS NOT our home! Praise God that we are not homeless though, and that our God has prepared a perfect home for us with Him forever!

    And Kylene, thank you so much for sharing you heart with us! I totally hear you on the lack of censorship issue. Wow, I had no idea Denmark was like that. That is so hard for a mommy’s heart! Russia is really bad in much of the same way with inappropriate ads and porn everywhere. I will pray for you and your family as I pray for my own. I’m also praying for encouragement for your heart in a hard time and for this time of prayer and fasting and especially for your times of prayer with your husband. I know that Satan wants to do everything in his power to keep you from drawing closer to God and one another, so I’ll be battling in prayer against his tactics! Thank you so much for letting us be a part of praying for you and I am so glad, like you mentioned, that we can join together in encouraging one another. I know that there have been so many times that you ladies here have been part of God’s great encouragement in my life as you share truth and encouragement and advice. May each of you have a blessed day!

  7. 7 Kylene Bak January 19, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    My heart is so encouraged today. I was listening to this song walking home from visiting a friend pushing Lily in her baby carriage.(and singing it to the top of my lungs). The words to this song brought joy to my heart as I remembered Gods purposes for me here in Denmark. Hope it brings you encouragement too.
    Check it out

  8. 8 Kylene Bak January 19, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I could not put a link to the song but if you go to tangle.com and look up Lost Get Found by Nicole Britt its a great anthem to sing out.

  9. 9 kara January 27, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    thanks for sharing from the heart. I am privileged to get to see you in person, and I love reading the deeper parts that we don’t seem to get to. (Maybe it’s all the little people underfoot!)

    Through years of good days and bad days, God has taught me to snack on Scripture, feeding myself with His words. My favorite things is to meditate on a psalm. I choose a favorite, and meditate on one verse until I memorize it. (Sometimes, when I’m very intentional, it’s easy to do in a day, other times, a whole week.) I try to read through that psalm in the morning (out loud with my kids if I don’t have alone time with God) and in the evening before I turn out the light. It’s amazing how some of the verses which seem to be ‘filler’ actaully end up meaning a lot after a day or two of thinking, meditating, speaking them back to God. My favorites are Psalm 16, 84, and 145.

    I think the reason that it helps is because I’m remembering the reason for the pain. We suffer, we sacrifice, and if it’s for no purpose, then our pain increases. But if we present each sadness to God as an offering, then it is an act of worship.

    One last thought- we had over a year in the States, with uncertain future. And while logistically and physically and relationally it was so much easier, I was surprised that emotionally it wasn’t. I still had to choose to rejoice and to be thankful in order to not be drug into depression by the tedium of life.

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