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Growing Up Is Hard To Do…

July 16, 2013

Especially when you’re already thirty-five…  My kids are growing like weeds and when they get random pains in their legs, I just tell them what my mom told me…  “You’re growing.”  😉  I have recently diagnosed myself with growing pains as well,… mental ones…  I have never done so much growing in all my life, and it sometimes hurts, but it needs to be done in order to grow.  Do I miss my easy going life?  Sometimes… Ok… a lot…  🙂  If I was back to that life, would I miss this one? … Definitely!  These are questions I have to ask myself, more often than not, to help me realize this fact.

I went from sleeping in as often as I could due to the fact that I was NOT a morning person.  As a stay at home mom, I would throw some clothes in the wash, then the dryer, and fold in front of the T.V.  I would load the dishwasher throughout the day and press start when I thought it was full enough.  I would eat by hunger and desire.  I surfed the internet, paid some online bills, balanced the checkbook and planned out our tight budget… put our little one down for a nap… possibly take a short doze with her…:)  Later, I would stop by the store to get a few things that we needed (or that I thought we needed) on my way to pick up the older kids from school… perfectly timed so that I would not have to wait in a ridiculously long pick-up line.  Such was life… my routine…  I went to church on Sundays and Wednesdays, got involved in teaching the children.  I listened to KSBJ, opened my Bible, definitely on Sundays and sporadically throughout the week, prayed before every meal, and at bedtime.  If anyone asked me if I was a Christian I would not deny it, and if it happened to come up in conversation, I just might possibly invite someone to church.

… But I also quit smiling so much at others or being so nice.  I started to understand, especially in the years that I worked, that people seemed to respect those who are more aggressive,  irreverent even.  I had been told from childhood that I was such a goody-goody, but as I got older I didn’t like being the quiet, nice girl one could easily walk over, so I purposely tried to overcome my kindness… It was easier when I drove… to not let someone over, who thought they could just cut right in after I had been waiting, or blare my horn at the nincompoop who would speed around me just so they could turn right in front of me, or even speed up to cut off the person who cut me off! Once I nailed the road rage phase, it was easier to move onto the next step…

I was slowly succeeding in my personal desire to care less… to harden my heart…

When I first said yes to coming halfway across the world for a mission, I thought it was for others.  I never knew it was for me.  I came because the Lord worked a miracle in the life of my husband and I felt I needed to do something for the Lord, besides live the safest, most comfortable life possible.  And, as a result I have grown up, and I continue to grow.  It is not easy, by any means.  But there came a time when I had to make a choice… It’s like the movie The Matrix… (sorry but it’s the best explanation I can give at this point).  If you have ever seen the movie, you might recall, and I am not even sure if it was the first movie or one of its sequels… there was a man who was tired of reality, tired of fighting, and just really tired of knowing the truth.  So he chose betrayal in exchange for getting plugged back into a world that was nonexistent.  He wanted to forget about the truth and have his mind tricked again into false happiness… Makes total sense to me!

No day is typical here, but I will try to explain some things that are different…  Laundry has to be done early in the morning so it can dry out on the line while there is sun and taken down before the rain comes… if it is a good day.  If not, we have to run and yank down all the clothes and hang them in the limited space under the roof.  Why not just hang them there in the first place?  Well, because it takes them a long time to dry without the sun and causes a not-so-fresh smell, not to mention the limited space also causes wrinkling.  I have learned that I need to flap them out as much as possible, hang them straight and pull out the wrinkles for the best possible drying scenario.  When I run out of space on the lines on the bottom, wider ledge, I have to balance along the top ledge to hang the rest.  Just going somewhere is a challenge.  Instead of simply walking out the door, getting in my car and going… I have to walk a good ways down to the waiting shed where I can either flag down a taxi or a jeepney.  Even though a taxi is more expensive, I prefer it over a jeepney.  For one, I can just tell the driver where to take me instead of trying to figure out which area to tell the jeepney driver to stop (“para”) so I can walk amongst the crowd to my final destination.  Jeepneys have a main route they stay on and will not deviate from it.  Also they are jam packed with people in which I have often had to lean on one side to fit into the small space between two individuals and hold the rail at the top to keep from slipping out of the seat.  John cannot always drive our jeepney because there is coding, which means that on Thursdays we can’t drive into town because of the last 2 digits on the plate.  This is done to try and regulate traffic, which is out of this world!  Also, it is absolutely impossible to find anywhere to park most of the time, and if you park in the street, the police (pulis) will take your plate right off your vehicle…  This morning I had to walk the girls down to catch their ride for school.  The traffic was so bad that the regular driver was not able to make it, so a teacher that lives out this way, got a taxi to come get them.  We waited by a super busy, muddy, trafficy road for about 45 minutes, with exhaust in our faces, and had to cross it to get to the taxi.  If it were up to me, I would just teach them at home along with my eldest three, but since we are adopting, we have to have Angel in school.  And she wouldn’t understand why Neely didn’t have to go, so we just send them both.  After I got them in the taxi with their teacher, I had to cross again and hike back up to the house.  There are no dishwashers and the washing machine is not the same. I have to wring out the clothes when they are done washing and put them in the spinner before I hang them.  We eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a side of either meat, or vegetables, or both.  Rice is the cheapest way to go and it is the custom here.  We have a tank that holds the water on the roof for washing purposes and have to order more to be delivered when it runs out.  We were out of water for four days one time before the delivery guy finally came.  (We found a new guy.  :))  Drinking water is also delivered, in like those ozarka containers.  We get five at a time.  There are no air conditioners or screens on the windows… but I do have an electric fly swatter.:)  The house can often feel very humid and damp, especially during the rainy season.  We went from bucket showers to ones that have a small heater that is turned on by a breaker near the shower head, but if you are in there too long, it will shut itself off Lice are unavoidable and come and go regularly …  Such is life here… I have developed patience and understanding from people who never complain and just go with the flow.  Honking here is a consideration. It simply means, ‘Hey just letting you know I’m beside you in case you didn’t see me,’ or ‘Thanks.’  It seems as though the people here have to develop an easy going way about them because of such close proximity or even the shear difficulty of life.  There is no personal space or zone of comfort.  Things are shared, given, and borrowed without complaint.  It’s a ‘what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine’ philosophy.  Kindness and patience exude from them, and if you aren’t that way, it’s usually because you are a foreigner, (just an observation).  I have witnessed such giving hearts by those who have so little without a second thought.

As the saying goes, “Step outside of the box,” I don’t think I ever fully realized the meaning of this phrase.  I thought it simply meant change the way you look at things, not, for example, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will”  Romans 12:2.  This is the meaning of step outside of the box! For me, I had to take a very big step, and even fall down, to be transformed with a renewed mind.  I now pray for a softened heart again.  I lost it along the way.  I want to love like they love.  They live not holding onto things that moths and rust destroy.  They seem to love their neighbor as themselves.  I don’t think I even knew the names of half the people living on my street.

So… would I want to plug back into my old life and my old way of thinking… well that would kind of be like cheating in a game of solitaire.  I need to stay the course, to finish the race, or else I would be cheating myself out of testing and approving God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will, which I never knew would lead here, to the Philippines, or bring me a child I never expected or imagined. I still pinch myself. I still ask myself why or if I am even qualified to do this… The answer is no.  I am not qualified, but the one living in me is… and thank God for that! 😉

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