Adjusting Back

I know the last few posts have been closely related to my return to America and adjusting, so I apologize for that. Today, I want to talk about the many things that affect adjusting back to American living and what culture shock really does to your body. I have several friends who have never experienced what I have, or at least not to the same extent, and that’s mostly what this is for.

I would have to say that the biggest and most challenging thing about all of this is you can’t prepare completely for it and you have no control over it. You can’t speed up the adjusting process. You can prepare your heart and mind all you want, but there are so many things you cannot prepare for or expect.

My third week back was extremely difficult. I was exhausted all the time and every day felt as if I could fall apart at any moment, and I did a couple times. I grew frustrated with myself and my circumstances, then I got frustrated that I was even frustrated in the first place. God has blessed me so incredibly much since being back, in ways I not only don’t deserve, but never expected. Because of these blessings, I was feeling that I had no right to be frustrated.

The second most challenging thing is that on the outside, you look perfectly fine, but on the inside everything is a mess.

I have barely been able to have full thoughts over the past couple weeks. I have had to write literally every single thing down that I need to remember, and even then I still may forget. In a previous post, I wrote about staring at orange juice for ten minutes because I was used to two size options not fifty size, brand and pulp options. On the outside, I may have looked like I just was taking my time deciding, but on the inside I was beyond overwhelmed and felt that I could fall apart on the spot (and surprised I didn’t).

The third for me has been the ability to be emotionally present.

I thought that since my heart for Honduras and God has opened some amazing opportunities for me here, that this aspect of adjusting would be simple. I couldn’t be more wrong. I could be in a deep conversation with a friend or having game night and laughing with a few friends, but I don’t feel present. I feel like I’m simply observing, watching my life pass by without having the ability to be there and enjoy it. This is one of those things that has grown increasingly frustrating for me, because I so badly want to be here. It almost makes you so focused inward, that you feel extremely self-centered. I was told that I’ve been pretty quiet since being back, and this is why. It is better some days than others and it something that will slowly wear off, but being patient with that is difficult.

Lastly, it’s all the little things that get you, the ones you don’t even think about!

It’s hearing a father speaking Spanish to his children in Target and completely tuning your friend out and being sucked out of your own world for a couple minutes without realizing it. It’s seeing kids that look like your students and seconds before waving, realizing that it’s an impossibility. It’s paying $60 for food that would only cost you $20 a month ago. And most importantly (haha), it’s paying $5 for a coffee that isn’t as good as the $1 coffee you used to enjoy every day.

I feel like I’m coming into a more stable place. I’m beginning to have a schedule again and real-life is starting to settle in. Maybe I will never be able to truly live as I did before Honduras. Maybe the cost of living will always surprise me. Maybe hearing Spanish will always pull me out of reality. Maybe $5 coffee will always sadden me.

I’m learning, extremely slowly, to be patient with myself. In order to be patient with myself, I have to surround myself with people who are patient with me. I have had such a great support system in returning, of people who encourage me to take my time in adjusting.

I’m learning to rest and to be content in where God has me. Learning all I can while I’m there, and taking the next steps in being more adjusted. It’s exhausting, frustrating and sad at times, but it’s a process that I have to walk through.

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

Advertisements

Catching Grace

Many of you know me as Sadie Grace. Some of you even believe that Grace is my middle name, but it’s not. Grace has been deemed as my middle name because I am not the most graceful of people. If there is something to be walked into or tripped over, I will be there, doing exactly that.

Since being in Honduras (a little over two months now), I have messed up my knee by tripping up stairs, received blisters for the first time on my feet, gotten a new scar on each of my ankles, had numerous cuts on my fingers from knives, pens and my contact lens case (yes, you read that right..I didn’t know it was possible either) and of course, adopted many new bruises.

I have so many scars on my body, and many of them come with funny stories to be told. I don’t think my legs have ever been bruiseless, and most times I’m not even sure where they came from.

This is not the kind of grace that I am talking about though, although I wish it were possible for me to catch some of that.

I’m talking about God-given grace and self-given grace.

I recently wrote a post, with much of God’s help, about where I am in my walk called Quite Honestly: Relearning, because that’s exactly where I am. I’m taking a step back from my current situations, circumstances and plans and handing them all to Christ, and letting Him lead in everything. It’s causing for many frustrations and disappointments, therefore I’m learning the importance of grace. 

1 Peter 5:10 says, “And after you suffer for a short time, God, who gives all grace, will make everything right. He will make you strong and support you and keep you from falling. He called you to share in his glory in Christ, a glory that will continue forever” (NCV). This is said right after the author (most likely, Peter) talks about resisting temptation and about satan’s desire to destroy us. I feel like this past year and a half I have been in that time of suffering, but I was blinded by it as well.

I’m now in a place of grace. I’m learning to accept grace not just each morning, but in every moment. To remind myself that I am not perfect, and I never will be.

Grace isn’t about not putting your best foot forward, but about understanding that God is with you when you try to put your best foot forward and miss the step. 

He will guide you in the next steps and continue to fill you with His spirit. Just as 1 Peter 5:10 says, God desires to make us strong, He desires to support us and to make shine for His glory. That is such a beautiful thing!

I’m still figuring out what grace truly looks like, and what God originally intended it to be. I’m learning how to accept it in ways that are truly life-changing, not just moment-changing.

Accepting grace is never easy, especially for those of us who are hard on ourselves. I have always been one to get easily upset with myself. I’m beginning to realize just how many blessings and beautiful things I have missed because of that. I’m also learning to deal myself quite a bit of grace for those moments that I don’t feel like I’m quite measuring up.

So, that is why the title of this blog has been changed. I’m learning how to catch grace and make it part of my daily living. It’s certainly not easy, but it’s one of the many blessings God offers us in this life.

Have a blessed day,

-Sadie

Quite Honestly: Relearning

I’m relearning everything.

In high school, I had a great fire inside of my heart for God. It was one of very few constants in my life, and I loved it.

In the past couple of weeks, I have begun to realize that this fire has died down…a lot…and that scared me.

Over the past year, Honduras had become my passion, which wasn’t a bad thing, but in this case it wasn’t the best. My passion for Honduras became to overtake my passion for Christ. I spent more time fueling that fire and putting energy into Honduras than I did into my relationship with God.

That relationship was always there, but it was changing. My heart was slowly pulling away from Christ and the tight relationship that had once existed.

I’m not exactly sure when my God-fire started fading, or when I stopped fueling it. It was one of those things that happened so slowly that I didn’t even notice (which is something else that scares me).

This trip has most definitely been the most challenging thing I have done in my life. As a 20-year-old, who still lives with her parents, there were so many new things for me to experience. Some of them have been great, and others not so great (I love mac n’ cheese, but sometimes that low-budget meal just doesn’t cut it). I have had to depend on God in ways I never did before. I’ve needed to depend on Him for comfort, strength, courage and most often, grace. Fortunately, we serve a God who is ever-ready to provide for our needs The problem is when we stop depending on Him first, and still expect Him to provide in everything.

This has been such a humbling experience for me, relearning the basics of my faith. I am learning the many places in which I need growth in my life, and have been taking steps in that. I feel like I have been truly growing up, truly maturing in ways I wouldn’t be able to without this experience. I still have so far to go.

This week, the biggest thing I have learned is God’s desire for us to be with him. I can feel it so often. Him just calling me to be with Him. Just to sit in his presence, soak in His truth. So many times I ignore it, thinking I have better things to do or whatever excuse I have at the time. Those times I do listen, God does huge things. I don’t know why it is so difficult for me to listen. I’m sure you’ve done the same thing. Sometimes, you just know God is calling to you, and yet, it’s so easy to pretend you can’t hear it. I’m learning how to tune my heart to His when He is calling me.

In the midst of all this growing and learning, I’m reliving my life again. I’m shedding all the lies that I began to buy into, and soaking up all the truths God has for me. It’s a process and not always successful, but it’s happening. I’m finding the joy and peace in which my life used to exist inside of and learning to live it out again.

I want a complete stranger to look at me, and see Christ.

Not just think that I have something different, or that my smile is full of joy, but that Christ is actually inside of me and leaking out.

I want Him to be undeniable.

The only way this is possible, is by soaking Him in.

It is such a challenge, it’s such a battle between the heart and mind. I am constantly having to choose Christ over worldly things, and I can’t say that is easy. It is incredibly difficult. Yet, the more often I choose Christ, the easier that choice gets. I believe that someday, it will not be a choice, but rather a habit. It will not be a chore (as it feels sometimes), but a delight. It will sincerely feel like something is missing if I haven’t had my time with Him. Why? Because that is how my life used to be. I used to dread having extremely full days, because I wouldn’t have time to just sit and be present with Him.

I could keep writing. I could talk about the challenges and triumphs I am walking through, but that isn’t my goal tonight.

My goal tonight is to be completely honest about where God has me, because I realized something today.

Here I am, at 20, living in a foreign country (supposedly the most dangerous country in the world) by myself, teaching English as a second language, and I am a missionary.

And yet, my priorities in life are completely off-balance.

In my heart, I am not a missionary, that is just a word. I don’t want that to be the case. I want missionary to be a heart-thing for me. I want to say I’m a missionary and feel that ring in my heart, in a way that makes God proud.

This is part of my testimony. No, I didn’t do stupid stuff in high school. I didn’t get into drugs or partying. I didn’t rebel against everything my parents raised me to be.

I don’t really have a past to run away from, and yet, I do.

Mistakes are mistakes, sin is sin. Turning from God looks the same to Him, even if it looks different to us. Planning life around what you want and what you think is best, is dishonoring to God if you aren’t first seeking Him. Dishonoring is something I never want to be, and yet it was something I was slowly becoming.

I lost sight of who I was, and was beginning to lost sight of who God is.

This blog, from the very beginning has been about two things: to keep my friends and family updated on life and to share what God is teaching me (in hopes of inspiring others). Those are the two things I always want it to be about. I can’t see the ways God has used this blog, I don’t know the people it has reached or not reached. All I know, is that God has put this passion and love of writing in my heart, and I am going to follow that endlessly.

This is where it starts. Honesty, relearning, grace, rebuilding and faith all start here. I don’t know where they will end, but I do know that God will be walking along-side me in all of this. At times, I’m sure he will be carrying me, but He will be present regardless.

Opening my heart in this way has always been scary for me, but it is part of the process.

So that is where I am, and I humbly ask you to be praying for me. God is so much bigger than my little brain can wrap around, and that excites me. I’m so glad to know that following Him is endless, that there is not a stopping point in my relationship with Him! He isn’t going to suddenly decide He is finished, and stop working in me.

So I’m going to keep walking towards Him and continue to relearn the basics of my faith.

A special thanks to everyone who has been supporting me on this journey. I cannot tell you how incredibly blessed I feel to have all of you around me, lifting me up in prayer and encouraging words.

Have a very blessed day,

-Sadie