The past few weeks have been a real roller-coaster of emotions for me. My husband just left for a multi-week trek. It is part of his ministry work, as well as having been a dream of his for a long time. He is walking the Camino de Santiago from St. Jean-Pied du Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain – a 769km ancient pilgrimage. He is walking with a group of college students and professors from Texas, as well as with the many other pilgrims for all over the world who make the decision to enter in to this daunting trek. Most are seeking to know Jesus in a deeper way, while some are just plain seeking. So he walks in order to spend his days walking alongside people who need to know more, know deeper, talk and be heard, or just walk in silence with someone who understands.
I am really excited for him! I am so happy that he has the opportunity to realize this goal and dream. I’ve been helping him get ready, helping him pack, helping him with devotionals. I am praying for him and doing everything that I can to encourage him and hold down the fort at home.
But there is this other side of me that isn’t happy. This ugly side of me that raised it’s ugly head and that I haven’t known what to do with. The Ugly Me has cried. The Ugly Me has been depressed. The Ugly Me has been jealous and envious and has worried about ridiculous things. I really haven’t liked the Ugly Me and I just wish she would go away!
It is like there have been two of me fighting an inner-battle for weeks now. Me #1 is excited, while Ugly Me is jealous. Me #1 is proud of him and is telling everyone about what he is up to, while Ugly Me is so envious that I’m not there, too. Me #1 is helping him complete his checklist for packing, while Ugly Me is so depressed that he is leaving for several weeks. Ugly Me is wondering, “Why am I helping him pack?! I’m actually helping in the process of him leaving!” And Me #1 is still 100% in love with this man who is about to take on hundreds of miles of trail and has willingly signed up to be dehydrated and exhausted and have feet full of blisters and sleep on whatever bed is available at the end of the day, all for the sake of helping someone else grow closer to Christ… what’s not to love in that?!
In all honesty, there has been a lot of fear in my heart. Fear that for the first time in our married life, he is doing something of major importance without me at his side. We have always been a team, and this is the first time that the team is not hand-in-hand.
I have feared that I can’t actually do life without him for weeks at a time. I haven’t ever changed the gas tanks on the water heater and the stove, I haven’t ever done the banking, I haven’t ever paid attention to how to set up the computer when we hook it to the television, or how much we feed the dogs in the morning. Those have all been his jobs.
I have had fear that he is going to grow deeper and closer to Christ and be changed in the process… I pray that for him!... but at the same time, I’m scared to death that he will come home so changed and so different that I won’t understand him anymore. What if we actually grow apart in this process? Serious fear creeps in deeper.
As we have tried to talk through my feelings about all of this, he has seen emotions in me that he doesn’t know what to do with – Who is this woman? Who is this usually very independent woman?
I think a big ah-ha moment came for me about a week ago, just before he left, when I realized that our families and friend probably had some of these same feelings when we started out on our journey as cross-cultural workers. When we took that big step and said “Yes” to moving overseas to live in another culture and work in ministry. I think about my mom and my family and how it must have felt to help us pack and have conflicting feelings of excitement and being proud of us, and also wishing that we wouldn’t go and wondering why they were helping us pack. Hmmm…
I think about my fear of not knowing how to live life without this man by my side for the next several weeks, and then I realized that I have friends who have lost spouses to cancer, who are single, who have lived through divorce. They all manage to make it. They all manage to do the banking and feed the dogs and change the gas tanks and all the things that need to get done. Ugly Me is a big, fat whiney baby who thinks she might die a catastrophic death if her almost-perfect husband goes on an out-of-town work trip for a while! Shame on Ugly Me. How embarrassing!
Maybe part of this whole process has changed me. Maybe I have grown deeper and stronger. I hope so. I know I feel less fear now, and I’m back to being Me #1 (mostly).
Pray for Billy from May 19-June 22 as he ministers to pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. You can follow his updates from the trail at http://www.drumsforchrist.org/france-to-compostela.html And pray for me a little while you’re at it – Pray that Ugly Me stays away and the Me #1 continues to remain supportive and prayerful and strong in his absence.
Who am I? In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a Southern Living / Martha Stewart wannabe, a soccer mom, and a short term mission team coordinator / intern director for missions in Mexico... you name it, I probably tried it!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! We have three incredible children... two adult boys who live in Texas, and the Sarah (14) lives with us in whatever country we are serving. I'm still teaching, still taking photos, still leading teams and mentoring, I just do it all in full-time service now! And I'm working hard at giving Southern Living and Martha Stewart a run for their money! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers and immigrant peoples, writing, and trying to figure out what life looks like for a Texas girl serving Christ in Southern Europe. Life in His service is AWESOME! I'm happy to share it with you here... Enjoy!