Saturday, October 09, 2010

Confessions of a People Person

"People...  People who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world..."

Can you hear Barbra Streisand singing that lonely song?  Back in August when we were trying to pack up and clean up our house and yard, that line from that song ran through my head a lot.  We were people who needed people.  A lot of people.  To clean with us, move our stuff, help pack it, care for our kids, make us food, deal with our yard, pray for us, encourage us...  We needed people.  

But, I confess that I didn't really like all of that needing.

It was uncomfortable.  Needing help is always uncomfortable for me.  I wished that God and Lowell and I could have gotten it together enough that we wouldn't be so obviously needing SO MANY other people to come save us so that we could actually drive out of town on Sept. 1.  The Thursday before we left, in the middle of all of the boxes and furniture waiting to be moved on Saturday and trying to pack for a looooong trip, I was angry at myself for still having so much to do.

But as usual, God wasn't angry at me like I was.  He knew that it was actually good.  It was good that I needed people.  IT WAS GOOD THAT I NEEDED THE BODY OF CHRIST.  He helped me realize that the fact that we really needed help meant that PEOPLE GOT TO HELP.  I might seem presumptuous here, but I hope and pray somehow it was actually a blessing to people that they got to be a part of sending us out into missions training because that was part of sending us out into the mission field.  And they got to be a part of that.  They got to bless us.  We were not just fine without them.  WE NEEDED THEM.

"People...  People who need people..."

So now here I am.  Far enough away from all of those people that I don't know what they're going through this week because I haven't connected with them since I left.  We've sent some prayer emails and a newsletter, but that's not like connecting in a personal way.  Not like a phone call.  Not like a long personal email.  And I know they want to know how we're doing, but I haven't known how to find the time to connect.    So, Jenni, to answer your question, it has definitely been quite hard to go from being a stay-at-home mom to a full-time trainee.  A couple of weeks ago, I would have said that was the hardest thing.  I'm still not quite used to getting up in the morning and having to GO somewhere instead of shooing everyone else (except Timo) out the door.  I miss having more wide-open time to spend with God.  Not that I didn't have stuff to do, because I was almost overwhelmed most of the time, but it was easier to find time to pray.  I could talk to someone on the cordless phone while I was doing laundry or the dishes.  I could connect with Annette at school and Paula when she picked up my kids.  I could call people during the day easily if I needed them to pray for me.  My mom could come by and help out for an hour, bringing with her whatever yummy food my dad had been cooking up that day.  My in-laws could stop by on their way home from the gym.

My stay-at-home-mom life was filled with people.

Edd, you asked about the retreat at Williams Lake.  Getting to spend a weekend several hours north of here at the church of our good friends Jeremy (he's the pastor there now) and Kara are was really special.  The retreat was powerful, but I was really wrestling by the end of it with how disconnected I felt.  God finally showed me that I was grieving.  Grieving the loss of my old church especially, because I was in a church setting.  It hurt a lot.  

I'm still grieving.

In some ways it's premature.  We're going to be back "home" for most of next year.  I know that.  But I also know that after that we'll be even further away.  So just like you start grieving the loss of someone who is dying long before they actually die, I'm grieving the temporary and the more long-term loss of relationships that we'll be facing in the sort of near future.  I was crying about it again this week...  feeling the pain of separation from people I love who love me and KNOW me.  And in the middle of it, God showed me something beautiful.

He reminded me of a lesson He's been teaching me this year about worship...  that worship in the Bible is so often connected to sacrifice.  Even in the New Testament (Romans 12:1) we're exhorted to offer our bodies as living sacrifices as a holy act of worship.  So what He showed me the other night was that when I'm feeling the sacrifice of leaving, I can offer it to Him as an act of worship.  I can worship Him with it.

And that can make even the pain beautiful.

To answer a couple of other questions my friends on Facebook asked, the kids are adjusting well.  Mik and Toby love their school and Timothy is happy going to school along with them.  We're learning so much every week and being challenged in so many ways.  God is doing transforming work in us and it's been harder than we expected in many ways, but more amazing than we expected as well.  And the lesson right now that I'm learning is that I need people.  Barbra would say that makes me one of the lucky ones.  I just know I need the Body of Christ.  And I always will.

And that is good.


  1. Beautifully written. It is a gift to be needed and to be able to share our God given gifts with each other. That's a lot of giving in one sentence. Knowing you for a while now, it's exciting to hear of your learning and growing (and giving in). You continue to be in my prayers daily. Please keep sharing your personal journey.


  2. Hey Melissa,
    I know its not the same, but I have been thinking of you and praying for you often even though we can't connect. I was especially thinking of you the other day when our pastor reminded us that we don't lose anything that we give to God, including our relationships with friends and loved ones. He even used the example of people who give up those relationships to serve on the mission field.
    It made me think of you and your recent sacrifices to move...

  3. Mel... wow, that touched my heart. And I know it touches God´s heart. Maybe it´s like the widow´s mite... a little offering in the scheme of things but to her it was everything.. it was what SUSTAINED her. I know relying on people doesn´t keep you alive, God does, but they do keep us sane and healthy and loved... I love what your friend Paula says... sacrifice to God is not for the sake of sacrifice, but I think in our offering GOD IS WITH US and that´s what makes all the difference. And just so you know I can relate... Melissa I grieved leaving Fresno for a whole year before I left. I was very thankful God gave me such long notice before I actually left. I needed that time to grieve, plan, and connect. And Fresno is still home to me. Very much so.
    So... I´m glad God showed you you´re grieving... because it will keep coming up. I think someone told me (it was you!!!) about grieving being like waves that still came and kept coming though they were smaller each time.... Now it´s big wave time, and it´s ok. Just make sure you tell God how you feel about it... including any anger you might have... it comes up... and He knows already. I think He WANTS us to acknowledge our anger bc so much pain is usually stored right underneath it... and then He can heal us. nuff said. I love you... and though I can´t understand all your journey, I can understand it in so many ways.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and heart with me.