About the Author

After returning from living in SE Asia with her family, Laura now writes from the mountains of Colorado. She runs the communications efforts at The Exodus Road, a nonprofit focused on fueling investigations into human trafficking. She also leads conversations for international humanitarian workers at the collective blog, ALifeOverseas.com. Laura...

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  1. “bloom in the dark” – love this language. and the vivid description of the angry stomp. although i wasn’t late to thai language school, i’ve definitely thrown a bike, cussed, cried and used the angry stomp. thanks for writing true.

    • Kendal, glad I’m not the only one crying and cussing and stomping. At least I’m in good company. 🙂

      Here’s to forgiveness and grace for ourselves . . .
      and others when we witness them doing the same.

    • YES, Shelly,

      “hard, lonely, daily.” Isn’t that the truth of living out this faith that somehow I missed in Sunday School . . . maybe it was just that I wasn’t listening. But I totally agree that we have this false perception that following Jesus should be “sweetness and light” and roses and angles and fairies.

      And, most of the time,
      it just so isn’t.

      Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. I love this, “You dive in with hopeful optimism, only to discover that maybe it’s not so much about saving the world, as it is about being saved from yourself. ” Sometimes I think God likes to remind us that our most important mission everyday is to simply cling to Him. That’s a tough one sometimes! So thankful for God’s grace!

    • Shelli, I hear you. The waiting for the dream is a really hard place too and requires such faith and patience, right? It’s hard to feel lost, to feel like you are caught in the fog. It’s frustrating to want to do something, but not know what it is you are supposed to be doing.

      Hang in there. I reckon there are lessons in the waiting for the dream, too.

      Which one is harder– the waiting or the surviving? Hmmmm . . .

  3. Thank you for this Laura. I did the angry stomp this morning when my kids locked our van with the keys inside and I couldn’t find the spare because, you know, we are in the process of moving and nothing is where it should be. So I yelled and cried and just was not the mom that my kids need right now during all this change. I have no clue, NO CLUE what we are going to be doing in South Africa, but maybe it will be just like you said, that God is moving me to save me from myself.

    • Oh, Jonna, what a hard place you are in– preparing to move overseas. Hang in there, sweet friend. Give yourself grace to have a few meltdowns. Okay, not, grace for a whole heck-uv-a-lot of meltdowns! Keep keeping on in the hope that

      “God will never lead you where His grace can not keep you.” { smart guy I can’t remember the name of said that}

      Praying for your family, tonight, from here,
      Laura

  4. I don’t know how to dream anymore. I have been praying and asking God to teach me how to dream cause I just don’t have any dreams. They have been beat up and pushed aside and no longer exist.

    I have done these tantrums along the way. It seems that much of my life has been just about surviving and being saved from myself. I think I am just surviving in my marriage at the moment. I guess I am living the dream of teaching since I alway wanted to teach since I was little and I teach at a daycare/preschool now. Sometimes it is just surviving in a class of two year olds turning three.

    • Katie,

      You are in a hard place, friend. Really hard. To feel like the dreams have gotten beat out by life’s blows, to feel like marriage is something to survive, to feel like the dream of teaching isn’t really that “fun” sometimes, after all. This is HARD. This is GRITTY. This is

      FAITH-BUILDING. The daily gross is the stuff that will develop and grow and mark you, forever. Hang in there.

      Don’t quit. Keep Surviving. I’m right there with you.
      And I only have ONE three year old to teach. 🙂

  5. I can so relate to your experience. I am living in a new country – South Africa- with my husband who is from here. I can say that this year has been alot of God saving me from myself…it is definitely not like the glamourous picture I had envisioned. culture shock is ugly and frightening….many days I doubt whether I am a Christian! Being uncomfortable brings out so many things in our hearts and most of the time it is not a fun process, but very necessary. My hubby and I would like to go back to Europe to do missions work, we are dreamy eyed and visionary at the moment, but I know…deep down…I know that it is going to be a difficult transition once again…following Jesus is risky business 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your heart!

    • Oh, Charissa, I LOVED what you said: “Being uncomfortable brings out so many things in our hearts and most of the time it is not a fun process, but very necessary.”

      I totally agree, and I just hate what is so often revealed in mine.

      Loved hearing from you today, my South-African friend,
      Laura

  6. Thank you. I am surviving through a dream right now, too. Except I am stateside, young, single and took a new ministry job 6 states and 700 miles from everyone and everything I know. And basically I am a self-proclaimed missionary to a dark little town that needs a lot of Jesus. And most mornings I wake up and think “How did I get here, and why am I still here?” Thank you for this post. I am praying through things here and asking Jesus a lot of questions. Bless you in your mission work in Thailand…you’re living a dream I would love to do, as well.

    • April, I loved hearing from you and ADORED your honesty. Oh, it sounds like you are in a hard place of disappointment and disillusionment. I have tasted THAT before, still tasting it, actually, and it is a hard pill to swallow. Hard to not feel purposeful or effective or like you have community. And then the doubt starts to creep in, the question of “Did I hear God right in the first place?” THAT’s a hard one to be hearing when you are in the midst of things NOT going well. But, even so– keep clinging and pursuing others and God and giving thanks and just
      PERSEVERING.

      Thanks for commenting, and I am saying a prayer for you now.
      Really, right now, April.

  7. Oh. My. Girl! You truly said it like it is – you have this gift to do that, and I’m incredibly and totally enamored by your writing-style, your truth-living and telling.

    The angry stomps, the shouting, the bike throwing (or {the glass} in my case), the “I want to do this, but only like this” way of thinking, the yuck and muck of who we are and the realization of how Big His Grace Is…you speak of it so well, and you have blessed me today in your telling of it.

    I have big ambitious plans to be what I don’t act like, look like, or sound like. I am not who I am on the outside – deep inside. And so I trust that God knows what He’s doing. And I try to remember – especially now, as He’s invited me on this journey of writing out loud – that I am honoring Him alone with my heart and risk taking and bold way of living wholly me…free.

    And your mission and your grand plans…I had those, too. My husband and I were house parents last year to eight teenage boys who were given a better chance, academically. sometimes I want a pat on the back for it. In my heart I wanted to *change them* and didn’t imagine all the *changing* God would do in MY life, in my heart, through that experience.

    our willingness isn’t always for others…it’s for Him to do with us what we could never imagine! And it doesn’t always (and hardly, actually) look all wrapped up pretty-like.

    Keep on!

    Oh, and the *bloom in the dark* piece…wowza! Truly!

    • Oh, girl– I loved hearing this and hearing of your ministry last year to 8 boys! Wow– gutsy! And I can only imagine lots more grit than you imagined in the daily life of managing/mothering 8 teenagers. That just sounds tough on a lot of levels.

      Love your honesty here. Your admission that following Christ just isn’t always what we expect and it sure as heck isn’t always pretty.

      You “keep on!” too . . . 🙂

  8. Ah, humanity getting in the way of the dream. I hear you, girl. God is the only one who can be perfect but thankfully He is willing to carry out His Dreams through broken human beings. I struggle everyday with my pitiful self and long to be that”wonderful, accepting, loving human being” I think God wants and people are looking at. I am not but by God’s grace I am accepted.

    • Love what you wrote here– “humanity getting in the way of the dream.” Yes, didn’t that happen first in the Garden– human choices screwing up God’s initial “dream?”

      Thank heavens He can work even the very nature of our flawed humanity to bring GOOD out of the mess, anyway.

      And, yes, He makes us “accepted.” Loved that, too.

  9. Gosh, I’m living this right now. God called me a couple years ago from the corporate world back to school to a grad program in a health care field in order to serve others. Throughout these past couple of years I have faced illness unlike any other time…granted God has been there with me through it all, carrying me. You stated it right on with~
    “Oftentimes, living them out is a lot more desert than you expected. You forge ahead with high ideals, only to find grit and heat and a request to bloom in the dark. You dive in with hopeful optimism, only to discover that maybe it’s not so much about saving the world, as it is about being saved from yourself. ”
    Thanks so much for sharing and for your honesty. God winked at me today through your words. I thank you for being open to writing what God knew needed to be read this morning. God Bless~

    • Emily– oh isn’t that hard? When sacrificing and stepping out of the boat leads mostly to . . .

      HARDSHIP. Specifically, for you, physical sickness. It’s a hard road to walk, and I wonder if so often we set out because we are allured by the “ministry” or “dream job”, but God uses the “dream ministry” to pull us out into places where we are stripped of everything and are forced to be more utterly dependent on Him. And that maybe that was His plan all along . . . being after our hearts, first.

  10. Your blog was forwarded to me today and I am so encouraged by you honesty. You asked, “Do you have a dream that you are surviving?”. It made me think that surviving your dream can often feel like surviving “not living the dream”. I am a 47 year old believer who has walked with the Lord for the past 20 years… I thought that I was living the dream, until about two years ago when my now ex husband (also a Christian) announced that he no longer loved me and wanted to end our marriage. Despite trying my best to keep us together, he was “not interested” and our divorce was final this past October. I have often questioned God “why”…. and now know that surviving is related to suffering, which leads to dependence . It doesn’t feel good, but it does drive us to our maker… and that is what He wants. I hope that I am making sense…. Know that you are doing exactly what God wants…. He WILL work all things to His glory…. stomping and all. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kelley,

      Oh, what a hard road you have been asked to walk these last two years. I am so so sorry.

      I loved what you have learned though– “that surviving is related to suffering, which leads to dependence.” I NEEDED to hear THAT today. Thank you.

  11. This? This post, your words today, was like a dart aimed directly at that place of wrestling and questioning and struggling I’ve pushed down and tried to ignore. THANK YOU for your honesty … knowing that someone else rides the roller coaster of disappointment and failure and mundane nitty gritty even amidst the joy and success and excitement made me feel, well, less crazy!

    After exploring your blog a bit, I discovered that about the same time you were leaving for the field, we were coming home … it was only a few months … but it was hard — life in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Jungle living at its best … or worst. And now we’re here, but the question still looms (and haunts?): are we going back? Where is God really calling us to serve? and my mind rushes to a million excuses and heart dreams and uncertainty … and most of all … fear. But enough of the therapy session … THANK YOU for sharing your heart. Knowing that we’re not going at it alone makes the load a bit lighter.

    …and hopefully to encourage you … on one of my hardest days in the jungle, God gave me this:

    I was reading in Genesis 12:10-20 about how Abraham lied and compromised his wife’s integrity in order to save his own hide and the consequences that resulted from that. Fortunately, “the weaknesses of God’s children do not strain the strength of God” (Beth Moore). In discussing what Abram could have done differently, Beth Moore quotes F.B. Meyer’s proposal of an alternative plan:

    “How much better would it have been for Abraham to have thrown the responsibility back on God and to have said, ‘Thou has brought me here; and Thou must now bear the whole weight of providing for me and mine: here I will stay till I clearly know what Thou wilt have me to do.’ If any should read these lines who have come into positions of extreme difficulty, through following the simple path of obedience, let them not look at God through difficulties, as we see the sun shorn of splendour through a fog; but let them look at difficulties through God. Let them put God between themselves and the disasters which threaten them. Let them cast the whole responsibility upon Him. Has He not thus brought you into difficulties, that He may have an opportunity of strengthening your faith, by giving some unexampled proof of His power? Wait only on the Lord, trust also in Him…He will provide.”

    • WOW, Erika, your story was so rich and honest. And that quotes was so right-on. I adore the part about “throwing the responsibility back on God to be saved.” Holy-moly, that is a good word. One that encouraged me this morning.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment and encourage.
      Saying a prayer right now for you for new direction . . .

  12. Wowza! Thanks for the fresh, real look into life as God’s children. We fail, we pout, we even cuss sometimes. And He loves us anyway. 🙂

    I used to have a sporty car that was impossible to get into reverse–once I even cried and punched the dash when I was trying to get to work on time and couldn’t get out of the parking lot. I feel you, girl. I finally learned to release and re-engage the clutch and push down on the gear shifter.

    • Tracey, amazing how the mundane things often highlight the supernatural ones that are going on in our hearts, isn’t it? How so often we are “purified” not by huge trials but by the hair dryer not working or the car not shifting. Interesting that your car solution was first:

      “releasing. and then re-engaging.”

      Maybe a life lesson for us on some levels?

  13. Yes! Everyday just as a wife and mother. I’m exhausted and bruised. I was always told growing up that I’d be the perfect Susie Homemaker. I really thought I would be. Boy was I WRONG. I find myself just looking around and wondering, how on earth am I going to get through today. I know it’s a gift to stay home, my children are a gift but there are days, I can’t see beyond the pee on the toilet seat, that I just sat in. I can’t see beyond racing to school just in time, after searching high and low for missing homework. I can’t see beyond the curse words that just left my mouth over a stubbed toe and the shame that comes after they exit. Those are the times I need to get down on my knees and pray. We’ll all survive it and someday, we can look back and smile at the glory days. Until then, I’m going to keep checking the toilet seat for signs of pee and remember that this too shall pass 🙂

    Blessings,
    Mel
    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

    • Mel– oh, YES! Isn’t motherhood sometimes one of the biggest “dreams we have to survive?” Absolutely. I hadn’t even connected that, but I totally agree. Oftentimes the reality of raising children is just
      so
      hard.

      Thanks for being honest with that reality– pee on the toliet seat and all. 🙂

  14. Starry eyed and PUMPED to serve God, my husband and I left Bible college 10 years ago to move overseas to attend a seminary and serve in ministry. We knew the stuff, we read the stories, we had missionary friends … we were going to ROCK this crossing-cultures thing.

    Um, yeah. And then we landed. A five hour (terrifying, life-threatening) van ride later, we arrived at the school, were dropped off in the dark, in a cloud of fog (literally, visibility was near 0) with our bags and were told our apartment was “that way.” We couldn’t even tell if there was a building “that way” … it could have been a sheer cliff for all we knew.

    Someone appeared out of the fog (thank you, God!) and showed us to our “apartment” (a.k.a. itty-bitty room). When he left, we turned to each other, hugged, and SOBBED. What on EARTH had we done? WHY had we done it? What made us think this was a good idea???

    Boy did we learn a LOT that year. (Was supposed to be 3, but due to circumstances back at home, we had to return early.) HUMBLING doesn’t even BEGIN to describe it. PHEW!!! (And yes, we cussed and stomped, too! HAAA!)

    Now I’m where Mel is … sitting on pee-covered toilet seats and hitting my knees each night begging for forgiveness and grace for all the things I said/did that simply weren’t honoring to God OR a blessing to my family. Still be HUMBLED. Still, sometimes, wondering how the heck I got to this place.

    But still hanging on and trusting God that He knows. He loves. He forgives. He strengthens. He is all we need.

    Hang in there, Laura!! Thanks for sharing your story!

    • What a great story. I was totally right there with you and your husband in that apartment, asking “What in the heck have we done?!” Oh, what a hard entrance into overseas living . . .

      And now, to living at home. A different kind of service, and one that in some ways is harder. Because missionaries at least get certain “pats on the back,” but a stay-at-home mom is REALLY asked to bloom in the dark. To serve in ways that go unnoticed. To love her God and her family, when it counts the most, but mostly doesn’t feel like it does.

      I hear you.

  15. What a breath if fresh air! Your honesty is so encouraging and I agree wholeheartedly. I believe that God, no matter where we live, or what we are doing is trying to save us from ourselves. He is persistent in reminding us, His ways are best. His name will be glorified despite ourselves. My dream of having a large family is on hold as I ‘survive’ 3 under 5. I am often in survival mode and have to remind myself that the Lord is my strength on a daily basis.

    • Cheryl,

      I had three under five once, and it was one of the hardest seasons of my life– the grittiest choices of love and obedience I think might be made as a mother to young children, dontcha think?

      Hang in there . . . keep loving well and depending on Him.

      • Laura,

        Thank you for taking the time to reply! Yes, I think you’re right. Being a mother of young children is gritty and extremely difficult at times. Thanks for the encouragement.
        I applaud you for doing it overseas! My husband and I have a heart for missions and are willing to go where God leads us. But sometimes I wonder how would I ever do this in a foreign country??!
        May God bless you and your husband’s work! Thanks again for the response.

  16. Oh my yes! I love the honesty. “Sometimes living out your dream takes the guts to survive parts of it.” Very well said! I have those moments myself. It’s so refreshing to know I’m not alone.

  17. Love the honesty! Frankly one of my dreams died, so I’m looking to God for some new ones. He is providing them, blessed be His provident name.

  18. Being real doesn’t always feel safe, it’s a risk really. But we all live in reality and not the Sunday’s-best-dressed-buttoned-down-kind. Love the honesty as we work our walk out. My dream of living on a farm, cowgirl country, and rolling hills came true a couple of years ago. Now it’s just surviving the dilipated farmhouse which is a constant remodel and cleaning up littered remains of what used to be a chicken and cow ranch with no tractor or equipment to help quicken the process. I’ve been humbled and prostrate and cried and complained and some days see bright rays of hope. Surviving is transferring to being contented–until the next farm/house crisis. Then I start the cycle over again. I’m so relating. Promised land required a desolate desert and wilderness before it was attained and even the Promise required a crossing and battle just to make it theirs. I feel like I’ve been in a battle.

    • Tammy, oh, I love your risky honesty, too! And I LOVED the way you related surviving the dream to the Promised Land and the desert living and battle to get there. I hadn’t thought of that, but it is a perfect Truth to encourage us all as we head forward out of Egypt.

  19. I’m a stay home mom (in texas) and homeschool 4 children. I have always wanted to do missionary work, but believe right now my home is my mission field. And like you, dear sister in Christ, i have had my moments of stomping and cussing and crying, all in front of my children. For which i’ve had to repent, and ask forgiveness, and mourn my weak flesh. How could i possibly set an example for my children, and reach them for Christ, when i can’t even walk the walk i tell them about. Grace. I know that God is bigger than my mistakes, …Oh Lord, less of me and more of you.

    • Michelle– yes I think motherhood is one of the absolute most challenging roles possible. I homeschool, too, and it is so tough on so many levels– such a place of quiet obedience and service. And it’s hard because a mother’s work usually doesn’t go very noticed or applauded.

      But, yes, “God is bigger than my mistakes.” Oh, thank heavens for that . . .

      Keep loving those kids with the best of you.

  20. Laura,
    I cannot thank you enough for sharing this post…wow! I could so identify with your thoughts and feelings…my husband and I along with our 2 small children packed our lives up and headed to PNG after many years of training and preparing for a lifetime of church planting ministry. We struggled through many disappointments, heartaches and hurts…long story short after just 1 1/2 years there we returned home disillusioned, confused, in debt and feeling as though somehow we “got God’s will for us wrong” and felt as though “we failed”. It has taken YEARS to deal with these feelings and work through them. So I agree SO much with your thought “Sometimes living out the dream takes the guts just to survive parts of it”. The most incredible truth our Pastor gave us that I still go back to is that “God’s will is not a Destination but a journey”. I thought all along that PNG was “IT” for us…then didn’t understand why He “took that away from us”. That wasn’t it at all. He BLESSED us with the GIFT of 1 1/2 years in an amazing country, making amazing friends and then allowed us to come back home!!! Wow, what a loving Heavenly Father. Thanks for sharing your heart!!!

  21. “But that’s the thing I’m learning about dreams–even God’s dreams for us. OFTEN TIMES LIVING THEM OUT IS A LOT MORE DESERT THAN YOU EXPECTED.”

    Oh yes.

    Only I try to through my hissy fits in private. e’hem

  22. Real missionaries don’t get upset…BAHAAHAHAHAHA! I spent two years tentmaking in Asia, and I distinctly remember walking down the street two months in, and praying, “God: I don’t like this place and I almost hate these people. I am so tired, and so tired of being singled out (I don’t. look remotely asian). I have a return ticket in my hand… But I’m sure you called me here and that’s the only reason I’m still here. So give me a love for these people, ’cause I can’t conjure it up.”

    And while it took me some time to figure it out, you know, He did! But I will admit to more hissy fits along the way. Sometimes, it’s just tough. And frankly, I think we have misunderstood the message when we expect it to be otherwise.

    The good news is, HE is always faithful! Here’s clinging to that truth!
    J-Dub

    • So good, J-Dub! I loved reading about your experience in Asia, b/c I can so relate on so many levels. The culture shock is such a harder pill to swallow than I had imagined. Glad you survived it and lived to the other side, where you saw some redemption. It’s encouraging to me!

  23. Dear Sisters in Christ, how I can relate to so much of what your are expressing! Thank you Laura, and every person that is posting here, for being vunerable and sharing, it is DEFINITELY providing a place for us to connect and provide comfort and encouragement, which we all need. I apologize for not providing my real name, but due to the transparency of what I am sharing, I feel I must do this in this public forum. I hope it will not prevent an authentic connection. I am called to be a ‘missionary’ of sorts as a single woman in an isolated work and living situation in the states. I have been committed to serving Christ beginning in May of 1981. He is my joy, and my life.
    When you speak of being stripped of many things in order that God may show His power, it is an understatement of my exsistence! By 2003, I had lost every close family member I had – 6 people – including my marriage. At times I suffered from debilitating depression but also experienced resurrection through an antidepressant, not to mention, His continued faithfulness and provision for me in all other areas. Three separate seasons of unemployment after 2000, separation from my beloved daughters and a nightmare place of employment, again God once again more than earned his title of Redeemer-Deliever in my life by bringing me into my current place.
    His goodness, and love and blessing was pouring forth when He brought me here (& of course still is!) I think it’s true…we are not just ‘saved’ once…but in reflection we can see several sign posts, where we couldn’t sunk to our deaths, but instead He ‘saved’ us. I then had several years of freedom financially and reprieve emotionally.
    Again, after God awakened me to some unconscous behavior (charging too much on my credit card) and the horror of realizing, I alone was responsible for putting myself
    into the pit of debt (debtors prison) began suffering from panic attacks and increased anxiety. After a harrowing 4 month ‘trip’ through hell, due physical things out of my control and then ill affects of prescriptions to ease
    racing heart and anxiety, in the middle of all that, I had to learn to fight the Spiritual War that descended upon me. Three a.m. can’t sleep, in great physical pain, demons attacking my mind, and me welding the Word with what little strength I had. But Praise God! Once, again, I can say I survived…and not without God’s total involvement. He sent an angel in the form of a doctor who prescribed a drug that finally allowed my system to be balanced again, restoring normalcy (my company does not provide health insurance) Despite my unpopular work location, He sent one Godly brother who physically visited me and ministered to me, loved me, & prayed for me. Hallelujah. Lately, in our church we’ve been learning of the wounds of our souls…and how they may still allow the enemy to wreck havoc in our lives. Being single I was not afforded the luxury of spouse’s ‘heads up’ for my uncounscious behavior, but Jesus alone, is teaching me all things. For some it may be resorting to alcohol, drugs or gambling…It has become clear to us who are involved in this study of soul wounds…how much we need this healing!
    Recently I have struggled with staying focused due to the fire of delayed answers (See book by Bob Sorge, “The Fire of Delayed Answers” an excellent work and have wrestled with myself due to the oppressive circumstances here. There are times when I feel myself becoming weak and floundering and I know He is carrying me. He knows my heart is set on obeying Him and my weaknesses are not a surprise to Him, lol, although ‘the dross’ that comes forth from us can be shocking to ‘us’! Through the hardship of ‘the desert’ and the fire of isolation and delayed answers, I am utterly in His hands, at His mercy, and positioned for His GREAT DISPLAYS OF GLORY, Hallelujah. It’s all for His purposes, for us and for others. I do hope my struggles will be an encouragement to all who may read this today. I know and believe that every bit of our suffering, is not only for our ultimate good but also to HIS BEAUTIFUL GLORY. The Lord richly bless you and keep you. I look forward to reading more of your posts, and thank you for ministering to me! Yours in Him.

    • Thanks so much for honestly sharing your story– of struggle, loss, provision, healing, redemption, and the faithfulness of God. I think there is such power when we have the courage to honestly share our stories, our journeys, and that is what you have taken the time to do here.

      Thank you for your encouragement as you keep trusting and growing!

  24. I love this, Laura. Real, God-sized dreams are hard. Sometimes tantrum-inducing, just keep my head above water heard. Thank you for sharing the reality of it so truthfully here.

    And yeah, I dream to be a published writer…and I’ve spent many a moment stomping through the desert.

    • Michelle,

      Yes, the dream of writing and becoming published is definitely something that one has to just “survive” oftentimes, I think. Mostly because it seems like usually a LONGER process to actually come to fruition (I mean, that’s what I hear from published writers!).

      Love that you have the courage to speak out the dream . . . keep writing . . .

  25. Wow. That was one of your best, Laura. I am so thankful to call you a friend. This post is life giving and refreshing!

  26. Laura, I cannot tell you how good it was for my soul to read post. I sometimes spend too much of my time trying to be ‘perfect’ and feel disheartened when I cannot achieve it. Not many people can admit to their angry stomps. I thank you for having the courage to write with such honesty. It certainly helped this mum 🙂

    • Oh, good, Amanda– glad you were encouraged . . . I, too, have struggled so much with the “quest for perfection.” And that quest is just never, ever, ever, reached, right? In fact, the more I try for it, the more I seem farther away from it!

      Hang in there . . .

  27. Laura, gotta first say that I’m so stoked to read you over here at (in)Courage again!!!
    And…rejoicing with you, in how far you’ve come since this post. How far God has brought you, grown you. How you’ve allowed us to grow & dream & fear & hope along with you. Maybe you’re a better missionary than you think…and just maybe, your mission field is so much further-reaching than Latitude 18 Asian soil.

  28. As a fellow missionary, thank you Laura for putting into word what is reality for so many of us. Following God IS hard and costly, and I have struggled incredibly with disillusionment and anger myself. I’ve been back in ministry my “western-country home” during the last couple of years, and it’s EASY compared to the cross-cultural stress of living in another country where even a little thing like getting to school can become a massive hurdle. I’m now preparing to return to Asia in the next few months, and your post expressed exactly why deep down in my heart I’m torn about returning. It’s HARD.

    BUT God calls us to follow Him. Not to follow our own dreams, not to follow the dreams of our culture, but to follow HIM. And even though His path might mean we feel like we are simply surviving, it does hold untold riches and grace for us, riches and grace that we don’t necessarily experience to the same degree when we are living an easier life that is more “do-able” in our own strength. Because even though life here in this western country is, on the surface, happier and easier, I look back to those times in Asia when all I had was Him, and all I held on to was His hands, and it WAS WONDERFUL to be “just surviving” in His grace.

    Thank you again.

    • I wanted to add that just to have someone acknowledge and express the feelings you shared is huge. It makes it normal and okay for all of us who have experienced those feelings.

    • Victoria,

      I loved reading your comment, your perspective– specifically as on who has lived in Asia and preparing to return. I love that you are returning– with a more realistic picture this time of the struggle. I think that for you, that makes the going back such a sweeter sacrifice, maybe, because you KNOW what you are getting into, so to speak.

      I’d love to hear of your continuing journey in missions. Thanks for following . . .

      Love from here, Laura

  29. As always, I love your authenticity, Laura. I think we can all relate to that kind of frustration, which is only more intense when you are frustrated with what you asked God to give you. I’ve felt that sort of tension mostly in my marriage. When I said “I do” 17 years ago, I believed God wanted me to live my life with this man. I believe that more than ever today – but we have survived so much to make it here. There were many times I prayed (especially in the first 10 years), “Why did you do this to me, God?”

    Now, I know. Not for my happiness (although today, I’m overjoyed Corey is my partner), but mostly for my holiness. I know God now in a way I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t pushed through the darkness of my “dream.” Praying for you, friend, that the same will be true of you.

  30. Oh, the angry stomp. I have been there way to many times recently and am learning (again) the reality of not being able to be strong in myself, but to cling to Him. Thank you for such an honest post and the encouragement of knowing that I am not the only way who has these days.

  31. My husband and I are missionaries in Honduras. I relate to this post more than anything I have read in a long time. Praise the Lord that someone else feels like a “crappy” missionary. I have cussed at people in Honduras, and the sky, and cursed this place. All because my dream is a desert more often than not. Lord, help us.

  32. Thank you SO much for your honesty and transparency, in it, you have encouraged me that even in the ‘desert days’ God can break us and reform us…actually it’s the desert days that get us there. When we are weak He is strong…and gosh, we’re weak!

  33. Oh! If I could only trust to let go of my dreams for the one the Lord has for me! Laura, you are such a rare blessing in this unholy land of our passing through!! Thank you for your raw emotions and the courage to speak what I am feeling! Love you , lady!

  34. Love this honesty! I am currently in the process of moving to rural Eastern Uganda September 4th to head up an organization called Muzungu Mama Ministries.

    So many people tell me day after day that they are amazed by what I am doing are that they wish they could do the same. The applause feels good for about a split second, and then I remember that in less than two months I was be the only white person living my in town, caring for children all alone, and learning 3 new languages!

    It’s gonna be so tough and I know there will be many “cuss wothy days”…but I am just trying to move forward into obedience…even when I know it will absolutely suck some days! haha

    Followed your blog for a while and I absolutely LOVE it! Praying for you and your family!