Some Days are Like That…

I managed to eek out a Little time at home to try and catch up on some things.  With being gone at the farm everyday I was seriously falling behind on some of my other obligatory tasks like…oh…blogging.  Never mind balancing the checkbook, donor reports, writing home and the regular housework.  I don’t hang well with the feeling of being behind.  I end up dwelling on how little time I have, how I need more time, I don’t have enough time, and how I waste my time…

I think living in Africa has given exponential growth to my time related stress.  What I used to be able to do in an afternoon can now take me a week.  The half-dozen items on my to-do list is way too optimistic for a days’ work… I feel good if I can complete two.  Gone are the days of Target and Costco one-stop shopping and errand running.  Multi-tasking is not an option.

Some days are just like that…

So I have my day at home to get things done.  I am sure Rob anticipated a whole lot getting done, but somehow things went off track.  It was raining last week, and by raining I mean crashing rain.  Sheets of rain would be an understatement.  It did this for 3 days straight.  This doesn’t work well for the folks who have to hang the laundry on the line.  I thought I was OK hanging our clothes, in fact, in someways I like it better than the dryer.  That is, until I have to hang everything all over the inside of my house because it is raining. Laundry for 6 people is a lot of laundry! This gave me new drive to own a dryer.  We won’t own one (they are too expensive to run) but I have new drive anyway.

And the whole day went that way.  I just couldn’t seem to actually accomplish anything.  One thing after another… and really… everything… everything takes so much longer.

Dishes for example.

Honestly, it is not unusual to spend more than an hour just on dishes….

My poor husband came home to nothing done and me, more than ever, lamenting about how I don’t have time to get it all done.  Some days are just like that…please tell me you have days like that!

Well… that’s not the whole story.

We had planned to take 2 days R & R and spend some time at St. Lucia, South Africa.  We had heard that the beaches were stunning and it was so important to me to spend family time (all 6 of us) before sending Matthew back to school.  It is off season so we felt we had a great opportunity to take a few days before I teach this term, before Matt heads back, and before the prices go up.

Forecast for the 2 days:  rain and more rain.

By the time we went to bed on the eve of our trip we had decided it was better to just stay home.  Better to be wet and depressed at home than to take the trip and be wet and depressed…

After the lights went out and Rob was fast asleep I came out to the living room to think about these things.  I sat down and cried.  Cried and cried… I wept over the cancelled trip, over having to send Matthew back, over the wet laundry in my hallway, the dirty dishes in my sink and over never having enough time.

Matthew had been home for nearly a month and we had not been away together as a family being just a family.  Our entire break was filled with work.  Even at home we were working.  I know that we have been sent here to do work and I realize that many give sacrificially so that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus, but for real… I just want a few days with my family while we are all together in the same spot.

Pulling myself back together I went to bed and actually slept well.  I guess I just needed to unload right there before God in the middle of my living room.

The next morning we had the brilliant idea of postponing one day so we could at least have nice weather the afternoon of Saturday and we could remain for the first half of Sunday…while the weather was good.  A compromise was reached, we made all the arrangements and we were a family in St. Lucia.

Now that we are all sun-burnt, rested and caught up on enough Yatzee to hold us over until next term break, I am ready to give my time again.  I am also ready to have Matthew go to school.  I learned something about myself here…that the breaks are important, especially when it comes to being a family.  Not just important… but the only way I am going to make it.

I am suddenly reminded of lessons learned over the years regarding Sabbath. (like..over and over…)  In fact, our training at MTI gave us an entire afternoon on the topic.  I guess missionaries are particularly neglectful of this God-honoring practice.

I wrote the following in the post titled, “Trained.”  It still convicts me.   I pray that the Lord will write the law of Sabbath on my heart…

“Is it no wonder I get overwhelmed with all that I have to do…so busy, busy, busy…yet never actually getting anything done?  Why is it that I think hoarding my time, never offering a day of rest for the Lord, will bear fruit?  Even the secular world recognizes the need for rest.  Here my God demands it and I struggle to make the sacrifice.  The bottom line truth is this:  It is counter intuitive, but to not do so is counter productive.
Honestly, I believe had I been honoring the command for rest, I would have felt more in control and would have been more effective.  I robbed myself of precious time by not being willing to give it.
What a gracious God we have… to expect us to take time for rest.  Why is it so hard to accept this precious gift?  One word:  Intentionality.  Time to plan for Sabbath.  Make time for Sabbath.”
If you would like to see what our weekend was like in St. Lucia, I have added photos to our Picasa account.  Go to the tab called, “snap-shots” and follow the link.
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5 thoughts on “Some Days are Like That…

  1. I can very much relate… Most times I forget dryers and dishwashers even exist! it is good to know that half way around the world we are not alone and our struggles are shared. thank you for sharing. I am glad you all went away. Honoring the sabbath really is the only way to make it, to continue to be faithful all along the journey. We love you all. Send Rob and the kids our hugs and greetings. Y para que Rob puede practicar su español, “Que Criisto sea tu amanecer y atardecer, su respirar, caminar y el palpitar de sus corazones.” LOVE YOU!! °Fernando and Jessica

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  2. Jen – thanks for your honesty, your sharing, your help in reminding us all of God’s gifts. In the midst of finding “time”, please know that you are loved and we are praying for you all. Plus, we are so eager to see you in December. Hugs to everyone. – Joy & Jack

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  3. I remember when we visited our daughter in Haiti and everything took her ages to do too. She hand-scrubbed her clothes in a tub,hung them on a clothesline higher than the goats could chew, had to soak all her fruits and veggies in bleach water, and had to use an outside outhouse where the cockroaches lived. Shopping for food was done almost daily at open markets. She had a dorm room sized refrigerator with a door that didn’t want to stay shut and the electricity went off for hours almost daily. She spent all her time just trying to live….not to say anything about outside work. So your story really sounded familiar. I will pray for you as you start adding full-time teaching to the mix. Your lessons learned are a good reminder to ALL of us.

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