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“Are you excited to go back?”

August 17, 2012

“You must be so excited! Right?”

“Are you looking forward to going back?”

“That sounds so great! Are you excited?”

Someone asks me some form of this question every few days. Sometimes it’s to fill a space in our conversation. Sometimes it’s because they’re really curious whether I’m excited. I’m not sure how to balance honesty and optimism and what people want to hear. Sometimes I don’t say what I’m actually thinking because it’s not the socially acceptable thing to say. And I don’t want to make someone feel awkward if I don’t have to, and I don’t want to think about my emotions more than I have to. But I’ll go ahead and answer it here.

No. No, I’m not excited. No, I’m not looking forward to going back to the Solomon Islands. No, I don’t think it’s great.

I’ll let you get over that shock for a second. I’m not saying this to make you feel bad for asking or to pity me. I sure don’t want you to think I’m a worse missionary or less spiritual for saying that. But it’s true, and you deserve to hear it.

Click over to this post for a second. It’s about why someone is choosing to adopt two children with special needs. His answer: “because we are compelled to.” Really, go read it, I’ll still be here when you come back.

My version of the above post’s questions:

Are you doing this because you like excitement and adventure?

Are you doing this because you don’t like the U.S.?

Are you doing this because you really love the people in the Solomon Islands?

Are you doing this because you want your kids to be global citizens and be well-traveled?

No, no, no, and definitely no.

John’s dad with Baby M

I love my family. I love John’s family. I supremely dislike the knowledge that we are moving our two-year-old and our baby away from their grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and all of our other relatives in the midwest and scattered throughout the country. John and I cried together a few Saturday nights ago when finishing up our talk for church the next morning. I’ve gotten choked up in front of a few congregations when a pastor or someone in the congregation asks, “What’s the hardest thing about going back?” and John knows to answer that question because I can’t talk right then. If John and I thought this wasn’t what God wants us to be doing, I would resign from Wycliffe tomorrow, or this afternoon.

my dad with Little D

I’m doing this because, if I did anything else, I would be disobeying God. Everything deep within me, which my Creator put there, urges me to continue to pursue doing Bible translation in the Solomon Islands. That’s what God has for me right now, and if I stayed in the U.S. because I like almost everything about American life more than I like my life in the Solomons, I wouldn’t be able to live with my conscience. I’d have to dull my senses to the burning, uninvited push that I’ve felt for years toward overseas mission work. I didn’t specifically invite that push–I’d un-invite it if I could–but a long time ago I told God that he’s in charge of my life and that I’d do what he tells me to. I’m still telling him that, so I still have to follow through.

It’s not glorious. It’s not fun. It’s hot there and I hate (hate!) the ants in our kitchen, and I haven’t figured out how to drive on the left-hand side of the road, and it’s tiring to always stick out because I’m white. You might think I live an exciting day-to-day life there, but I’m probably doing laundry, cutting up vegetables, reading a Solomon Islands history book, or talking with neighbors. All fine things, but not especially exotic.

I’m not doing this for an adventure. I’m doing this because I can’t not do it.

-Lori

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. stacey permalink
    August 17, 2012 10:02 am

    love you guys

  2. traever permalink
    August 17, 2012 10:30 am

    excellent post. when it comes to kingdom work it is much more reassuring to hear someone saying they are compelled then following their desires (not that that is bad in and of itself).

  3. August 17, 2012 11:27 am

    Thank you for your honesty Lori! I think you have helped a lot of people to know how to pray for you more specifically and more intensely. Besides honesty, there is a lot of wisdom in your words. It is hard to keep up progress on a difficult path without being properly motivated. Clichés don’t motivate very well.

  4. Tammy Hodel permalink
    August 17, 2012 12:49 pm

    one of the best posts i’ve read.

  5. August 17, 2012 1:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing the uncomfortable truth of being obedient to God’s call.

    Years ago, I placed a child up for adoption due to a unhealthy relationship, and very it was hard, but knowing God was in the midst made it possible.

    Now, my circumstances are different. but I’ve said and prayed the same as you – that I will follow the Lord where He wants me to go. So much keeps coming back to He wants me write more and more of my stories, and financially this is hard. But my heart keeps coming back to it, and I would have to turn my back on all my prayers if I decided not to follow his lead now.

    • August 18, 2012 10:35 am

      Deanna,
      Thanks for being honest. One of my pastors says, “Hard isn’t bad. It’s just hard.” You’ve done and are doing hard things.
      God will bless you as you keep doing what He wants.

  6. Erin W permalink
    August 17, 2012 2:22 pm

    Almost cried. Love you. Thanks for sharing.

  7. August 20, 2012 7:20 am

    Saw the link to your blog on a friend’s facebook page. My family works in China with SIL and we have two small boys. I have often wondered how to answer these questions myself. Thank you for your honesty, it’s beautiful. The taking away grandkids from grandparents thing is something I still can’t talk about without crying. Blessings to you.

  8. August 22, 2012 7:22 am

    Thanks for your honesty! I keep reading and re-reading what you wrote… very much appreciated!

  9. September 16, 2012 12:34 pm

    Lori – I’m feeling both people-rich and Truth-rich because of you and your family. Thanks for being faithful to God’s calling, not just in the position of missionary, but also just as a Jesus-follower, trusting Him with your heart. I really needed to read this today. Love you guys ❤

  10. The De Jongs permalink
    November 15, 2012 6:03 pm

    Was thinking about you today and just read over your last posts. I think your honesty is so great, because it helps us know how to pray for you as I read ahead I saw the halloween pumpkins and the road is hopefully done now. Just shows how God has held you in his hands that last two months 🙂 Take care and we’ll be praying for you!

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