Have you ever sat back and wondered what has happened to you? Have you ever felt like you have given all of yourself – spiritually, physically, emotionally, and you have no more to give? Have you ever felt alone, even when surrounded by wonderful and supportive people? Have you ever been tired of being tired?
I reached this place a couple months ago.
I love what I do in Kenya and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love the children and I dream of them growing up to become independent adults that love God and will give back to their communities.
After four years of giving of oneself day in and day out, one can say that one reaches a point, that fatigue catches up with them and one must also take care of themselves. I had taken a 3 week leave, which was refreshing, but I have also made the decision to take a lengthy rest.
I came to Kenya, excited and full of energy to serve God. And now to feel exhausted, with a weary spirit, I felt guilty and so vulnerable, because this is not the Charmaine I know.
I have made the decision to take the lengthy rest from some duties and responsibilities. I am not staying at Journey of Hope, the children’s home, but I am full time with the sponsorship program doing communications and field visits to visit the children. This means I am just working from the office and going out on the field. It’s been 3 week and it already has done wonders. I feel I have energy once again, and my spirit is on its way to being refreshed.
Factors to beware of when one is on the mission ground
Let’s be real, not everyone in this world will understand why one is so passionate about the work God has called one to. And because they do not understand, they will sometimes comment and these comments at time will cut to the core of one’s heart. Some people will be able to express the hurt and let go, but others will keep it in their hearts and it will continue causing great pain. This pain causes a distraction and an opening for discouragement that Satan loves to use.
But then look at Joseph who was abused by his brothers and then later scarred and abandoned to die. He was again falsely accused and jailed for the same act. But after all this pain, God had not forsaken him, but instead He had called him to a high position in the kingdom, which would consequentially save many people, including his own family, from a severe famine.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
This was Joseph’s responses when his brother’s realized who they were speaking to. Joseph made the deliberate choice to forgive his brothers and put his ultimate trust and hope in God.So the best choice we can make is to forgive, give them to God and allow Him to use harm for good. Much easier said than done.
This can come after hearing negative comments or in Satan’s quiet and sly ways. One can start asking oneself, “Was I really called?”, “Am I really doing any good?”, etc. Satan’s first thing to tell Adam and Eve was “Did God really say?”. Satan has come to create doubt in our ministries and lives. Let us not feed this doubt and when Satan comes to say “Did God really say that”, let us remind Him, that our God does not lie and change His mind(Num. 23:19). Instead of reminding us of the positive moments, Satan brings to remembrance of all the negative things a friend or colleague has done or bring regrets to one’s remembrance. Satan came to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came to give us life abundantly(John 10:10). Which one will we choose?
When we are doing our best in serving our Lord and Maker, we are not labouring in vain(Heb. 6:10).
Tactics to Fight this Battle
When we turn our eyes to focus on God, worshiping Him and giving Him all the glory, we remember God’s goodness and what He has done in the past.
“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode. The Lord will reign forever and ever.” Exodus 15: 13 and 18
Prayer is a powerful weapon to fight the devil. It has power to move mountains. When one is discouraged and weak, one may find it hard to pray, but James 5:15 says that the “prayer of a righteous person has great power”.
- Read the Bible
God has left us His Word to convict, lead and guide us and when we read it, it has the power to encourage, uplift, heal and forgive.
“For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two – edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
- Continue Serving
Satan thinks that if only he can stop us from praying and reading the Word by discouraging, we will stop spreading God’s Word and love. Sharing about God and His love has the power even to encourage the one sharing. Although it also is important to spend personal time with God, because we can only give what we have. Even Jesus went to be alone with His Father, this is where He drew His strength to continue preaching, healing and doing His Father’s work.
As I am taking a step back, God is reminding me why I am here and he has brought these precious moments to mind.
Having important life discussions, such as relationships, modesty, music, etc with my brothers and sisters at Journey of Hope. And I just pray that these discussions will create a desire in their hearts to follow God and His commandments.
A little boy was asked where he learned English, and he replied “Charmaine”. This made me laugh, because I had not spent much time with him previously, plus I wondered if I really had spoken to him in English.
The joy that I feel in my spirit to see two of our girls from the program joining University, of which one joined the same university I am at. One is studying a degree in Education to be a High school teacher and the other is studying environmental sciences.
The pure joy of teaching about God and the Bible to young, eager hearts. Seeing the spiritual growth in them, is my ultimate joy. And when I was young I said I could never be a teacher, Oh the ways of God are much higher than mine. 🙂
And I look back over the past almost four years, and I am in awe at how this beautiful country of Kenya along with my hurting brothers and sisters has become home.
Photo credits go to Krista Tillotson and Hannah Miller
“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
May God Bless you for the work of your hands!