Our train snakes through the plains, scattered with fields of crops and brightly colored huts, we make our way to the foothills where it’s still build-a-fire, dreary kind of wintery weather. But not for long. Supposedly within a couple weeks it will be spring in the mountains and then they will fill with sunshine and green. We eagerly await our mountain town’s favorite season. In some parts of our subcontinent spring is fully upon us… Down south on the coast this week we saw radiant flowers exploding from trees and bushes everywhere, the heat and humidity rising rapidly.
Last week we met with lots of folks like us in this country, at work in various capacities but focused on community together among the least reached. It was refreshing to be together and to enjoy the warm coast. It was encouraging and grounding to hear our mentors share vision and remind us of why we do and live the way we do. Sometimes feeling foolish day after day as you learn a new language and culture, like building a fire in the cold to watch it smoke and die, feels futile unless you’re reminded of the reason you press through the foolishness and frustration.
Our mentor has been sharing with us about the image God gives us about the eagle. “Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles…” Unlike a hummingbird who relies on sheer energy and fast flapping to stay in the air, the eagle’s strength is in the fact that he holds still. He holds still and lets the power of the wind carry him. Our mentor explained, “The eagle trusts that the power of the wind is stronger than the power of his wings.”
I’m a struggler and a flapper. A planner and hard worker who probably trusts far more in the speed of my wings than in the power of the One who holds me up. I need to learn to wait. And I need to learn to “mount up with wings” because I’m holding steady and trusting the One who will carry me further than I can take myself.
The same morning we talked about the eagle and the hummingbird I was on the verge of a meltdown as I came face to face with my own weakness as a wife and mom. In this country a good wife never eats before she’s fed her husband. A good mom serves and feeds her little ones before she will sit down to shove a bit in for herself. I watch my friends here who seem to balance the entire world—husband, children, live-in mothers-in-law, hospitality, work, ministry—while serving their husband and children selflessly. I am not that woman. I’m not the mom who keeps my toddler and home organized and running smoothly while never complaining when my husband has long days. He often comes home to find me totally spent and waiting for him to HELP ME! We both share our various responsibilities and my husband is incredibly understanding that I love to be involved in our work, that I need to “get out” regularly, and that I’m not always up to preparing a fantastic meal AND cleaning up afterward.
And now… I am 26 weeks pregnant. I am constantly tired. Little Man is tall and wiggly and so hard to carry on the side of my growing belly. I’m emotional and sensitive. And when Tyler gets busy with more and more fulfilling opportunities (there are so many abounding in his life right now, from making meaningful videos to fostering strategic friendships to joining in early morning community prayer on top of the mountain) I can end up feeling frustrated, left out, and claustrophobic.
Everyone keeps telling me, “It’s ok! You’re pregnant with a toddler! This season is really hard.” But despite everyone’s kind words, I know that I’m having to learn some hard lessons.
First, it’s ok to accept myself. I am surrounded by selfless “super mummies” (a comic book character here, and a cultural icon). I just am. But if I don’t accept myself now, it’ll be a long miserable journey. Tyler didn’t marry me to be the best stay-at-home-mom who finds her energy in toddler learning activities. These weren’t the giftings that drew him to me. And I don’t want to completely walk away from my natural giftings and interests at any stage in life—even this one.
Second, I’m learning that I can also adapt. Even with a growing baby-to-come and a more-needy-than-usual toddler, I can get a little more organized so that every day doesn’t overwhelm me. I can get up a little earlier or stay up a little later to get the moments of quiet I need to stay level-headed (at least moderately so). I can snack along the way so that I can make sure my husband, son, and guests have what they need before I start stuffing my face (I’m saying this in faith). I can carry a little more responsibility at home while my husband works hard to learn a new language and new people. These values are important to me right now. And I can do these things!
It’s been two weeks since starting this blog and I’m just now getting to finish it. Yesterday I watched out our window yesterday as this massive eagle soared and circled above the sunny (finally) valley below. It looked so magnificent as it held its’ wings wide and rose to 8000 feet with the wind. Its’ strength was in holding steady and relying on the wind underneath. It wasn’t trying to be something else. That eagle had found its strength in being exactly who it was designed to be and relying on the wind to lift it up.
And that is what I desperately need in order to thrive on this mountain top—pregnant, with a toddler, riding out the daily unexpected of life in Asia—and rising with whatever the day may bring.