Me, Myself, and I {cannot do this alone}

You know those people who somehow turn drinking coffee on your porch into your own mini-motivational speech/private sermon/counseling sesh. And chances are high that they will say something that will stick with you for the rest of your life.
My friend Sylvia is like that.
For one, she speaks English. And there’s not many around here who do, so boy are her surprise visits a treat! But also, she raised 2 boys in a tribe, moved home to take care of her dying parents, and was surprised by a 3rd son after her oldest were in college. She oozes grace and wisdom, which is just evidence that she has been schooled in the presence of our Lord. So, it doesn’t matter what I’m in the middle of, I drop it all when she stops by.

Three months later, I’m still thinking about our conversation.

In the 80’s, her and her husband went through New Tribes’ training in Brazil. My in-laws were on staff at their Language/Culture Program. So, they knew my husband as a kid… which has to be crazy when she watches our boys (who are the same age as her “surprise”) at play. They moved to the Yanomami and learned the language in order to tell the people about Jesus. When her parents became ill and there was no one to take care of them, they left the tribe. Both of her parents have passed away. And now, she and her husband are praying about returning to the tribe to continue the work. We were talking about what it would be like for her youngest son to leave all his friends and familiar and make the move.
I asked her: “What was the hardest part of living in a remote village?”
Her reply shocked me: “Myself.”

I mean, I expected her to say something like snakes.. spiders.. darkness.. loneliness.. sickness.. isolation.. raising 2 boys among an unreached people group…
But myself?! Wow.
She went on to say, “Sure there were hardships, but by far the biggest struggle was myself. Wanting to be filled with faith rather than fear. Trying so hard to maintain an attitude of gratitude rather than complaint…” Just wow.

I think the simple honesty and vulnerability of her reply is what makes it all so deeply profound.
What happens when we come to the end of ourselves and realize that, no matter what a popular opinion says, I am not enough

“Our hearts are restless, until they rest in Thee.  

Tell me, by thy mercy, O Lord, my God, what Thou art to me. ‘Say to my soul, I am your salvation.’
So speak that I may hear. Behold, the ears of my heart are before thee, O Lord; open them and
‘say to my soul, I am your salvation.'” 
 | St. Augustine

Snakes.. scorpions.. spiders.. darkness.. loneliness.. sickness.. isolation.. raising 3 boys far from family and familiar… are some difficult realities we have had to face. But, Sylvia’s right. That’s not the hardest part. The hardest part is I cannot face this alone {myself}. Daily I have to take my thoughts captive–more of Him, less of me. If I could keep in perspective the grandeur and power and presence of our God, the rest…well, it’s all miniscule. It’s not the depth of the waters we’re trudging through that matters as much as the power of the Hand we’re holding onto.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.
Isaiah 26.3

Oh, that we may find our rest in You, O God.
Say to my soul that You are my salvation.
Say to my soul that You are enough.
Amen.

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