A Time to Mourn a Time to Sew Together

If you have been reading my blogs since my arrival in Belize, then you probably would have noticed a mournful tone. I would say that your observations have been correct. Part of being a missionary is adjusting to culture and new surroundings. Part of adjusting is to mourn that which you have lost. It’s ok to mourn. It says in Ecclesiastes that there is a season and a purpose, a time for EVERYTHING.

The past three months I have been angry, I have wept, I have felt inadequate, lonely, weary, lost, weak, forgotten, torn down, and uprooted. Sadness hung around every corner of my mind. With those emotions came shame for feeling that way. But, as I talked with God about these feelings I realized that I could either walk through them with Him or I could succumb to depression that I would allow myself to slip into. Depression was the easy route. There, I could indulge in all the feelings I was feeling. I have been there and done that and refused to go back from that which I have been redeemed from. At these low moments Psalm 63 was a great encouragement to me. I encourage you to read it. In my Bible it is titled “The Thirsting Soul Satisfied in God”. I know that in order to get through the emotions that want to drag me down that I NEED to be satisfied in Christ alone.

One of the verses says “My soul thirsts for you, my flesh yearns for you, in a dry and weary land were there is no water”. Yes, we have an ocean, but often times it’s so hot that we need water and it is the only comfort on a sweltering day. Like the lack of water would be for my throat and body, my soul feels dry and spent at times, and I need Him like the living water.

A couple of weeks ago the heavy sadness started to lift, and almost a week ago God released me from mourning. I truly believe that he allowed me to go through a period of time where I could mourn. But at one point, while going through some emotions last week, I read a Bible verse, and I felt God telling me that it was time to end my mourning. I’m glad he released me from it because I felt ready to stop. Does that mean that I will never be sad again? Or never mourn something that I once had? No way! There will be a time for that again, maybe tomorrow. But this time for devoted mourning is over for me and I’m ready to move on to the next stage. It’s time to sew together now. Start putting stitches in this period of my life whether it be 10 or 30 years. I thank the Lord for all that he has taught me and the way he has pruned me and I thank him for what is to come. I thank you for praying for John and I and Evangeline when the Lord has prompted.

After all the sewing I’m going to be doing I wonder what the quilt will turn out like?

14 thoughts on “A Time to Mourn a Time to Sew Together

  1. Ma

    I can testify that it will be the most beautiful quilt you’ve ever seen!! Time to start journaling your notes for your future book! I think you have the same gift I do when it comes to writing! Maybe we should do a devotional together! Love you and still praying with you! YEAH!!! PBTGITH!

  2. Stacy Holbert

    That was such an inspiration for me and just what I needed today! Thanks for sharing. Love to you all, Stacy

  3. Marty

    Thanks for sharing both the agony of the call and the victory you have as a result of staying close to Him. Watch what He does next it will be powerful!

  4. Maureen Read

    Probably all of us have felt the same. Depression is a common denominator. I’m glad you’re coming through to the other side. I went through something of the same in Beirut, Lebanon many years ago. Some of it is culture shock, some is homesickness, some hormonal, some just because we’re human. Psalm 63 is a beautiful chapter, a favorite of mine. Keep trusting. Blessings and prayers. (I hope the pregnancy is going well.)

  5. Paul & Phyllis Hull

    I love this verse so I have to share it with you. Psalm34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God knows and cares when we are down. He doesn’t want us to stay down but he cares when we are there. Those are the times we grow in deeper need of trusting Him. Thanks for sharing real life.

  6. Paul & Phyllis Hull

    I forgot to mention something that has helped us during difficult times. I call it a blessing list. Write down every blessing God gives you even if its just a little one. It helps to make you aware of all the good things He sends our way. Often when we are down we can only see the negative.

  7. Jodi Strava

    I don’t know about a quilt, but I can tell you that God is using you to weave a beautiful tapestry with many believers. I am forwarding your message to a friend at Horizon’s Community Church who is mourning a change in their life right now. Like you, it is a wonderful change, but change is never easy and we must pass through these emotions with our Savior to guide us, carry us. So, here you are, being supported by a church in Peoria, AZ and yet you are ministering to us, from a beach in Belize. Our God is amazing and I praise him for using your family. Remember, He also promises there will be Joy!

  8. Katy Short

    Everyone else had something so wonderfully spiritual to add to your message. I felt guilty while reading, because all I thought about was, “I wonder what her color palette is, and I wonder if she would like some of my thirty year stash. Perhaps I could fill her eyeball pockets with some of my yards of leftovers.

  9. Thanks for being transparent…I’ve been in that season too! I just hauled my stuff to Illinois and I know I won’t be in MD as much…some other relationships are being impacted and I’ve been just trying to soak up God’s grace. I have my moments though.

    The other night, I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and I looked at all of my stuff in bags and boxes and I wept like a baby!!!! I watched Francis Chan (a pastor out in Cali) tell his congregation that after 14 years of ministry they were moving overseas and then back to another city to minister. His wife stood up there bawling and I had to stop the video…Mel, I hollered!!!! I figured out that I was grieving the “loss” of this place I’ve known forever…so much to process.

    Anyway, know that I’m praying with you and glad to hear that God’s got you in the next stages!! I love you girl and I’m excited about that quilt too…it’s going to be gorgeous ;O)

  10. Donna Chapman

    Thanks for sharing the good and the bad…….I’m forwarding this to a friend who is getting married and moving from here…..she is mourning her life here…. isn’t great God uses even the “scraps” in our life quilt 🙂

  11. Laurie Carter

    Mel, I too have been having a difficult time recently with some things in my life and have experienced some of the same emotions. Different life circumstances, but same struggles with those emotions. This is an encouragement to me. Thank you. Don’t we all wonder what our “life quilt” is going to look like when it’s complete? Or even what it’s going to look like over the next couple years? Oh how we yearn to know sometimes, but that is where we have to trust that God is there to help us make the best looking quilt of our lives as long as we are allowing Him to guide us. I am praying for you all, and for the village of Gales Point. I often wonder how some of the people I met there are doing. Know you’re all being prayed for, and thank you for sharing your lives so openly with us so that we can know how to pray more specifically. Your quilt is going to be beautiful.

  12. Mom

    As others have testified, you are not alone in your emotional struggle. Paul & Lori have been in Zambia about 10 months, and she shared in their blog recently that she had a “major meltdown” and called 2 different people in the States, crying. Another family of 5 has asked for prayer as they begin language school in Costa Rica and are having trouble adjusting. So we all need to hold one another up in prayer and remember that our Lord is right beside us in the yoke. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I willl give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls, for My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” Matt. 11:28-30. The Lord uses these times to teach us compassion, understanding, and patience (among other things 🙂 ), so they are a necessary part of our life’s tapestry. Even our Lord was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” so that He could become our compassionate high priest. Love you and hope we can talk soon.

  13. Kay Richey

    Mel, thanks for sharing your heart. Do you remember the “Reality Check” from the MAC? That was exactly what I was talking about. It is true we all go through a deeper culture shock when we go as career missionaries and yet we never believe it will be like that for me. Take heart and continue to trust the Lord. This too will pass. You will continue to have some ups and downs, but gradually you will have more ups and you will grow to embrace the culture, the people and the place where the Lord has called you. It’s tough, but I believe you are progressing through the stages normally. What do people who do not have the Lord do when they are in a similar situation? I’m praying for you. I love you.

  14. Tammy Starr

    Love you! Hugs and Kisses.

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