the lamenting wanderer

After 200 miles of walking, you’d think I’d just want to sit down and never get up again; but I was ready to do more. I wanted to keep walking and never stop. I should’ve been more careful what I wished for.

Before joining Family Missions Company and right after graduation, I traveled to Spain for just over 2 weeks to hike 200 miles of the Camino de Santiago—the famous pilgrimage following the way of James the Apostle to his burial sight at the Cathedral. One thing I loved while being on the Camino was the feeling of carrying everything I needed on my back. It was perfectly simple, and I reveled in the adventure of spending each night in a different place.

What I didn’t realize at the time, however, was that I would never come “home.” Sure, I was in Colorado for a time before entering missions, but I wasn’t home. The truth is, for nearly the past decade of my life, I haven’t lived in one house for more than 2 years. So, I defined “home” as the general area my family was living, which worked for me, and it was a stability in my life that I could count on. Now, however, nearly 4,000 miles and 24 hours of travel away from family, I’ve had to redefine “home.”

Since arriving in Peru, our team has been traveling A LOT—for language school, visa processes, mission trips, and a few personal family matters thrown in the mix. Although I love Pucacaca and its people, I haven’t been living here for more than 2-3 weeks at a time before having to pick up and travel somewhere else. (This is also part of the reason for the delay in blog posts—sorry!)  

It’s. Been. Exhausting. And, wow, have I lamented about it.

Probably my favorite view when flying between Lima and Tarapoto over the Andes.

God has been asking me to give him one of the main things I held onto as “stable” before missions–a consistent place to come home to. I can no longer escape to “home” anymore, whether that be home to family or home to Pucacaca, and I can’t escape into my mission, my work, because that’s not stable, either.

The only healthy escape, the only stability I’ve had these past few months is the Lord and I’ve been mad about it. I’ve yelled and screamed at Him because I’ve felt He is taking away the things I’ve held dear—including family members that passed away recently.

“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

Matthew 8:20

I sit in prayer and say, “Sanctify me, Lord,” and, yet, I’m surprised when He asks me to rely on Him and not the world. I cry and yell when He asks me to give Him the things I have hidden away in my treasure chest.

The beautiful thing, however, is that God wants to hear my anger. He desires relationship to the absolute fullest, which often calls for conflict resolution. If you’re a podcast listener, I highly recommend listening to The Place We Find Ourselves with Adam Young. His episode titled, “Why Engaging Your Story Requires Anger at God,” goes in depth in explaining why a relationship requires the freedom to express your anger and hurt.

After I finally let out all my anger (it took weeks mind you), I could finally breathe. In a weird way, I felt freer because I knew God listened to my anger—wanted my anger—and still stood with His arms open, waiting for me to finish my tirade.

One of the fruits of our wandering around Peru is finding cool places like this waterfall!

Yes, I still enjoy missions and do not want to be anywhere else but in the center of God’s will.  Yet, it does not come without its sufferings—something that is often too hard to put into words. This life is a paradox. The life of following the Lord is a paradox—one filled with joys and hardships all at once, which can sometimes be confusing. But, at the end of the day, we can always return to the Lord with thanksgiving for the paradoxes in our lives, because, let’s be honest, life would be boring otherwise.

Where are you in your life right now, in your relationship with the Lord? Have you allowed yourself to lament the sufferings you are undergoing or the difficulties you have gone through? Have you honestly brought them to the Lord, even with anger when there is a need for it? Know that the Lord loves you and wants to walk with you through the many paradoxes of life. Let Him see ALL of you, even the messy parts. I know I have been trying to do that, and it has made all the difference.

While hiking through the jungle, we encountered some people walking their donkeys down the mountain with heavy loads after a work day.

2 thoughts on “the lamenting wanderer

  1. Rachel, you are such an inspiration! I’m sure the Lord has used everything you’ve given him for His greater good!! God bless you always!!

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  2. Beautiful. This is something I needed to hear – about the joys and hardships that come simultaneously when you are trying to follow the Lord. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Like

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