Brian and I joined Youth With A Mission on December 1, 2008. We were 21, had been married for 5 weeks, and were eager to serve together in missions. We were filled with excitement as we packed up our lives and moved to the Big Island of Hawaii. There was no thought in my mind about the huge transition that was coming our way. Moving away from our families. Adjusting to married life. Learning to live while being fully financially supported by others. Discipling students. Traveling to Central Asia and co-leading an outreach team. Working together in the roles of husband/wife/co-leader.
It was a whole lotta new. A whole lotta change. And this girl does not do change well.
Our first Christmas as a married couple. We look happy, right? :)
Brian, the lover of adventure, did wonderfully. He made tons of friends, grew in his leadership abilities, and in his relationship with God. He was so loving and patient with me, but even still, I floundered. Most days it felt like my insides were being squeezed in a vice and I could barely breath. I cried a lot. I just couldn't handle all the transition. The loss of (what felt) like security caused me to retreat into myself. Me, the extrovert, spent too much time alone, wishing I would just change. Just be more like Brian. Just be BETTER.
During that first year of both our marriage and our life in ministry, I spent most of my time feeling like a huge failure. I felt that I had failed God, Brian, my students, my colleagues, and my friends.
If I could go back to that time, I would tell myself a few things. I would remind myself that no one but me expected perfection. I'd say that transition, even transition for a good reason, always has it's hard moments - so don't get crippled by shame when you struggle. It's NORMAL to struggle when your entire life is changing! I would point out that saying yes to Jesus never guarantees an easy life - but that "yes" is always worth it. He is always worthy.
And I'd give Brian a big squeeze on the shoulder and lovingly assure him that his wife won't always be such a psycho. (For the most part.)
Just because our "yes" to Jesus didn't turn out like we had planned didn't mean we failed. There was a whole lot of raw, real need for Jesus. There were a million honest conversations, born out of desperation. There was a lot of wrestling with God, and working through issues in our marriage. And because God is just so good, He still worked through us. I saw Him do some amazing things in peoples lives, even though I was so broken. In my weakness, He was so faithfully strong. I continue to learn from this time in our lives, even four years later.
Thanks Jesus for not giving up on me when I was so weak. Thank you Brian for loving me in my most shameful, desperate moments. You put up with a lot :) And thank You, Lord, for not giving up on me now. Though I'm a little more experienced than when we first started out, I am still in deep, desperate need of You.