The Tension

This living-overseas-everythingisnew-missionary-stillawifeandmomfirst-immersion thing can be quite the doozy at times. It’s a rough and wonderful road. Sharing about it though, is fine line to walk.

I want to be real and honest.

But I don’t want to be a complainer.

I want to be me.

But how to “be me” from behind a keyboard?

I want to be respectful of people here in Ukraine.

But there are things here that are difficult for us, since this is not our home culture.

I want to be respectful of the people back in the US.

But I also want them to be challenged and encouraged to think and dream bigger- and act.

I want to share all so people know how to pray.

But I don’t want to share all because I know many Ukrainian friends read this blog and I don’t want them to worry about us or feel bad for us.

I want to share about our Boys and their need and their worth. I want to share about their lives and things that break our hearts and should never have to be endured by a human.

But I don’t want to share too much because I don’t want to disrespect them or exploit them or break relationship with the Directors at Romaniv.

 

Fine line. Tight rope walking.

 

I say all that just so you know that when I write things on this blog I don’t take it lightly. There are many people to consider and many points of view to consider. Many times I write to clarify things in my own mind and heart. Sometimes I don’t really understand my own feelings until I type them out. It’s kind of like a form of therapy for me. Lucky you, my dear Readers! Ha. I also always want to be honest about this journey. Maybe it could help others who are setting out on a journey like ours. I know I love reading honesty from those who have gone before. Somehow it settles my heart to see they struggle with things similar to my own.

Lately I’ve been trying to figure out my heart and feelings surrounding the balance of being a mother and a friend and a cross-cultural-worker here in Ukraine. When we first arrived here Jed and I both jumped right on in to work. We both volunteered at MTU, probably pretty equal amounts. Whoever wasn’t at MTU was home with the kids. It was an important time for us to figure out where we fit into everything here, and to see where God wanted us in the mix.

Then we had the summer, which was basically a whole family affair (which was AWESOME…). And now we have reached the fall, and we have a new norm. I think this new norm will be the norm for some time to come. I LOVE the new norm, but my overachieving, worker-bee, people-pleasing self won’t let me be completely at peace about it and I don’t know what that means.

The new norm is that Jed does most of the work outside the home, and I am home a lot more with the kids, reminiscent of our lives back in Oregon. Of course we both go to Romaniv twice a week, do language tutoring together, and we both work together on our youth nights for graduates, but most of the rest of the work is Jed’s. I get to focus more of my time on the home, the kiddos, and being Mom and Wife. I am in love with this. I know the kids need it and they thrive when I am home more. Focusing more time on our home and our family brings me great joy and fulfillment. When I’m gone from home a lot I feel scattered and yucky.

So, I know this is a good set-up. I know this. But then I start to question myself.

I don’t question if it’s a good thing that I’m home more. I value motherhood and I think stay-at-home moms rock. I have always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom with no outside work committments, but that has never been what God had for me. It’s not the focus at home that I question, it’s the time spent not focusing outside the home that has me evaluating my heart.

Do I have such peace at home partly because it’s easier to be home than out in the culture that is still difficult for me? Do I have such peace at home because I feel smart at home and I mostly feel dumb as soon as I walk outside my front door? Hahaha…not kidding…hehe. When I’m at home I have this feeling like I should be outside getting to know my neighbors, or taking the kids to the playground so they can have more exposure to language and I can brave it with neighborhood moms. But as it is, I already feel like I’m not investing enough time in to the relationships here that I already have. It’s like that guilty Oregonian feeling you get when the sun finally comes out. You feel like because it’s sunny you should be outside NO MATTER WHAT. Because you never know when you might get sun again! Well, what if I don’t feel like being outside that day? What if I have inside work to do that day? Too bad. If I stay inside on a sunny day in Oregon I am riddled with guilt. (Is that just me, or do other Oregonians catch my drift?) (PS: I think I have some guilt issues)

I’m used to watching over all the friends in my life and making sure everyone is okay and included and taken care of, but I don’t have that role here with friends. Here, we are investing that time in to our Boys, and frankly the work at Romaniv can be emotionally and spiritually exhausting. I love those Boys more than I could have ever imagined and am fully committed to them and their well-being. It’s just that with being a wife and with our kiddos at home and then our kiddos at Romaniv…I don’t have a lot of reserve left on a day to day basis. I love my friends here so stinkin’ much. I just don’t feel like a very good friend here in Ukraine and I hate that feeling…but I feel helpless to change it.

Are all these feelings okay? Or am I relying too much on myself? Maybe I’m being lazy and selfish? It’s like I still have a short-term missions mindset that I have to give up every spare moment to the work and ministry here, but we are here for the longhaul. There will be no longevity if I live this life like a short-term missions trip. I know that, but I still battle. How to find the balance of time and energy spent?

Anywaysssss…balancing focus on the home and focus outside the home and all my feelings surrounding that is exhausting. I know what the answer is: walk in the Spirit. Be available to God and when He says to act, act. Be fully at home when I’m home, but also be aware and listening for the whisper to go outside and talk to the neighbors. Be aware of my friends and listen to promptings in my spirit for when I need to reach out. Stop being a people-pleaser and only live for an audience of One. Say YES. I know these things, it’s just all easier said than done.

So, there you have it: my Monday afternoon therapy session. Ha! I just think it’s important to be honest about this journey. Then you can all know how to pray! 🙂

Oh this road, it’s so unpredictable. Thank you Jesus for walking by my side.

 

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5 comments

  1. Phyllis Hunsucker · November 10, 2014

    “So, I know this is a good set-up. I know this. But….” I think that’s where you should stop. You don’t need the “but” part. 🙂 But then, the thinking out loud is wonderful for all of us, so you can keep going. As long as you get back to that good place and stay there. It sounds like that’s what you’re doing.

    And have I ever told you that you should get the prize for the blog balance? You do a really good job of sharing reality without whining, joys AND struggles. Thank you.

    We’ve done some interesting re-structuring and re-balancing in the past year, too. It’s hard, but so good!

    I’m praying for you.

  2. crystalkupper · November 10, 2014

    I know I say this a lot to you, but I totally hear you and have felt the same way so often the past year! Here’s a shoulder squeeze from across the miles from a fellow mom-wife-figuring-it-all-out-overseas. 🙂

  3. Cheryl Young · November 10, 2014

    Kimberly, I don’t know if this will help, but you’re experiencing the turmoil that every working mom feels and that is completely normal and totally okay! You are torn between two things and feel the guilt of that stack higher and higher. Last spring I resigned from all of my church and school offices and that was hugely guilt inducing, but what I learned is that sometimes we go through seasons of life where our job is to free things up for our spouses so they can serve. That doesn’t mean you have to give your boys up, but in other things, maybe this moment in time your sacrifice is to free Jed up to do what he is called to do. And maybe later, it will switch and he will do it for you. But I know that for this season of my life, my priority is to my family and God will let me know when He wants me to do something. Now if only He’d tell me to quit my job… 😉

    Someone once told me – Sure, you could probably find a way to do it all – but should you? 

  4. yoongz · November 10, 2014

    People don’t know how hard it is to be a mum & have to raise your kid/s in a culture so foreign to your own – how do i make it better for him/them, how do i help with the struggles, if only we were back “home”, if only i do this, if only i do that… BUT… now here’s a but you need to listen to – you are already doing all you can … the rest is the Lord’s – so allow Him to show you how beautiful you & your work (both at home & outside) is, how you are already finding the balance by being aware of the need for it… HUGS!

  5. Pat Epperly · November 11, 2014

    Kim, I am praying for wisdom, peace and joy for you. Praise the Lord and He will fill you with his joy! Trust in Him and He will give you peace. Study the Word and He will give you wisdom. You have always been a great Mom.
    Love you always
    Grandma Pat
    PS: Bob has returned from Baker House in Baker City, Eastern OR. He has been there 4 months. Pray that he can
    stay clean and apply the things he learned. I sent him your family photo and he was so happy to get it.

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