Coffee along the way

Coffee along the way
Coffee along the way

May 18, 2017

Misty mountain






I truly love the sea and the mountains. Even better when they are together! My happy place. 😊 And to top it, i love it when the mists roll in over the sea or land...

Tonight as i stood on the porch watching the mist roll in over the sand dunes it was just beautiful. The green hills quickly disappeared beneath the thick mist. Night was falling too. It soon was too dark to see much of the green covered small hills but they were still there. I could just barely make them out and it got me thinking....

A mountain is a sturdy thing. Very stable. Definitely not wispy. Unmovable really. How many times does the Bible talk about God as our Rock, our Mountain....He is unmovable, strong, faithful. And yet at times the mist moves in and covers the mountain. You can actually get lost or hurt yourself badly if the mist on a mountian is thick as a wall....if you oanic and run off the path.

The mist may cover this huge mountian, but the mountian is still there. The mist will soon dissapear. Leaving nothing behind except maybe a trickle of wet on your face.

You could think that the mountian is gone and that the mist is the only tangible thing left....
There are definitly those times when all you can see is white nothing all around you - that moment when you feel utterly alone, or maybe in shock after visiitng the doctor, or the bank, or you can't seem to see how things will be working out, but keep courage - the mist might surround and cover but can do nothing to the Mountain! The Mountain is still the same. He is always there! And the mist Never stays forever, onlynthe Mountain.

God is there beneath the all obscuring white veil. Sit down, feel the earth beneath you, hold fast, stay in the path or wait for the mist to lift, but never doubt the Mountain.

Bella, not letting go of the Mountain.

May 08, 2017

Hope at the end of myself....




Casting Crowns sings...

At the end of myself
I am empty and dry
I have nothing to give
But....

What can i give out of emptiness? When i am all dried up?

At the end of myself
I am empty and dry
I have nothing to give
But Surrender inside.

Surrender. Giving up to give. Giving up my own plans, ideals, dreams. Accepting i have nothing to bring. Surrender.

And then in the song Jesus answers:

Let down your nets
This is not the end
From now on you'll be
Fishers of men.

Only in Him and through Him.

This gives me immense Hope, because i know how frail i am, i know how empty and dry.

Fishers of men. My duaghter you're free! Just follow Me.

Bella, follower of Jesus

(Follow Me by Casting Crowns)

May 02, 2017

The cost of caring....an open letter on Compassion Fatigue..




Maybe there is someone who wonders why we are here for a couple of months. This is the reason, although a few reasons have since also been added...but this is my main reason....
 
A few definitions of the term "Compassion Fatigue" .....
 
Compassion fatigue has been described as the “cost of caring” for others in emotional pain (Figley, 1982).
 "Compassion Fatigue is a state experienced by those helping people or animals in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the helper."  Dr. Charles Figley
 Compassion fatigue, also known as second-hand shock and secondary stress reaction, describes a type of stress that results from helping or wanting to help those who are traumatised or under significant emotional duress.
 "Compassion Fatigue (CF) refers to the profound emotional and physical erosion that takes place when helpers are unable to refuel and regenerate..."

I felt like a failure. No, let me rephrase that. A. Total. Failure. I had nothing left to give. I could not see one more sick person, child or even animal. I was totally drained and empty. 8 Years of living in a small village with no health clinic, good friends or____,etc...

Compassion fatigue is a silent killer. You care, you give - all looks good. But you suffer silently and slowly empty out. One more heart breaking story, one more small child suffering bc of lack of health care or parental care or any type of care! Kind of like a slow bleeding wound when no pressure is applied...a certain slow death.

I was beyond helping anyone. Drained by the people i was really hard trying to love and take care of. This shocked even me. I mean, the Readers Digest First Aid book was about my 1st reader! I stuck plasters on my sisters with my still own pudgy small hands, washed their wounds, patched them up when they fell. Studied physiotherapy because i knew i would have more time with a patient so that i could really Care. When i am helping someone i forget to eat, to sleep or whatever i am doing. I am a Carer. I feel useless if not needed.....and now here i was ... spent. Nothing to give. Shocking.

What a failure of a missionary I was! The thing God gave me to do i cannot do anymore. Now what?
 
Well, i guess this started a long time ago already. Believe me, i knew the signs and tried to do things differently. More boundaries of when the sick can come, leave the village once a week to get out of the environment, try and send them to the village health worker first, etc, etc. i tried everything. It just got worse. And worse of all, i just pushed on. Who would understand? Who would care if i stopped? So a vicious cycle started. No way out.

What made matters a bit worse for me, was the fact that in our village the mothers are so young. 15-16 years old with a baby in the arms and another on the way. Sometimes they even looked relieved when the firstborn passed away from malaria, malnutrition, diarrhoea or everything together! They would drop the near dying child in my arms and say something in the line of fix her...and then laugh either at my pathetic language mistakes or because they felt embarrassed or who knows why but it didn't do me any good!
 
I would lie awake at night wondering if they were giving the re-hydration fluid every 5 min or not. I would wonder and pray and hope for the best. I cared until it hurt and they couldn't care less. Or so it seemed to me at least.

In the end we decided to take a long holiday - 2 whole weeks away! Yes, this is us. Two weeks tops. It helped a bit but then I came down with malaria myself because we were so much more exposed! So much for that. All this to say I was in a bad place and feelings of disappointing God was at the order of the day.

So, we had to leave the country as it was at a point where I was falling apart - and with me, the rest of us too!

The irony was when we were in our lovely home country all 4 of my men either had operations or many doctors appointments, so i had to continue on...caring until it hurt and then some more. All of this while struggling with how to share this plus feeling like a failure. So i stopped talking about it. Just put one foot in front of the other. nobody asked me questions and i did not volunteer information. Vicious cycle feeded. Nobody cares about me the failure.

For weeks this went on until yesterday i realised suddenly, and i have to add - Divinely - that the reason I am am where i am is because I cared TOO much. I cared too much without caring for me. This was a turning point for me. I am not a failure. God loves me still. He is not disappointed with me. I gave 110%!!  I guess, if you have suffered from compassion fatigue you will understand what i mean. God CARES. He Cares for me. I am not alone in all of this.


Whereto now? For one, i need rest. I need to be away from the constant demands of village life. I need to spend time with God. I want to go back but not yet. I trust God has this. He knows me. It helps me to know Jesus also went away to be by Himself. I pray for balance. Hope. Compassion. To be and to know that i am enough without me proving it  or die trying, in my case.
 
God in His gentle way has encouraged me in many ways. Through His Word, through people, places.
 
"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength" Isaiah 30:15

"A bruised reed He will not break and a smouldering wick He will not snuff out." Is 42:3

"He tends His flock like a Shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young." Is 40:11

I would like to go back with Joy in my heart. I would love to be that caring person again that God created me to be. But only with God's help and care will it be done. I cannot function on my own steam. I need God and His balance in my life. But first i need to get better. And that is ok.
 
Bella, a broken reed in God's loving Hands.