when we’ve come undone

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can i just be brutally, completely, in-your-face honest with you for a minute? this whole being a missionary thing is no joke. it is hard, you guys. really hard. and there are some days where i would rather be anywhere but here, doing anything but this. some days, i feel so totally, completely done. depleted. empty.

i’m having one of those days. only this day has gone on for the past three weeks. i’ve been struggling–a lot. i’m tired, more than tired, really. i’m lonely. i’m homesick. i’m over the heat, the sweating, the sleepless nights, the fatigue that follows me day in and day out. i don’t feel like myself. i worry i have nothing more in me to give. i know that i only have a few months left and yet, somehow, those few months seems like they’re years away.

i don’t tell you this to play some sort of sympathy card; i’m not looking for pats on the back or pity of any kind. i’m sharing this because i want to show the world that all of us, every single one of us, even (and perhaps especially) those of us in ministry–we have a bad day once in a while. or a bad week. maybe even a bad year. whatever; it happens. it doesn’t mean we are weak. it doesn’t mean we’re failures. it doesn’t mean we’re not spiritual enough, not depending on God enough, or that we don’t have enough faith. it means we’re human. it means we have hearts and souls, and they’re messy and sometimes maybe we come undone. 

and it is there that i find myself, in that undone place, where i don’t have the answers and i don’t know how to get out of this and it hurts, but i keep hearing the whisper  telling me to just hang in, hang on. and i try, and i fail, and i collapse in a puddle of tears and disappointment and somehow, i get back up again. i’m in that place where words fail me, where my language has become the deep groanings of the heart, and yet i know that even those are some sacred prayer, a holy utterance.

i have come undone, and instead of hiding away all the broken pieces, i’m letting you see them.
i have come undone, and instead of attempting to explain it all away, i’m sitting down in the aftermath.
i have come undone, and i’m talking about it.

because perhaps you too know this feeling, know it well, and you wonder if anyone else in the world understands. perhaps no one has ever given you the permission to have a bad day. perhaps you’re stopping yourself from falling apart because you’re afraid that you’ll be too broken to ever be put back together.

i get it. i really do. but may i suggest that, though it may feel like it, you will not be undone forever? i know right now you may not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and, to be honest, neither can i. but our limited vision doesn’t change the Light’s existence; that i can promise you.

be gentle with yourself, and remember: you are human. you are beautifully flawed, and that is the mystery of your heart and soul and flesh and bones. if you’re having a bad day, it’s okay. if you’re falling apart or breaking down, it’s okay. i promise you; it really is.

you, dear one, will not be undone forever. and neither will i.
because if there’s one thing i’ve learned about Jesus, it’s that he loves to stitch things back together.

18 Comments
  • ashbeaudin
    February 12, 2013

    Looove.

  • Eric Buller
    February 12, 2013

    Thanks for your brutal transparency. Pam and I have been in Liberia since Nov. 2011. It’s a hard place to serve. When times are tough, there are no simple answers… no “easy button”. It sucks to read about Paul finding joy in his sufferings. To think “God, are you calling me to that?!?! Because I don’t want that!” But, in spending time with Jesus, he faithfully comforts us, gives us peace in the chaos and discouragement, is endlessly patient with our complaints and pleadings. He provides the path and we are to follow it in faith. I don’t know if I am encouraging you or just telling you that you are not alone. Whichever, I am praying for peace and encouragement for you.

    • elena.teresa.ann
      February 13, 2013

      thanks so much for your thoughts, eric. yes, i agree; liberia is truly not an easy place to be called to. i was both encouraged by your comment and also comforted, knowing i’m not the only one who has gone/is going through this. thanks again!

  • milesb4t
    February 12, 2013

    Serving in Central Asia, I have been undone just like this. Thank you for giving us all a voice!

    • elena.teresa.ann
      February 13, 2013

      there are few words more comforting than hearing someone say “me too”. truly, none of us are alone in this!

  • frieda schmidt
    February 13, 2013

    Thank you Elana, for putting out the effort to “put it out there” even though you feel so raw at this time. You are right, You will see the Light. He is in it with you.

    • elena.teresa.ann
      February 13, 2013

      thanks for commenting, frieda. your encouragement blesses me. hugs to you, dear friend.

  • Belinda Bryan
    February 13, 2013

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve been there too, and I’m pretty sure I’m a lot older than you. Praying for you. Praying that you will be able to reach up to Jesus one more time—every time you are in this place. Praying that there will be splashes of joy to strengthen you in the midst of those oh so tough days. Praying that you will be refreshed as you refresh others. Thank you for going.

    • elena.teresa.ann
      February 13, 2013

      dear belinda, i cannot thank you enough for your kind words and precious prayers. your comment has blessed me immensely. thank YOU.

  • aweiss17
    February 13, 2013

    I needed to hear this, thank you Elena 🙂

  • Jewels Petrie
    February 25, 2013

    I miss you sister!! Great expression of where you are! You are courageous!! and YOU ROCK!!!

  • debby buchanan
    February 28, 2013

    Elena, I know the feeling! Helping my ex-husband through 5 surgeries in past 14 months, and at same time his mom was on Life Support 3 months and passed away, all so exhausting! Can cause depression so I got counseling to help. So does not matter where you are life can get really hard and you can’t walk away from it. We all just have to keep encouraging each other. You have to take care of yourself! See your coming home probably a good thing! I don’t think I would have lasted like you have. Your amazing!

    • elena.teresa.ann
      March 5, 2013

      you’re quite amazing yourself, Debby! thanks for the encouragement; your kind words truly blessed me today!

  • Kitty Beitz
    February 28, 2013

    Thanks so much Sweet Elena….I am so encouraged by you, and so thankful for you Elena…Praise God for what He is doing in and through you Elena. Praying for you and love you always A Kitty xoxoxo

  • elena.teresa.ann
    March 5, 2013

    aunt kitty, i love you and miss you terribly. thank you so much for the love and prayers. give yourself a big hug from me! xo

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