I have found that there is no exhaustion quite like first-term, language school with two small children exhaustion. It may be matched by second-term church-planting, but I’ll let you know when we get there.
Post-jet lag, setting up our home and surviving countless earthquakes, we found ourselves struggling to make it to 8:30 each night, the time we perceived to be acceptable without being considered prematurely old. Since arriving in Nepal, our children had decided they didn’t like sleep anymore. My son woke up several times a night, and our 3 year old rarely slept until 5:30.
I have struggled with many physical symptoms none of which are extremely burdensome but enough to make me wonder what is going on. After some significant weight loss and headaches that visited more days than they didn’t, I spoke with a doctor. After talking about the timeline of events and the beginning of my symptoms, it was concluded that stress+sleep deprivation was more than likely the culprit here. In my pride, I fought this diagnosis, feeling that I had done something wrong- not trusted the Lord enough or not maintained a God-honoring attitude.
But the exhaustion-inducing stressful events are still present even if I refuse to wallow in the weird and wildness that has been my life lately. The adrenaline rushes have come, my heart has pounded in my chest, and despite my best efforts, I have worried about the health and safety of my family (not to mention sleep training has been a bust!). While I don’t always dwell on this, as I shouldn’t, the difficulty of fully resting in a place where you don’t belong is real. It is a daily, constant battle in the mind, a struggle to plow on to learn the language in the midst of a country in political and economical turmoil, and it is tiresome.
These days, we burn the midnight oil…until 9 o’clock! I suppose, at least until we get this language learned, we will always have to fight the fatigue. Coffee is on IV drip and Jesus is constantly on-call, and that moment I slip into bed next to my likely already snoozing husband…GLORIOUS. And when I’ve finished the hard fought battle of the day, having done all I can to quiet the mind as I fill it with a strange language…”Thank you, Lord” on my lips, I can, FINALLY rest…for a few hours, at least, until my son wakes up! I know in the morning that I won’t be completely rested and must rely on the Lord to give me the “mmph” I need to press forward…eyes half-shut. And when I. just. can’t. He will provide me with the rest I need. One way or another.
Lord, here I am collapsing in Your arms. Carry me.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matt. 11:28).
Have you had to cope with exhaustion brought on by the stresses of life?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!