Missing Normal

Probably 99% of those who are reading this will wake up in the morning, take a shower, fix your hair, put on some nice clothes, and go to church. At church you will sing praises to our great King, be fed by His word, and fellowship with other believers. You will leave church feeling encouraged, and hungry. So you will grab your family, or best friends and hit up your favorite Sunday lunch spot. After that most of you will go home and take the traditional Sunday afternon nap, and relax for the rest of the afternoon. If you are a student, with a life anything comprable to mine when I was a student, you will skip the nap with much grumbling and head to the nearest coffee shop to get as much homework done as possible before class on Monday. At the coffee shop you will more than likely see people you know and maybe even make small talk. You will be distracted by those having conversations and maybe stick headphones in your ears to keep you focused on the assignment, and not on evesdropping. Did I mention that as you travel to and from church, home, and the coffee shop you will most likely drive a car with the appropriate amount of people per seat belt, or less? And you will be able to drive without swerving to miss potholes and bottom out every 3 seconds. Also, did I mention that people will not be staring at you the entire day? Analyzing everything that you do and then whispering to their neighbor about it. You won't be distracting in church, you will fit right in, you will barely be noticed as you drive home or walk into the coffee shop. Because its normal for you.

None of that will happen to me tomorrow. I will wake up, maybe fix my hair (like re-do the ponytail), probably put on a skirt and maybe something other than a white v-neck shirt, the only make-up I will wear is chapstick, and then I will walk to church. As I walk to church people will stare at me. When I get to church I will be noticed. The children's attention is going to be gone for the rest of the service as they whisper. We will sing songs in French. Someone will graciously lend me their song book, so I will have some idea of how to formulate the words, but I won't understand the majority of them. We will sit, and the pastor will begin to teach. I will count it a success if I can find the right passage without asking for help, much less understand the main points of the sermon. After church, I will mill around for as little as I think is appropriate and then leave. I won't be going to Rancho Grande with my family and friends, I'll come home alone. I won't be studying at the local coffee shop. I won't drive a car. I won't be normal and I won't fit in.

I LOVE church here. It has given me a wider veiw of the body of Christ. I LOVE living here. I have learned so much and grown so much. But I miss singing to my Jesus in English! I miss knowing the words to the songs and being able to close my eyes and sing them only to Him. I miss NOT being stared at! I miss sunday lunch with family. Or Sunday afternoon study dates with friends. I miss fitting in. I miss being able to understand conversations around me 100% without having to strain to understand each word. I miss being able to call my mom on the way to study just to hello. Or running into random friends at the grocery store.

Yesterday I cried. A lot. Actually, I am suprised it hasn't happened sooner, seeing as how I cry at least every 2 weeks in the states whether I need it or not! The underlying theme of all the times I cried yesterday was that I am a little homesick. I think there is a common misconception that missionaries love God and the people they are with so much that they don't really need friends. Every single word in that statement is false. Maybe I'm not the normal missionary, but I miss my friends and family. I miss things being normal.

But I'm not ready to come home just yet. The hardest part about living in two countries is trying to explain it to others. When I'm in the States I miss Haiti. I get homesick for Haiti. I miss the people I miss the smells, I miss it all! When I'm here I get homesick for the States. It usually takes longer for me to miss the states than for me to miss Haiti though. Typically, by the time I set foot in Miami I'm ready to return home to Haiti. But after 3 months here I'm missing the States. I'm not saying any of this to make anyone think that I am miserable here or that I would rather be in the States right now. I'm not, and I don't. I'm simply sharing with you how I am feeling so you may be praying more effectively for me.

Hudson and Daniel coming to work and visit here was such a huge encouragement I can't even express it. They encouraged me in ways that I really needed. They made me laugh until I cried (and thought I was going to pass out from lack of oxygen) at least once. I don't think I realized how much I needed them to come until they were here. It was such a wonderful breath of fresh air. But now they are gone and its just me again. Today and yesterday I have been thinking of home often.

I know its impossible for me to write something like this without many of you worrying about me. Please don't worry. Like I said, I AM loving it here. I AM NOT ready to go home. I just miss a little bit of normalcy. Pray that my heart will be full. I know that my Savior is with me. Closer than the air I breathe. Pray that I will be overwhelmed with a new love for these people, and a new urgency to show love to them.

And tomorrow, in church, sing your heart out to Jesus for me! I will be singing in French, but God understands what even I do not.

Praise Him for being so big and wonderful!


Sarah Stone said...

hey girl! i'll be praying. sounds like and katy have a lot in common with the wanting to be two places at once. praying for you both!
-sarah stone

Anonymous said...

We are praying for you Noelle! Keep up the good work. -Robert L.

Gillian Adams said...

Noelle! Your heart for Haiti is a beautiful thing! I'm praying for you. I pray that you would experience God's presence in ways you never have before! And I pray that your heart would be filled to overflowing with the love of Christ!

Katy {and Kahler} said...

i say this all the time, but i totally understand!

Anonymous said...

Sweet Noelle,

Don't be discouraged. Our God is GREATER. Our God is STRONGER. Our God is HIGHER than ANY other. Our God is HEALER, AWESOME in POWER, our God.

He loves you, and loves your heart. He loves your love for his people. He loves that your heart misses home because it makes you lean more on Him. He cares for you, and so do I.

I am not in the least bit worried about you because I know you. You're a fighter. And you love Haiti. This will pass and you will be renewed, and stronger. And God willing I will get to visit you in May. I'm praying for you, hard.

Smile today and know that this girl in College Station loves you more than anything and is SO PROUD of you.

Susan said...

Dear Noelle,
I started reading your blog because I am friends with Daniel's mom. I have such respect and admiration for what you are doing. I wish I had been physically able to do what you are doing when I was your age. God is so good and has found the right person to do the work you are doing!! The Haitians are truly blessed to have you in their lives bringing Christ to them and helping them.

It is interesting that I hold the same feelings as you do right now and I am in the states. I feel like I am in a foreign country - moved from Texas to Wyoming a year ago. Most of my time here is spent with the children at church and Bible study. I miss my friends and "normalcy". (I even "stole" one of your comments as a quote because I felt it spoke to my soul - what I needed at the moment anyway).

I will continue to check on your blog and pray for you and your mission in Haiti. God bless you for just stepping out and doing what you do!


Jenny Hagstrom said...

This is probably one of my favorite posts of yours Noelle. I am so glad that God has given you this opportunity and has given all of these wonderful experiences to you1 I'm praying for you, and I love you!
Jenny Hagstrom:)

Anonymous said...

It is like God to stretch you in a way that would be unimaginable, but it's like Satan to want you to second guess the heart you have for God. So glad that you are putting a voice to your feelings and allowing them to be real in every way.
I am praying for you. I know that this is hard for your mom as well.
Job well done good and faithful servant.

Kate said...

I love you, sweet friend. And while I haven't experienced longing for two countries at once, I'm thankful that the Lord saw fit to put Haiti in your heart.

Psalm 16:5-6 says "Lord, you are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance."

I'm glad your boundary lines include Haiti and I know He's going to continue to "make your lot secure." Praying that for you tonight!

Anonymous said...

A beautiful post. I agree with Jenny. I made the mistake of trying to read this out loud to Dad and Coleman. We were all crying by the end. We love you so much. We are grateful to our precious Lord and Savior that you are in his good and loving hands. Always, Mom


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