Sometimes people ask me, “What is it like to be a missionary? What changes have come about in your life?” Well, let me just say that it has involved many changes. And those of you who know me well know that I do NOT like change! But I guess the hardest change so far for me is the fact that I am so far removed from most of my family.
We are so thankful that we are now closer to our son and his family here in South Africa. It has been a blessing to be able to get together with them for birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, and Christmas. And I am thankful for modern technology that allows us to talk with our children and grandchildren in America, and even see them as we talk with them on Facetime. But we still miss being there to see them personally.
I want to preface the rest of my article with these words: I am very happy being here in Africa, and I would not change places with anyone. I know this is where God has called, and we have been blessed beyond measure. But sometime my focus gets messed up, and I start thinking about what all I am missing, rather than all that the Lord has given me.
I was reading the blog of a missionary wife last week and I came across some thoughts she had posted. I have altered it a little bit for my use. But it lays out very well the many emotional and mental battles and struggles that a missionary wife will face. At some time or another in their life, every missionary wife will face all of these things, if they stay for very long on the mission field. So, for those of you who want a glimpse into the life of a missionary wife and to know how to better pray for one, this is a behind the scenes look at what she faces. Please don’t forget to pray for all of us missionary wives. We need it!
I am not there. I am here. The miles are long. Their days are my nights. My days are their nights. The seasons are opposite of mine. Their summer is my winter. Their winter is my summer. But I am here, so I cannot be there.
She looks so beautiful, dressed in white. She walks the aisle, and he meets her at the front. The “I do’s” are said and tears of joy are shed. I do not see it. I only have pictures. I am not there. I am here.
The Christmas tree is put up and decorated. The lights glisten and glow. Everyone is sitting around, sipping hot chocolate after a family dinner. Presents are exchanged. But I am not there. I am here.
Tears are shed. Flowers fill the chapel. A casket is closed. Hearts are broken. Goodbyes are spoken. Comforting hugs. Reminiscing over happy memories. But I am not there. I am here.
A family hurting. Children crying. Parents aching. And someone leaves. A broken home. Phone calls and emails are all I have. My heart wants to hold them, to cry with them. I want to wipe away the tears. But I am not there. I am here.
Bad news comes. Health is failing. Surgeries. Treatments. Doctor’s appointments. I cannot help. I cannot drive for them or cook a meal or clean. I am not there. I am here.
A beautiful pregnant belly. The gender announced. Before long, the labor starts. The baby’s first cry. Happy parents. But I do not get to hold the baby. I do not hear the cry. I am not there. I am here.
Birthdays come and go. Trials faced. But I am not there…
Sometimes my heart wants to cry out, “I will gladly follow you, Lord, but let me first see her wedding. Let me first see the baby born. Let me first make sure everyone will be OK while I am gone. Let me first… me first…” Me first…
I need to remember that following the Lord is not without sacrifice. I don’t want to look back. I want to keep my hand to the plow. I want to plow straight and deep. But sometimes my heart wants to cry, “Me first!” So I remind my heart about what belongs first. Jesus reminds me of Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
If I put Him first, He will supply me need… comfort me when I ache inside… comfort me when I miss family and friends… comfort me when the tears flow. If I keep my focus on Him and put Him first in my life, He will remind me of all the blessings that I am overlooking. He will help me to keep pushing forward, to not give up.
Why am I here when I am missing out on things there? I remember why I am here. I remember Who brought me here. I remember the call of God to carry the gospel to those who have never heard. Which means that I am not there.
No, by God’s grace, I am here. Here where He has called us to serve. So today, I lay “there” on the altar again. Because I am here.
Love and miss you all,
Beverly is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and Doug Hammett have been married for over 35 years. Since her father was a pastor and her husband was already a pastor when she married him, she is well acquainted with the blessings as well as the problems of the ministry! Bev’s favorite things to do are read and spend time with her family.
In Autumn of 2010, Doug stepped aside from his position as senior pastor at LVBC to reach and train men in Botswana and South Africa. Beverly continues to write for our ladies publication, giving her unique perspective of life in the ministry, and now life on the mission field. You can read more about their ministry here.