I’ve been in a kind of funky place recently.  Not a bad place, really.  Perhaps even a good place.  But a place nonetheless.

Quick flashback… One of my most trying times in college was the beginning of my senior year.  We were all stoked to be finishing out our final classes, I was head over heals in love with Matt, and life was good.  Yet I was in quite the funk.  You see, I was stepping foot back onto my campus just weeks after spending a summer in the slums and bush of Kenya.  On this trip, my heart was shattered and my life rocked, and I just had a surprisingly hard time re-assimilating into life on campus.  I had changed (by the grace of God), yet the world around me had not.  Suddenly, so much of my college experience seemed completely senseless.  I felt lonely and misunderstood.  Because really, who longs for the sewage-covered streets of Kibera when they can waltz around an affluent college campus in heels and designer jeans?  Clearly, I was quite the ray of sunshine.  And not surprisingly, some of my friendships struggled.

That was then, and this is now.  Thankfully, my current post-Africa-syndome has taken on a different, less depressive form.  But my brokenness is fresh and my mind preoccupied.  My brain is working overtime thinking about adoption and ethics and the role of the local church.  I think about the conflict in the province in which my daughter was born.  Will her peers- her birth family- be recruited as child soldiers?  Be systematically raped like so many others?  I think about the poverty- worse than any other country I’ve been to- and yet how rich Congo is in natural resources.  I think about the “what ifs” and “what might have beens” with Elizabeth.

And I miss it.  I cried at the dinner table the other night as I told Matt how much I wanted to return.  And I know I will.  Someday.  But for now, I’m trying to wrap my mind around my experiences and passions and how they intersect with my life.  In other words, what am I going to do with my passions?  It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a bleeding heart, and I feel intensely.  I have no shame, y’all.  This is the way God created me, and I’m gonna run with it.  But I also know that my passions aren’t going to get me anywhere if I don’t act.

There’s a small conundrum though.  They’re named Carson, Mary Grace, and Elizabeth.  Love those kids to pieces, but there isn’t a whole heck of a lot of free time with these three running around like crazy.  In this season of poopy diapers, preschool, and playdates, there often doesn’t seem to be sufficient time and space to act.  So I’m praying.  And brainstorming.  And lying awake in bed thinking and thinking.  I have been so frustrated recently by the gaping chasm between the vast needs and my stark inadequacies.  Then I’m reminded that that’s precisely where God loves to meet us- in our shortcomings and inadequacies to show that He is our strength and that glory and salvation belongs to Him alone.

If I’m rambling (what’s new?), then it’s a truly accurate portrait of my recent thought patterns.  But while my thoughts may be rambling and scattered, my passions are laser-focused: to see healing and restoration descend upon areas of brokenness.  Because when we realize the mess from which we’ve been rescued and Christ’s unrelenting love that pursues us, is there any other option?

3 Comments on brokenness. and where to go from here?

  1. Catherine,

    I completely understand this. I may not have been in Africa, but reverse culture shock is very real regardless. I went through something similar when I came back to campus from England. Its amazing how much God can use that feeling to generate a passion that can move mountains. 🙂

    I love you and your family so much! I wish that I could keep in touch more personally. But, please know that I am praying for y’all. Maybe UNC will let me in and I can be around more often! 😛

  2. I remember the first time we met. There was a picture on your wall in the upstairs hall that caught my attention. That immediatly told me that you both had a heart for missions. I don’t know if you remember our conversation but I told you of my experience as a teenager on mission trips to Texas and Mexico. I remember that feeling coming home fired up and ready to change the world. But feeling like no one had the time to stand beside me. No one had the ambition to change he world for the cause of Christ. And feeling like I was slipping back into a regular routine. I find even today the desire and the feeling wells up inside. The group I was once a part of visited my home church some time ago and one of the leaders (who did NOT know me or my history) stopped me and said that she could see my heart was to be back with them, back in the Mission field. But that God had called me “for such a time as this”…exactly where I was. And to trust him. He has called the Allison family to be in Clayton with Elizabeth for such as a time as this…like Esther. You have been called to be a mother for a world changer for Jesus. And I can’t wait to hear her testimony in years to come.

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