A bagful of mixed emotions

This past Sunday Jeannette and I went to a local church here in Marietta, Georgia, and we both really enjoyed the Pastor’s sermon which was about brokenness. He challenged all of us to be honest about who we are and where we’re at, and it struck me how easy it is for me to be open, honest and broken when I have some good point to share, but not so easy and comfortable when my thoughts are confused and life is not so smooth.

And right now my emotions and thoughts seem to be all over the place. We’re delighted to see how God has done miracle after miracle in our lives these past months. I got my green card to work and live in the United States as long as I want without too many problems. God provided the finances (a lot!) we needed to pay for the green card and for the plane tickets to come here to the US in mid-July. Miracles have continued since we came here. Everything worked out with our car. We got the money, we needed for our wonderful Nissan Sentra through a couple that barely knows us. We also just found out that Jeannette will receive the necessary financial aid for her to be able to study psychology and sociology at Kennesaw State University. We have been blessed with a wonderful place to stay, and everything is in many ways just great.

But there are many other emotions these days. And I somehow feel that I need to share them too. We’ve been here in Marietta, Georgia just north of Atlanta for a bit more than a week now, and it’s been rather difficult so far. A lot of culture shock emotions. It’s quite different to arrive to a place where you barely know anybody and you’re on your own to find out where is where and what is what, than arriving at a Youth With A Mission base where you have a community to plug into and where people will tell you where the different important places are. A richer neighborhood like the one we live in is obviously quite a different story than a cheap apartment in Kiev, Ukraine. How do we fit in here? The stores are big and have a huge variety of products which in itself can be somewhat overwhelming. Choices are nice, but sometimes it’s hard to understand why all of it is necessary….These culture shock emotions are by no means unique to us, and we know that this season of shock will pass too, but I still felt like sharing them here.

I am caught in a lot of laziness and I don’t really want to do anything. I don’t enjoy watching TV much, but I’ve watched a lot since we arrived. Including a lot of very mind numbing stuff. I am tired. I am easily irritated. I know I want to seek God and I know that his peace is what I need. I know that he is the constant when all things are changing around us, and yet I find myself choosing to not spend time with him. I have 10-12 great books I would love to read, but I struggle to read more than a chapter before I lose all my focus. I find myself getting depressed about very little things such as my favorite football (maybe I should start writing soccer since I’m a Permanent Resident of the United States?) team losing a game or me not being able to find the nearest post office.

It’s interesting to watch myself these days. Many emotions and thoughts going in different directions. Many questions pop up as well: how will we do financially here where expenses are higher than in Kiev? How will we fit into a church? How will things go with finding new friends? What if this? What if that? Questions filled with worries. And as always worrying paralyzes me. I don’t want to worry about any of this. I want to give it all to God. I know he has brought us here to Marietta, and I know that he knows how to take good care of us. 

I am thankful that I have learned to give myself space these past few years. I have learned more about not condemning myself for being human. Human beings often experience culture shock, loneliness and worries when they move to a new place. I am a human being, and it’s okay for me to experience it. It’s also okay for me to be honest about it. Right now I’m struggling some. I wish, like many other before me in this situation, that I could fast forward a few months. But on the other hand I know that I’m called to live today. In the now. In the now even when the now is confusing and frustrating. 

I know that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. I know that he is good. I know that he is not mad at me or disappointed with me. I know he has great plans for us here in Marietta. And I know he sympathizes with my bagful of mixed emotions that I offer to him these days. 

I am so glad that it’s okay to be honest with myself, and with God. I don’t have to hide anything, sugar coat my emotions, fabricate some kind of mask or wear a leaf to cover my naked humanness. He sees me just the way I am today, and he loves and accepts me just the way I am today. 

Thus ends this somewhat confused blog entry.

Blessings, Torben

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