and now for the less cryptic version of a story

Well here I am to inform you of a really big change. I’m leaving Mercy Ships. I’ve been with the ship for a little more than a year now. It’s been the best job I’ve ever had in all my nursing career. But for the last 2 months I’ve been in a serious battle with doubt, anxiety, depression about whether I should be staying for another 2 years? I’ve been saying out loud I want to go home. I’ve been asking God if I should go home? It felt like my prayers were just hitting the metal ceiling of my cabin. As I walked around the ship saying I just want to go home, people started saying maybe you should go home.

Circumstances haven’t helped in this matter. I have some really beloved family members who are sick. I have one uncle who is dying. I have a very close relationship with my sons and I miss them terribly. All things I could live with given time to transition. But then I went into town with two friend and I was assaulted. I wasn’t physically injured but I was still traumatized. In that moment, I believe things took a turn for the worse. That moment is when real depression set in.

I love to blog. Always have. I love that I can be open and honest and transparent on this blog. But how could I write about this side of life in Africa? How could I tell this story without having everyone I love be terrified for my safety? So I just didn’t tell the people I love. I told people around the ship. Some people were sympathetic. Some people thought I was totally overreacting and being ridiculous, discounting my feelings completely. So I stopped talking about it. Anyway, that assault opened the door to an old wound I thought I had dealt with and finished. But I guess I was wrong about that too.

The depression I thought I was handling became noticeable to my supervisors. They told me I have to come home to get help. The ship is not equipped for this sort of thing. The pastoral care is limited to chaplains and they are only equipped for so much.

The bottom line is God was listening and working. I was trying so hard to honor my commitment. I didn’t want to let anyone down, not Mercy Ships, not my friends, not my family, not my supporters, and mostly not God. So He took matters into His own hands and made the supervisors make the decision for me. I feel like a huge burden has been lifted from my heart. I feel heartbroken at the same time.

I’ll be leaving the ship sometime this coming week. Then I’m heading to Pennsylvania to visit my family. Then I’m heading to Gainesville to visit my son. Then I’ll be heading back to south Florida to live again and to seek counseling.

I want to thank all of you for your faithful financial support over the last year. I want to thank you for your prayers too. I would also really like to schedule visits with all of the awesome folks who’ve supported me from other places to meet you face to face and say thank you!

I really thought I was meant to be a long term missionary. But Jesus said to me, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” It’s time for me to sit still for awhile and rest.

When they told me to go home, I was angry at first. I yelled at God. “Why did you do this to me!?” Then He said, “Should you only accept good things from The Lord? Shouldn’t you praise the Lord even in this? The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

So I’m coming home. They told me to take at least a year off. If I want to return after that, I can come for 2 months and see how it goes. I think they made a wise decision. They’ve been very supportive. I know they only want what’s best for me.

Please keep praying for me though because I feel like I let everyone down.

Love… Michelle
Philippians 1:20

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23 thoughts on “and now for the less cryptic version of a story

  1. Dear Micey
    Our Pappa’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours, dear friend! If ever you feel like a visit to South Africa remember my home and my heart are always open and available and I would love to meet you too. Go, dear friend, and get well. Remember, that it is not what we do for God, but what He does in and through us. We don’t serve Him; our Pappa serves us by washing our feet.
    Blessings XX
    Mia

    • I know You are right Mia. Thank you. I do plan to visit South Africa. One thing I’ve learned over the last year is I need to travel. I need to see places and meet people. I need to see this big glorious world of His and share His love with many people. Thanks friend!

  2. Michelle. Sad to hear you are leaving :(
    But trust that this is the right thing for you. I really admire your openness and honesty. Be assured you have not let anyone down.
    I am really glad that I have spent this time with you from Texas to Guinea and to Congo. You are awesome!!!!
    We will miss you,
    Emma xx

  3. I too am sorry to hear you are leaving Mercy Ships, but you are definitely the one who has to make the decision and you have made it. I think indecision is one of the worst things in the world. I know you must feel relief now that you have made your decision. Mercy Ships is not the only place you can serve Him. I know you will be a blessing to those around you wherever you are. Just keep leaning on Jesus. We know he never lets anyone down.
    Prayers and blessings to you.
    Charlotte

  4. Well. you didn’t let me down. You have done so many good things in your life. So now there was a curve in the road. Come home, seek help for the depression and wait for your next gift from God. I have faith in you and God. He’s not gonna let you down. See you at home. Love

  5. Michelle i love and support you in your life/ walk with God. You are on a journey and He is using it all for your good, and He is using your life for good in many others’ lives too. All of Jesus’ work is good, and you are in Him and with Him and He with you. love to you dear… His peace comfort and healing love.

  6. Hi MIchelle. First of all – we love you for being you. Second – There is no condemnation to any who are in Christ Jesus – least of all you. You are amazing for all you have already achieved in obedience to the Master. Go home from a job well done, resting in the peace of Christ, the love of Abba and the joy of the Holy Spirit. Your Kingdom journey isn’t over – it’s only just begun. Head held high now! There can be no shame and no guilt. You are His beloved. Well done, good and faithful servant!.

    • Thank you Neil! You sounded like such a dad right now. Thank you for that! I would really like to plan a visit to you and Yvonne. I would like to give you a gigantic hug for all the love you’ve shown me over the years. ❤

  7. Dear Michelle,
    The Lord is closing one door but He has already opened another one. A new path that will glorify him even more! Please don’t believe in the lies of the enemy. You are not letting anyone down. You are being obdient to his call. Call me when you get back to Ft. Lauderdale 754.366.7866. I think the Lord wants us to connect.
    Love you in Christ.
    Blessings from the Almighty!

  8. God has a different plan for you. He will guide and lead you. I wonder what new adventure he has lined up for you? Go well my friend. Be as kind to yourself as you have been to others. Much love and respect.

  9. Hello ex-cabin mate… I don’t think you’ve ever let me down. And I believe our Father is even more gracious than I am. It’s a difficult decision to make – both families are important. I feel even more redundant coming home but it was the right decision at that time. Have a great time with your family. If you ever feel like Asia, you know I’m here. xoxo

  10. As I was reading, the song “God does all things for our good” began singing in my heart. You have been faithful. Eagerly looking forward to the next chapter God is writing for you. Praying for peace.

  11. My late husband always said, ‘The impossible we do every day; miracles take a little longer. We just have to be in the right place, at the right time, when the Lord opens a window or a door by the merest fraction .’ God bless you wherever you go.

    • What a beautiful thing to say. So wise. Thank you friend for sharing this with me. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of the book. ❤

  12. Its tough making sense of the mess we are, the mess of this world, and a perfect God in the midst of it. I will pray for you. I myself decided I needed some counseling this Summer and had to make some major changes and leave some places and people. It is always rather messy. But He gets us through the mess, then the anger and bitterness, that always, always follows,towards those who made the mess (sometimes ourselves included) to the other side. Slooowly, often. But every time,none the less
    Cheers,
    Leah

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