Friday, August 24, 2012

What's Your Greatest Challenge?

Do you ever feel like daily problems and life issues are magnified because you’re working overseas? Today I hope to hear from you about your life.  What is your greatest difficulty living and serving overseas?  If you’re like me, you find that regular, daily struggles are intensified by cross-cultural stress, but living overseas also brings a whole new set of challenges.

My Greatest challenge is trusting God with my children.

I remember a day years ago when my son came home from the park crying. The other kids told him they weren’t going to play with him because He was a Christian.  I felt like an angry mother bear.  How dare those kids treat my son like that!  This wouldn’t happen to us if we were living in America.

Now I’m faced with the challenge of helping my teenagers work through losing several friends who left Turkey this summer.  My kids are well adapted and have Turkish friends, but they have few TCK friends who really get their lives. I’m praying that God would provide my daughter with more Christian girlfriends her age, but just the other day she told me, “I don’t know if I want to make friends with Alison because they might move next year.”  I think again, “This wouldn’t happen to us if we were living in America.”

No doubt about it, the cross-cultural life brings new challenges.

  • Cross-cultural adaptation and stress
  • Education for the kids
  • Conflict in relationships
  • Language Learning
  • Housework and cooking where there are fewer conveniences
  • Strain on Marriages
  • Loneliness and missing home, a place where you really belong

Forgetting God?

If I focus on these, life looks pretty bleak and I get discouraged.  But then I’m forgetting God. God is the one who called me here, and He is the one in control of my life.  His grace is sufficient for me today.  Paul’s words to the Corinthians remind me not to lose heart:

“Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.”  (The Message, 2 Corinthians 4:16)

So today I’m choosing to give thanks for this crazy, wonderful, amazing cross-cultural life full of new experiences that God has given me.  I’m going to look past the challenges and let him renew my thoughts and attitudes.

I’m interested in hearing about your life too.  What are the greatest challenges you face as you live and serve cross-culturally?  In what areas do you most need encouragement? May God renew your heart today as you seek to live for Him in your adopted country.


Karin said...

Very good post Olive Tree. My challenges often feel so overwhelming and my changing hormones does not help. The last few weeks it felt like wave after wave. I think for me it is my husband's health issues. It is not constant but it keeps coming. Life here is already challenging with culture, language and raising our kids cross culturally. Added stresses like health issues just drains me.

us5 said...

thank you, Olive Tree. i need those words from 2 Cor. tonight. it's so encouraging to hear the heart of someone who understands all these struggles; someone who 'gets it.' thank you.

OliveTree said...

Blessings to you both and may God grace you with all you need for your situations.