"I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever." Psalm 86:12

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fighting Discouragement

Well I woke up this morning, and today I have been fighting intense discouragement. Discouragement about how my time is being used here and what my purpose is (still not any closer to really figuring this one out). I was feeling as though I have wasted so much time, and have been dealing with a lot of frustration about specifically how my time is spent here.

Before I came to Africa, I expected to come here and dive right into ministry. I expected to be living life with the people here and constantly showing them the love of Christ. But as I look back over these past five weeks, the percentage of my time between spending time with the nationals and the other missionaries or at the guest house has been more than disappointing. I only get to spend 2 to 3 hours a day maximum with the nationals, and the rest of my time is spent with the other missionaries, eating meals, or just spending time at the guest house. It's like I'm living an American life in the middle of Africa. And I can't help but have this thought eat away at my mind saying, "Jordan, what are you doing? You're wasting so much time!!! How is God really using you? What impact are you having on these people?" I'm telling you, I really can't put into words how discouraging these thoughts have been. Especially when I've had this desire to come to Africa for 4 years now - this is completely not what I expected.

I've reached the end of myself. My spirit is broken. Today, I have reached the lowest point of discouragement. I feel so trapped. I don't have any freedom really to just go out and do ministry for a few reasons: (1) I can't speak the language. (2) I depend on my supervisors to drive me places. (3) I can't take taxis anymore because of certain circumstances. I feel so helpless.

My prayers have been reduced to the simplest form because I just don't know what to pray anymore. "Father, glorify your name and sanctify me during my time here. Refine me through your fire and do whatever it takes to bring glory to yourself." I feel that through that simple request that surely good will come of these two months.

I also pray that He uses this blog to be a ministry to all of you back home. I don't really have a ministry here, so I feel this blog may be a way the Lord will use me. I feel like I am experiencing a form of suffering during my time here - which I know that to be a disciple of Christ he calls us to a life of suffering - he calls us to take up our cross daily and to follow Him - and the road of the cross is a road full of suffering. So I pray that through my difficulties here that you all will be encouraged in your faith. I pray that you will be challenged to follow Christ more fervently and to take steps that will stretch your faith in Him. If I came here simply to reach people back home, then my time here will be worth it. Or if I came here simply for the Lord to refine me (and not necessarily to reach anyone else) and to reach me, then I will accept that as well.

I did find some encouragement in 2 Corinthians today. A few different verses really spoke to me. So I'll share them with you:

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him." 2 Corinthians 2:14

From this verse, I simply pray that the Lord would use me to spread a fragrance of the knowledge of Him. Even though I can't speak the language here, I would be delighted if people could sense even the slightest fragrance of our Savior through my being here.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I am encouraged by these verses, and I simply pray that the Lord would renew me and renew my strength day by day, moment by moment, because I can't make it through here without Him. I am also so encouraged by the part that says, "we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen." Clearly, I have nothing here to fix my eyes on that can be seen - no personal ministry, no relationships. I can only fix my eyes on my Father and trust that He knows what He is doing.

And here, I am so encouraged by, and so desire this joy that Paul speaks of:

"Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, in hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet no killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bound." 2 Corinthians 6:4-10, 7:4

Oh Lord, let my joy know no bounds!! Even in my troubles! My troubles don't even compare to what Paul went through, yet his joy knew no bounds. I want that joy. A joy that can't be shaken by anything in this world. A joy that says, "I am hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8).

I ask that you would please pray that God would continue to encourage my heart through His word and through His Spirit. I ask that if you feel led to, please send me encouragement as well. Paul speaks of how God comforted him by sending Titus. He said, "But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever." (2 Corinthians 7:6-7). To be a part of the body of Christ is such a blessing because we have the opportunity to encourage and to be encouraged by one another. I come to you now as your sister, and I simply ask as one in need, I seek your encouragement and your prayers.


  1. Jordan don't feel discouraged. The devil would love for both of us to be discouraged so we will stop working for Jesus Christ. We are both here for a purpose of which we don't know. We both wanted to work with orphanages and HIV/AIDS but haven't done any of it so what can we do? We trust that God's ultimate plan is better than what we originally planned for ourselves when we got here. Don't feel worthless because you have helped me so much here with your encouragement and sweet spirit and just by being a good friend to some crazy Alabama girl :) Read Ephesians 4 it helps me out right now so maybe it will do the same for you. Phillipians 3:14 - I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

  2. Jordan, I just read your blog for the first time. i saw it on FB and don't go there much. I think that your writing is beautiful...so open and worded with such grace. Perhaps God will use you to pen a work for His glory one day. You can relate to the world how He has become your everything. Congratulations on coming to the end of yourself! i wish i had been your age when i got to that place but it's only been a few years now. We are never anywhere by accident, our God is too Big and too Powerful to leave us hanging loose in a foreign country wondering what will become of us. that foreign land may be a real place or an emotional state that renders us feeling helpless, maybe even afraid. But you can take great hope that God will show you how this trip fits into His plan; but it may never be what your dreams told you it would be. What a heart for God you have and oh, how He will use you to do exactly what you want to do for Him -bring glory and honor to Him. Just remember, He gets to define those two things - glory and honor - ....we just get to be instruments. Take heart...God is in control! i will be praying for you as i sit in my recliner for 6 weeks with a broken foot (yay! children's camp). much love in Jesus, Kristy Kalinowski

  3. Dearest Jordan,
    You are in the middle of all that God has planned for you. It's in those times when we wrestle with God and get so close to Him desiring to seek His face and know His will for us moment by moment. You are there, with the Lord, on a moment by moment, heart to heart walk with god. I believe that the best is yet to come. Once your heart is completely focused on God and you are ready to see the hand of God use you...He will do so!

    I will pray for you daily! I love your blog and hearing your heart's cry for God and wanting Him to use you. You are in an amazing place with your spiritual walk, one that most people twice your age have never experienced.

    Rejoice! And again I say,"Rejoice". I am sooo proud of you. I wish I was there with you, praying with you, laughing and crying with you...please know that I am in spirit.

    I love you Jordan!! Teresa Hilliard

  4. Jordan,

    I pray for you often. I am sorry you are discouraged. I pray that you will find contentment in your journey. I know that you had expectations for this trip but a lot of times we don't see how
    God is using us in the moment. Jordan, He knows your heart and your desires. I believe He is using you for His glory. I asked God to give you the strength to live today. Isaiah 41:10 says, "So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." We can only trust God when our focus is on Him and not on our circumstances. I love you and miss you very much!! Joni

  5. Jordan,

    As I read your recent post I began to pray for words of encouragement to share with you. I was drawn to Hebrews 10:35 - 11:40. 10:35-36 says: Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
    Jordan, I am confident that the Lord has you right where He wants you. He led you there for a purpose. We don't always "see" the purpose (as those who in Chapter 11 didn't always see) but we are to keep the faith. Your heart is to do His will and you are obediently following what He has put in your heart to do. I pray for your endurance. Be encouraged. This desire to go to Africa came from Him. He provided the way. You are there. You are close to Him. Be confident in Him.
    I love you and am praying for you. Susan B.

  6. Thank you all so much for your encouragement and prayers. It all means the world to me and saying a simple "thank you" will never be able to fully express how truly thankful I am. Love you all so much!

  7. Dear Jordan, we all sense your discouragement in your words. When I returned from Haiti, I felt overwhelmed by the need and felt completely insignificant in what I had offered those people in need after the earthquake. I think that you are feeling the same feelings. You know you were called but you can't see the fruit. If there is to be any spiritual gain, it will only be because of what God does, not because of what you do. Don't you think the child who offered the 5 loaves and 2 fish must have felt the same thing? Yet God took the humble offering and multiplied it. You are obviously where God wants you. You are restricted by events out of your control. You are digging into God's Word and those words are coming to life in you right now. Keep writing and keeping your journal. God will illuminate your path, whether now or in the distant future. You may not know what He is doing but God is at work!
    Three years ago, at Passion, after a personal renewal, I was geared up and ready to do whatever God wanted me to do. The next morning, I read from John 15:3-4, "You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. REMAIN in me, and I will REMAIN in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." Lord Jesus, may your Holy Spirit fill Jordan right now with a peace that passes all understanding, and help her REMAIN in a close walk with you, and help her to know that she is right in the middle of your will for her, and if you see fit, give her a little taste of the fruit of her obedience.
    We love you, Jordan. Hang in there...
    Jim Byrum

  8. Jordan - I was talking to you mom this morning and she was telling me a little about your discouragement. I could see it your mothers eyes that she is so happy for your circumstances because she know you are in God's will. She told me God is using you in ways both there and here so what ever you do.....don't give up. God loves you and so do we. Tom & Lisa