What I Learned About Burnout in Moldova

We pulled in to the Beginning of Life headquarters with 6 suitcases full of gifts, equipment to treat them to a spa night, and resources that we’d brought to help them with this enormous and difficult calling that God had given these women.  Beginning of Life works with girls coming out of the human/sex trafficking industry and trying to make a new life through discovering their new identity in Jesus and developing skills that they can use to support themselves.  Moldova is considered the poorest country in Europe with very few jobs, forcing many parents to leave their children to find work in neighboring countries.  These abandoned children often fall prey to those in the trafficking trade who promise shiny things and a better life.
Two days before we arrived in Chisinau, this region of Moldova had been blanketed with several feet of spring snow.  The heavy snow brought down branches, limbs and entire trees all over the city. I’ve never seen anything like it – and I’m a Colorado girl well-acquainted with spring snows.  Downed trees were piled in every vacant space we could see, for as far as we could see.  A snow that would’ve been routine during the winter months was now disastrous to all of these trees with their newly sprouted foliage.   The limbs with all of their leaves simply couldn’t bear the weight of all of the snow and they couldn’t let it go either.  Instead, the snow piled on higher and higher, heavier and heavier, until finally the limbs broke.
As I started to meet the women in ministry at BOL, I realized there was a striking similarity between them and these branches that had immobilized the entire city of Chisinau.  They were both struggling under an enormous weight.  They were both bending to the breaking point.  If the branches had been somehow able to let go of the snow that was piling up, they would’ve survived.  I was struck at how important it was that these young women find a way to let go of all of the pain, terrible circumstances and abuse that they encountered everyday in the lives of the girls they work with.
 They needed to learn how to take it on – and then give it up.
Give it up to the only one who is able to heal.  Most of the BOL workers were young, in their 20’s and 30’s.  How crucial that they learn this “giving it up” thing while they are still young, so that they can run this marathon that is ministry and not be broken while they are still in the beginning stretch.
Have you and I learned how to do this?
Have you asked the Lord to teach you how to take on the pain of those you see around you (“bear one another’s burdens” Gal 6:2) but then give them up to the Lord to handle?  Or do you take them on and keep them, internalizing them and keeping them as your own?
It’s hard to do – but it is essential if we are going to stay in this race.  There are so many around us that are hurting deeply and it’s hard to come alongside without jumping into the muck of it all.
Here are some questions that might help you if you are needing to grow in this area:
  1. Am I coming alongside this hurting person to somehow fill my own needs (for significance, to be a “fixer”)?

  2. Do I believe that Jesus is the only one who is the Healer and the Giver of Life, or do I think I can somehow do it?

  3. Have I taken time to surrender their circumstances, their pain, and their decisions to the One who loves them more than I?

  4. Have I asked God to heal me, moment by moment, from the hurt that happens when I bear another’s burdens?  He is able.

2017-05-12T14:41:06-06:00By |Blog, Pastor's Wives, Women in Ministry|

About the Author:

I’m so glad you are here! I hope you’ll find our time together refreshing and invigorating. My name is Coletta Smith. I’ve been a Pastor’s wife for 23 years now – and I love it. I haven’t loved every moment of it – and that’s some of what has motivated me to create this blog – there are a lot of struggles that are unique to ministry and pastor’s families.

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