Surviving Culture Shock – And living to tell about it.

We’ve been here four and a half months now.  Finally, the shock to our minds and bodies has worn off.  We are at home…  

Surviving culture shock and living to tell about it…

When we moved here, we knew that it would be difficult.  We knew that it would be stressful.  We knew that we would have to adjust in our relationships with each other.  After all, I was used to being gone to work during the day and at the church many evenings — and the family was used to that too.  So now we are together for much of the time.  Don’t get me wrong, we really like it, but it has been an adjustment.

Since we’ve been here, we have learned some language (Russian), culture, how to begin to build relationships here (and no it’s not easy) and care for our children and help them adjust.

There were days in the beginning that we barely had our heads above water and it was certainly a challenge to help our children.  Hopefully we helped them enough.  Maybe some days, they were actually helping us, come to think of it.

We’ve had shocking moments.  Eye opening days when people we thought we trusted turned out to be untrustworthy and vice versa.  We’ve had beautiful moments with the Lord.  We’ve been able to lean on Him and allow Him to carry us when necessary.  We’ve learned what it means to “lean on the everlasting arms.”  When we lived in America, we could basically survive on auto-pilot.  I hate to admit that, but the stark difference between our lives there and here is surprising.  

The first months of surviving were also tangled with frustration that we weren’t “doing anything.”    I know that we were doing what was important at the time — learning Russian and helping ourselves and our family through the very hard transition.

Through the storm…

When the storm clouds clear, it’s so lovely to see the clear, beautiful sky.  That’s kind of the position we are in now.  We see the beauty of the situation God has put us in.  Yes…we know there will still be hard days ahead that we think we can’t survive, but He is stronger.

Check this out…

Savior, please take my hand
I work so hard, I live so fast
This life begins, and then it ends
And I do the best that I can, but I don’t know how long I’ll last

I try to be so tough
But I’m just not strong enough
I can’t do this alone, God I need You to hold on to me
I try to be good enough
But I’m nothing without Your love
Savior, please keep saving me

Savior, please help me stand
I fall so hard, I fade so fast
Will You begin right where I end
And be the God of all I am because You’re all I have

Everything You are to me
Is everything I’ll ever need
And I am learning to believe
That I don’t have to prove a thing
‘Cause You’re the one who’s saving me