I’m having such a difficult time dealing with my mother and her pursuit of going back to serve in Uganda.  Missionaries, no matter where they serve, have an impossible time with discernment as soon as they get out on the field.  If there is a way to stay out there, they stay.  If they go home, then nothing will stop them from going back.  No matter whether or not they’re supposed to be there.  My mother is home because of respiratory problems due to her still smoking 10 years after having most of one lung removed due to it no longer working… due to her smoking.  She should have died last year due to an illness.  God however is either gracious, or He’s got a huge lesson He’s doling out on my mother… and most likely me.

We’ve received such mixed signals as to whether it’s God’s will or not to send her back to Uganda.  She keeps saying as soon as she can save up enough money, she’s going.  But, she has no safety net anymore.  She’s no longer supported by the local diocese and even worse she’s no longer supported by her home church here in the USA.  But, we now see that she’s freed up to work with the orphans and kids that she’s been wanting to spend more time with.  She also has an NGO that is sponsoring her return to what she calls her home. 

But, she’s still here.  She’s learning huge lessons about how to properly serve God and serve her people in Kasese.  But, she’s still here.  And it doesn’t look like she’s going to be going back any time soon.  So, she feels torn in two, and she is slowly suffering.  Her son is not helping either…

I get frustrated when, if she believes that God wants to send her back to Uganda, she seems to do everything in her power to go completely contrary to what she says is from Him.  She’s smoking again, she’s not exercising, she’s not doing the things physically to get her to a point where one might think that she’d be getting well enough to go back.  She’s not listening to me when I tell her not to spend any more money on causes in Uganda until she’s back because she needs to save up the money now so that she’ll BE back.  Every time I question her, she feels that I’m attacking her and being so negative to her.  For me, I’ve even considered just finding a way to get her back to Uganda so I don’t have to deal with it and let someone else have to suffer at her expense.

She basically has crawled into a shell and physically she’s getting worse because emotionally she’s getting worse.  She’s going through some kind of hell here.  She doesn’t want to do anything, she doesn’t want to talk…  it’s like she hasn’t got the will to live.  Every time she does something that is self-detrimental it reinforces the negative behaviour, and she uses the behaviour to punish herself over and over again.

And I can’t watch her do things that actively are trying to kill her, or destroy her life.

So, how does one support someone who is harming themselves and their future, be constructive and criticise those behaviours, but do it in such a way that someone who feels that everything is negative towards her because of an internal condemnation of her own actions doesn’t think that it is in fact negative toward her?