Dates: I didn’t mark specific dates in my journal but from the port history, I can see that these events date from January through February 2004
*Like I mentioned before, I was going out on a land team for one month of ministry in Austria. Austria changed my life in many ways but that is for another post. While preparing to leave the ship, things between Wouter and I were good. We didn’t talk a lot but I would at least get a “hello” or a smile from him in passing. He even offered me his sleeping bag for my trip which I willing accepted as a way of keeping him close through our impending distance. Still, nothing had been said between us. I was eager to get away. I could’t wait to be in the fresh winter air somewhere in the mountains of Austria and not on a confined old ship where I had absolutely zero privacy and where my struggle with Wouter was forever in my face. I left happily. After four weeks away, I was itching to get back to life onboard as our ministry time in Austria was exhausting to say the least. I was also excited to return to Wouter and see his face. Conversation would have to wait another six months or more. Much to my chagrin, I arrived back on the ship to a very unfriendly, cold Wouter Roos. Here’s what I wrote in my journal:
Well, as usual Lord, you hit me with something very unexpected. As I re-entered the ship, the warm welcome I expected was not there and instead, I received no welcome at all. Not even a nod of the head to acknowledge my return. What?!?! A non- existent greeting; one that was as far away from my fantasy as possible. I totally cannot understand it. It’s like we never even met before!
Why does everything have to be so dramatic? I know that there needs to be distance between us. I know that space is necessary but why the coldness?
I should just accept it as your will. I’m taking it all out of my heart and placing it on the alter again. I just wish I knew his reasons…
I know You are calling me to trust You!
I really pray, at least, for a way to clear up all the tension between us. Lord, please bring clarity. Give us space for a quiet, mutual understanding between us. This is a huge issue for me right now and I know that all kinds of insecurities can slip in the door of my heart at the moment.
I’m going to refocus on my calling to be on the ship. You have a purpose for me here and I will rest in that.
*I can’t even tell you how discouraged I was during that time. My expectations were not met and I was still learning a huge lesson about having faith in God when circumstances look bleak.
One day, I was working in the Mess Hall on board. This is the place where all the deck hands eat their lunch. Wouter, being a deck hand, was eating close by. We made eye contact and he didn’t even acknowledge my presence. He quickly looked passed me. He was so friendly toward everyone else but when it came to me, he was such a jerk.
Perhaps some of you are wondering why I couldn’t perceive it for what you already know it was but… I was so fragile, so insecure. I felt unliked, uncomfortable and out of place. So I naturally just assumed there was nothing about me to like. It was a confusing time to say the least and I learned how true the saying, “Human emotions are the battleground of the enemy,” really is.
That day, as I served lunch in the Mess and watched all the people laughing and eating together, I became very sad. I thought to myself, “I should just go talk to him. I should just tell him everything… from my shooting stars to my waking hours of prayer to my scriptures…he’ll see, then, who I am to him. He’ll stop being like this and I can stop feeling so terrible. Surely, he won’t be a bozo to his future wife.”
I left my job that day and went to my cabin to think it over and plan a way to get him alone for a chat. I showered, got dressed and sat down to pray and read my Bible. I am SO glad I did because God showed up for me that day BIG TIME! I opened my Bible to this verse:
Exodus 14:14…”The Lord will fight for you. You need only be silent!” (Operative word being “fight”) as you will come to see in my later entries.
I read those words and felt such an extreme sense of peace! I knew God was telling me to zip my lips…That He was at work here…
That verse was a game changer. My countenance was lifted and I never spoke my heart to him…Thank God!