I was spending my last bit of time with my dad, my little sister, and my childhood best friend, shooting the breeze, when my best friend made this statement, “I couldn’t be you, I couldn’t have a child and not have a place to call home- a place to plant roots. Your children aren’t going to have any roots like we have.” That simple statement baited me for a conversation that not only left me feeling broken – I felt like I had just lost the only support I had ever known. The conversation continued with my sister telling me I was selfish for considering having our child in a “war-torn” country, my dad reminding me how our children wouldn’t grow up around family like I did, and my best friend rounded it out with statements about, “giving up your dreams to follow a man” – that man she referred to was my husband.
Days later I would board that plane, despite their wishes. I don’t regret going, what I regret is, allowing that final conversation to impact me the way it did. The first three months in Israel were lonely and hard. I didn’t know a soul and none of our Americans were married and our team management was less than stellar. It was one thing after another when I arrived- our apartment was miserable, the team decided to drop me and our unborn child from health insurance because we were having a homebirth, our car was involved in a hit and run accident, the team quit paying us six weeks before our child was due (that we were now going to have to pay for out of pocket) and we had just sent most of our money back to the States. We literally hit our rock bottom, overseas experience, and I had no one to turn to. The Facebook groups didn’t exist back then, I dare not run and tell my family my woes-allowing them to be salt in my wounds, and I absolutely would not allow myself to burden my husband who was already carrying the weight of the team and his family on his shoulders. I felt like I had no community and I felt like God abandoned me there in the land of His people.
Once we hit rock bottom, and could only look up, there God was, waiting to teach us some valuable lessons on trusting Him fully, patience, humility and the importance of community.
I remember the day, I had poured my heart out to God about feeling forsaken and forgotten. That very same day, one of the American’s called and told my husband, “some of the guys and I need to talk to you and Dori.” Our curiosity peaked and we joined them for a Shabbat dinner. That evening, the entire team, came around my husband and I. They saw we were hurting and angry with our situation. The team wanted to tell us that they would be protesting our treatment by not practicing or playing until we were given a new apartment, car and were paid for the last month. They continued their support by stating that if we were not paid they would pool their money together to help us pay cash for our daughters birth. Their kind gesture and offer left us speechless. We were humbled to the fullest.
In the days to follow, the team went forward to management to tell them the proposal – they responded by offering to trade my husband instead. Unfortunate for management, they underestimated the community of that team. Several players threatened to walk if my husband left. Later that day, we went apartment shopping, got a new car and by the end of the week we were paid. While I felt I had lost the support I had always known just months prior – that week I learned community is where you build it, and you can’t live without it. Our community fought for us when we had no strength left to fight, they held us up when we wanted to crumble, they nursed us when we were broken, they were the glue that held us together that season. Our community is what made our worse overseas experience, our best.
I don’t know where life will take you this season, but I can tell you, it is an opportunity to trust in God and expand your community.
Lord, thank you for the valleys that allow us to experience dependence on you. Please go before each of these families this season, as you prepare a place for them. I pray they will trust in You fully to place them in an area that glorifies your purpose in their lives. Please surround each family with a community to will stand with them and for them. It is in your precious name we pray, Amen.