I could smell that something was burning, but I was unable to detect the source of the stench. This was now the third time I had picked up my vehicle in hopes that the problems were resolved and I could continue on with the convenience of having personal transportation.
My hopes were quickly shattered. Once again, my transmission would stall and become unresponsive.
After four blissful months of driving my incredible blessing of a car, she began to have problems of epic proportions. Which brings us to this week when, yet again, she proved her issues to be irreparable.
I parked in the middle of the "garage," which far more resembled a junkyard with at least eight broken down school buses, piles of scrap metal and stray cats and chickens.
There I was, in the middle of the mess, having a total breakdown. Four months of hitting brick walls and dead ends, struggling to make ends meet and getting no where, here I was totally breaking under the pressure of it all.
I sat down on a dilapidated bench, pressed my head into my hands and began to weep.
"Why does this have to be so hard?"
I asked myself in between sobs. Why is following where God has led you filled with so many trials, so many obstacles and mountains to be overcome?
Tears streamed down my face and sweat dripped from every crevice of my body when words that have never before been uttered left my lips...
"Jesus, sometimes you just aren't enough."
Before I am burned at the stake for this, let me explain; there is nothing more exhausting, physically, emotionally or mentally draining than putting your entire self, every possible ounce of your being into something, only to hit wall after wall.
My frustration, tears and questions didn't come from a place of heresy or disrespect, but simply the sheer exasperation that sometimes, it feels as though prayers and obedience just aren't enough. That spiritual communion doesn't quite fill the surmounting emotional, mental and physical needs of a human being.
That for every two steps of progress, there are ten that feel a lot more like failure and defeat.
Beyond the physical hurdles that encompass car troubles, finances, or lack thereof, there's the most crippling challenge of all...
Trying to navigate the tumultuous waves of life, whilst feeling utterly alone, might be the most daunting task I've ever attempted in my twenty-eight years.
When you begin a journey such as this, your mind and heart are filled with wanderlust, and all sorts naive notions that "saving the world" will bring forth your wildest dreams to reality, and the greatest adventures known to man.
While I have experienced some magnificent and wondrous things over the last three years, there have also been many, many bitter tears, frustrations, and even anger.
I've far passed the point where the novelty of a new life abroad has since worn off. I'm in the thick of it, the dirty, messy, hot, difficult thick.
And worst yet, I'm alone.
And while I know I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing - there are times when even that doesn't seem to be enough to keep me from slipping into these periods of frustration, isolation and depression.
I'm the type of person who bottles her emotions. I push aside my reactionary nature to remain as calm as possible in the face of most crisis. Perhaps it's learned behavior, but it has grown to the point that I rarely have emotional reactions to things that would knock most people off of their feet.
Maybe it's self preservation, but it is as if I've become somewhat desensitized to the outrageously intense experiences I have and stories I hear. Yet, the emotions that get pushed aside find their way out in the form of a total emotional collapse at the most random and unexpected times over something like a broken down vehicle.
This journey, this life I lead in Haiti, and the work I've found myself in is much like a gruesome and strenuous uphill trek on uneven, and treacherous terrain.
There are so many moments along the way where giving up seems like an actual option. Where it feels as though you cannot take one more step, and your cries and screams from the weight of it all can only be heard by the mountains and trees.
On those hikes, when every, single ounce of your strength and energy have seemed to be exhausted, is where you find your truest self. It's where you discover the depths of your soul, and realize just how far you can go.
It's when you look behind and realize how far you've come, and you cannot simply give up now. The only option is to continue, to keep pressing on and prove to yourself you're made up of a whole lot more than you ever realized.
After you've cried your bitter tears, and finally let go of the anger and pain that's been decaying in the recesses of your soul, you find the second wind. You find the will to stand up and keep going.
Slowly, you begin to admit that you've never been alone on this journey. And even though it's painfully lonely, difficult and almost too much to bear - He's been there all along.
At every point when you were ready to give up, every moment you thought He wasn't enough to give you what you needed, He hadn't gone anywhere other than right beside you.
He's been there through the tears.
The feelings of defeat from everything seeming to be caving in.
He was there.
Whispering the words that gave you what you needed to keep on...
Just keep on trying
Just keep fighting
Just keep going
Just keep surviving
Just keep walking
Just keep breathing
Just keep holding
Just keep believing
I don't expect any of this to get easier. In fact, I'm sure it's only going to grow more challenging. But, I think God is big enough to deal with my temper tantrums, my doubts, my fears and my ignorance.
I think He really is willing to hear when I question Him. I think He's able to listen when I want to know why money has to be a continuous struggle, why the car I've only had for six months is irreparable, why my desire for love has to wait, why there are moments of crippling loneliness, and why there will be countless mountains for me to climb.
He is there, and He is enough, even when I don't want to admit that He is.