Life Behind Bars

Our house

Our house

No, I’m not in jail but I am living “behind bars.” That’s the reality of life in Central America. Our house has bars on the windows, bars on the doors, steel doors, and walls around our house topped with barbed wire and razor wire. We also have a security guard on our street. I have been told that before the civil war in the 80s people didn’t live in quite such enclosed “compounds” but today everyone does. There is also a high rate of crime in El Salvador so it’s just the way houses are built, and the way this culture lives. 

A few months ago we were talking on Skype with Jon’s sister Erica and her daughters. We were sitting on our back terrace in front of our sliding door. One of our kids slid the iron barred door shut. Erica’s oldest asked us, “Are you in jail?” No, we aren’t but some days I just can’t help but feel “trapped” in my little barred -in life. I really don’t know my neighbors all that well because I can barely see over their wall. I also don’t spend much time out on the street so I rarely talk to them. It’s so different from life in the States and it’s difficult to be inside of these walls day after day. I have lately been struggling just to come to grips with my role here. Jon is out in the community everyday. He interacts with people on the “outside.” Sometimes I am very envious of his opportunity to be so involved with ministry, and entering so much into people’s lives.

I think that God is teaching me some new things about being obedient to Him. For those of you who know me, having to take a backseat, supportive role is not something that I am good at! I like to be right where the action is, I like to be a leader, I like to be doing something darn it! But lately that is not the path that God has put in front of me. The path that He has put in front of me is to study Spanish a lot, to nurture my children a lot, and to pray for the city of San Salvador a lot! It’s a struggle for me, but it’s also been an opportunity for me to draw close to God’s heart as He shows me how I can be a servant to my family.

I’m also learning that I am not any better of a person than who I am when I’m stuck “behind bars” with my kids everyday! This time has been a good time  of personal growth, but I can’t say it’s been easy! It’s actually been incredibly difficult for me so I am so grateful for those of you who pray for our family, and for me…thank you! I also know that God is in control of even this situation. I know that He is teaching me things that are needed for me to grow up in Him. I am looking hopefully for the future and the plans that He has for me in El Salvador.

7 Responses to Life Behind Bars

  1. Hi Danielle,
    It is so hard to do the “being.” I prefer the “doing”, too, so that I can check off a done on my list. During these early times, I believe that God is preparing us for the next step of what He has in mind for us.
    Your prayer support for Jon as he is “out there” is huge. You are in the thick of battle and your intercession is so important. But it can get boring, let’s face it! Try the praying in color idea. It’s a book, but the website is great for ideas, too.
    Hang in there! I love to read your blog!

  2. I can relate (though minus the bars themselves – ughh). Can’t wait to be Doing, but right now, it’s Being time for me with my kids and home, too.

    You’re in my prayers tonight!

    And I look forward to the future day when I get to read all about how God’s using your gift of sarcasm… it’s gonna be great. Maybe it just takes a lot of prayer and alone time before you can implement it effectively in Spanish??? 🙂

  3. even though I am a native, I can understand your frustration from an exterior perspective. Let me tell you I have a friend who is a foreigner here and feels exactly the way you are. She is also married (but with a Salvadorean), and pretty much her husband usually is the one who gets to work outside and she stays home doing, well you know, home stuff.

    Now, it is interesting you say God is the one who has put you in the position you are now, and the best you can do is learn Spanish as much as you can, so you can move quickly to the next position he has prepared for you.

    He knows how you feel and he cares about you, so trust in Him and wait patiently for His will.



  4. Hey Danielle–

    I really love this insight! Not that you are “suffering,” for a lack of a better word, but because it is a lesson for all of us. One of my great issues with life in the States is not taking enough time “to be.”

    Thanks for reminding me that even without the bars I have a resposibility to be before my God and Savior. I hope that you find comfort in being with Jesus.

    Lynn and I really miss you guys…so much. We need to talk because we are thinking of a visit sometime in the coming months. Love to you and the rest of your beloved family.


  5. What a great article! Thanks for being so transparent. i love hearing about what your life is like. I know God is doing a lot through you! Much more than you even know!

  6. Hey Danielle. Hopefully you can be in more of a “doing” role soon and can look back at this “being” time and think “wow, that really wasn’t that long!” Even though I’m sure it feels that way now! Love you girl!!

  7. Danielle, you do not know me, but i used to work with Jon. I follow your blog and today when I read your entry about living “behind bars” I felt it in my Heart, women clearly play a different if not more difficult role than many realize. It made me think of women and prayer,there is a book that I would like to send you called The Quodtidian Mysteries “Women’s Work”. May I? I would need your mailing address, could you send it to my email address??? Stay the course, you are a woman to be admired. Hello to Jon.

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