Monday, November 26, 2012

on bitching less and listening more

So, how's that working for me? well....

...time passes at the same rate.
...I have discovered that I am more courageous than I thought.
...I have overcome fears that otherwise would have paralyzed me.
...And not everyone can do what God has empowered me to do...not that I'm special but I have found that in obedience, there's a certain element of humble strength---of knowing and doing and doing the unknown.

Knowing and doing and doing the unknown. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

painting pretty pictures

We've been here two months, ONLY TWO MONTHS; and I am miserable. Everything is hard. I have only two friends; I need dozens more.  I am very tired of this culture.  Everything here---yes! EVERYTHING is done half-ass. Everything needs to be fixed.  EVEN BRAND NEW FURNITURE NEEDS TO BE FIXED!!  I hate hauling water! I hate not having what I need to bake! I hate improvising for measuring cups---the cookies never come out right!  I can not understand how anyone can think THIS life is so exciting and fulfilling??

Not so pretty, eh? Kind of ugly, actually.

Ugly colors make ugly pictures. So here I am, a missionary---with the responsibility to communicate back to the church on how God is working.  But, truth be told, I think it's more like helping the church feel good about supporting us. Ya see, during our previous missionary travels, I publicly shared my personal struggles---honestly, openly, and without filters. So many from over 20 other supporting churches expressed sincere appreciation for my true colors, which, of course, encouraged me to keep sharing.  However, after being confronted by our church leadership about my not so pretty depictions of life on the mission field, I realized they preferred a lighter shade of my true colors---don't change them, just lighten it up. The message I got: Paint pretty pictures with not so pretty colors.

So that's it...people want to feel good about supporting missionaries.  Why of course! And pretty pictures feel good.  It's so missionary-like to write and express about the wonderment of living on the mission field, the great work being done in the name of Christ, and the utter satisfaction of living a life set apart. The irony is that every missionary knows that this is not the real story. But it's the story my church leadership wants to hear--oh, let a touch pity be seen, but if the missionary's experience is too ugly, or too hard, or too sad, or too whatever, then it must not be from God.  Surely, God's will is 'happily ever after.'  What a pip!

And since I mentioned God's will---could it be that God's will is wherever we find ourselves, regardless of our personal comfort or present state of mind? Is not God's will to be with us? Sometimes life just ain't pretty...even when we are walking humbly with God in faithful obedience. Sometimes the journey is just hard, ugly, sad, and utterly lonely.

Sometimes there's just nothing pretty to paint.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

life on the other side

Here we as missionaries again.  I can't help but wonder how I ever got here.  I mean, I am not a nice person.  I struggle with so much; hatred, jealousy, lust, envy.  The list is endless.  And yet, for whatever reason, God has offered me this incredible opportunity (again) to bring the love and light of God to many hurting and hungry people.  He has given me a ministry to serve His Church.  

It's such an honor to be 'called' to serve the Kingdom....and to actually GO.  To actually TRUST God and watch in awe as He meets all our needs through His good and generous people.  But even more than that, it's been wonderful to find that people are actually good.  God's people are kind and tender.  For so long I have feared them.  And now, on the other side, I can only the goodness.

How gracious of God to give me another chance to show my deep love for His Church.  I just hope I don't screw it up.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

everything's different

This time it's different.  The transition, the feelings, the expectation.  I am learning to love the ones I'm with and be present with God.  And I'm learning new things about God. I feel as if my eyes have been opened and I'm gaining new insights, new understandings about the world around me and how I am to live in it.

Pretty cool.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

and we're off...

God gave us favor, once again.  We have left well this time.  Despite the tears and sorrow, there were many laughs and good times remembered.  It was a good departure.

At the house, it was sweet, sweet sorrow.  Tears and hugs clung tight.  

At the airport, we were graced with favor again.  There seems to be a good feeling in the air, a good Spirit all around us.  New and old friends, family, and the son my our best friend came to help.  It was a  rather motley crew but ever so precious. 

And now it time to sit and wait.  I love this part best; all the work is done and we wait for our flight.  It's a kind of 'pause.'  I like to pause. 

...until we're off again. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

how bad is bad?

Just wondering....I mean, I have been having some fun and letting my hair down. But I can't help but wonder if I am being bad.  God, I want to be a child that brings joy and love and happiness to all I meet.  So why do I feel bad about that?  And then I question, how bad is bad? Where is the line?  It seems I knew it so well one time and now it isn't so clear. 

What happened?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

on saying good-bye

Have you ever thought about the different kinds of good-byes?  Different good-byes for different occasions, different people.  Some good-byes are just for around town, a sort of 'see you later.'  But other good-byes are more like the kind that aren't really spoken, they're only felt; a kind of 'good riddens.'  And then there are those that are rip the heart right out of the chest.  The good-bye that's at the end of times as we know it; when we hoist our sails to head out in a new direction or step out of our boats altogether.  The kind that separates families and friends with distance and time.

This season of separation is upon me now; it's the end of times as I know them.  However, as the Lord would have it, I will also be saying yet a different kind of good-bye to a dear friend and special family members.  I will leave them behind sick.  I will most likely not see them again on this side of heaven.  This is most unsettling; these very last good-byes are the most soul searching.

It puts all the other good-byes into perspective.