missionaries martyrs

Why God Doesn’t Need Missionaries to be Martyrs Part II

This is part II of Why God Doesn’t Need Missionaries to be Martyrs. In the first part I talked about how God is not the author of our suffering. This doesn’t mean I believe suffering doesn’t have a role to play in our lives. I’ve written about how desperately we need a theology of suffering. But being a martyr as an act of devotion to God, and acting like a martyr because you think you have to, are two totally different things. Through my time living in Mozambique and Uganda, I learned as Christians and as missionaries we are called to enter into

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missionaries martyrs

Why God Doesn’t Need Missionaries to be Martyrs Part I

You don’t have to sacrifice your spirit, your joy, your soul, your family, your marriage on the altar of your ministry. –Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect– I feel I’ve been learning lessons like this alongside Shauna these last four years. This book is wrecking me lately because it’s story I’ve been writing myself. Why God Doesn’t Need Missionaries to be Martyrs is a subject I’ve been wrestling through since I first went into missions over 10 years ago. I wrestled through it in Heidi Baker’s Iris school, I wrestled with it living in a difficult region of Uganda, and I’m confronted with it on

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paying attention

How the Art of Paying Attention Heals Us

I’ve been ruminating recently on the idea that there must be a secret that can get us through hard times. There must be a secret to healing along the way as we pick up wounds in our daily living so they don’t pile high inside us. I’ve been looking for ways beyond the obvious practices, the things we know we should do, that cause us to find peace, to see the face of God, to grow. I’ve been meditating on a phrase I read recently from The Artists Way: “Our quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity

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dangers of barbie savior

The Danger of Being a Barbie Savior

We’ve all been there. Our very first missions trip probably looked a lot like us taking a million selfies with African babies, or handing out soccer balls at an orphanage. Fifteen years ago, I was just as guilty. My first trip as a 19 year old resembled this and that makes me sad. But growth is about learning from our mistakes and parlaying that into positive change. In recent years, a parody Instagram account called Barbie Savior that started as a joke has gone viral. It depicts all the things that are wrong with “voluntourism” overseas. If you haven’t seen it,

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when you have to release control

When You Have to Release Control

Surrender. It seems too delicate a word for me to understand, the syllables lilting off my tongue like failure, like giving up. Surrender seems cowardly, a tiny white flag of acquiescence. The signal that a battle is done. I’ve never been one to release control lightly. I’ve always been a fighter. I’ve always fought for what’s important to me: justice, love, friendships, forgiveness, even for my peace. But on this June day the tufts of dandelion’s wings floating on the breeze in my backyard, their fluffed fairy dance, looking for a place to land, I am trying to remember how. Actually,

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Adrenal Fatigue Missionaries

What Missionaries Need to Know about Adrenal Fatigue

One of the things we don’t talk about too often on the mission field is our bodies. Ok, we think about them all the time, like “Is Africa making me fat?” or “Do I have a tapeworm?” or “I wonder what kept me up on the toilet all night long.” But rarely as missionaries do we have a high value for taking care of our bodies because we’re too busy taking care of everyone else. Some people overseas seem to feel they earn gold stars based on how much abuse they’ve inflicted on their bodies to “sacrifice” for the cause. We say things

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should christians choose ivf

Should Christians Choose IVF?

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been obsessed with “doing the right thing.” I wanted black and white, straight lines to divide the world because I wanted to be perfect and having rules meant knowing I was on the correct path. When it came to infertility and the subject of IVF, I wanted someone to tell me what to do, but all I found in my research was half baked answers, guilt, and confusion. In this area, we have little guidance, other than God’s spirit and our own intuition. That can be frustrating. But more and more in my

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Anxiety

How to Let Go of Anxiety

Around here lately, things have been tough. One of those weeks where you can feel like you’re losing your mind. I used to be afraid to say that, because aren’t I supposed to have it all together? But it was a PMS emotional migraine, sad I had to move San Francisco and leave all my friends behind, will I ever have any friends, my dog is sick, my bills are mounting, infertility sucks, am I going crazy or am I just depressed, shitty (sorry, but let’s get real) type weeks. I had to take my dog RosieTheChippin to the vet hospital

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missionaries depression

The Truth About Missionaries and Depression

On a particular Monday in Uganda, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I wanted to throw a shoe at the rooster’s head. I wondered if people would notice if the metal workshop worker who was clanging across the street suddenly went missing. I wanted to buy a box of Franzia wine, watch re-runs of The Sopranos, and eat day old pasta. I didn’t want to wage war with the mice in my kitchen anymore. I just wanted to stay indoors with the fan running a little while longer. I didn’t want to face the heat or the endless sea

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missionary guilt

Letting Go of the Missionary Guilt Complex

I had been living in Uganda for five years when I first started putting a self care plan in place. I was late to the draw, but even a little bit helped to ward off compassion fatigue and burnout. That particular morning, I’d decided to go into the office two hours later than normal so I could lie on my yoga mat and soak in the worship crooning from my computer. It was part of a practice I’d begun to clear my mind and hear from the Lord without having all the demands of so many faces and their interruptions crowding

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