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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running a non profit

10 Things I Wish I’d Known about Running a Non Profit

In my coaching sessions with missionaries and global aid workers, one of the things I find increasingly common is that most of these brave souls are also non-profit or NGO founders, like I was, trying to manage an impossible list of tasks in a developing country. They are carrying the additional burden of running an organization, responding to a Board, raising finances, hiring and training staff, and dealing with emergencies and government corruption. If you’ve ever run a non-profit you understand the stress that can accompany carrying an organization on your own two shoulders. There are the vision and strategy

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suffering

Why Missionaries Need a Theology of Suffering

“They shared an unshakeable belief in beauty, in overflow, in everythingness, the bursting, indelible beauty in a world where there is so much suffering and wounding and pain.”  –The Light of the World– Many of you know I write a lot about self care, and avoiding burnout, but I don’t want to ignore the fact that in our cross cultural work, and in life in general, suffering is inevitable. In fact, when we enter into ministry, we’re signing up to bear witness to the suffering of others. It is these two opposite poles of self-care and entering into suffering that are so

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what missionaries wish churches knew

10 Things Missionaries Wished Their Churches Knew

“Without adequate member care strategies there is little hope for the ongoing maintenance of the frontier missionary movement. More than that, these missionaries require special attention so that in the context of sacrifice and isolation, they can still reach the people they are called to.” -Kelly O’Donnell Today more and more missionaries and non profit workers on social justice missions are moving overseas to work on issues of orphan care, sex trafficking, drilling wells, and creating peace in conflict zones. We’re in the age of the International Justice Mission and the A21 campaign. We’re in a time where youth are moving to

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Re entry

What Every Missionary Needs to Know about Re-Entry

“I am a confusion of cultures. Uniquely me. I think this is good because I can understand the traveler, sojourner, foreigner, the homesickness that comes. I think this is also bad because I cannot be understood by the ordinary, mono-cultured person. They know not the real meaning of homesickness that hits me now and then. Sometimes I despair of understanding them. I am an island and a United Nations. Who can recognize either in me but God?” – Alex Graham- Three years ago, I landed awkwardly into the USA with six suitcases and $200 in my bank account and spent

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