What to do with all this longing? All of us are longing for something. We’re longing for a husband, we’re aching to have children, we’re aching for the ones we lost, we’re longing to be seen and known by our friends, to feel successful, we’re longing to feel like we’ve finally “made it.” (Whatever that means.) We’re longing for justice. There’s a man in Syria in an IDP camp who is longing to feed his family, who is longing for his homeland. When I think about him, my problems pale in comparison. He convicts me with his hope. But still. Pain
This year is six years, six years since we lost our first baby, six years since the toilet clotted blood. Last week was National Infertility Awareness Week and it pulls me back to the memories like my eyes to the scene of a car crash. I can see myself on the floor. Praying. Begging. Being willing to do anything not to lose him. What kinds of bargains we try and make with God in those moments. I don’t know if it was a him, but I imagine it so. So many times I blamed myself. Shouldn’t have been working so hard.
“Why are we afraid of broken things? What if the abundance of communion is only found there in the brokenness of suffering–because suffering is where God lives? Suffering is where God gives the most healing intimacy.” -Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way- Sunset in Cape Town is like a world set on fire. The pinks and red hues dipped into the Atlantic Ocean in furious delight. The waves crashed loud and the marshy, sea salt spray filled my nostrils. Behind me, a rock called Lion’s Head because of the shape of it, and the way it drapes its mountainous body around
Trauma and loss happen to us all. Suffering is a part of life. But sometimes things occur and we don’t know or recognize it as trauma, or as something to be grieved. So we go on living, and eventually these traumas pile high inside us like dirty laundry and the burden begins to take its toll. The scary part about grief/trauma is that eventually it can escalate into cumulative grief which is built up grief after multiple losses which occur on a regular basis or within a short period of time. Think of a physical injury like a broken bone which is re-injured, making the pain more
Recently, I went back home to visit my family in Virginia. There’s nothing quite like your family to bring out all your crazy. They know I love them to pieces, but for some reason when I’m around them I go into “fixing mode” nitpicking and criticizing about different behaviors and commenting on things that could be changed. (I’m sorry family!) Family is a pressure cooker that brings all your impurities to the surface. Maybe I’m trying to make up for months of not having as much influence in their lives because I don’t live close. Maybe I’m still working out this
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
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
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
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
“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
Writer. Missionary Coach. Recovering perfectionist. I want you to know that you are loved and already good enough. I am about helping people move from brokenness into wholeness. Together, we'll make a more beautiful world.
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