Posts Tagged "growth"

cape town south africa

The Broken Way: What I Learned from an African Mental Hospital-I

“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

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why missionaries dont have to be superheroes

Why Missionaries Don’t Have to be Superheroes

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

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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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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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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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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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missionary compassion fatigue

What Missionaries Need to Know About Compassion Fatigue

  “The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet.” -Naomi Remen- I remember after a long, hot day in Uganda, sweat seeping through my shirt, after spending hours in the hospital with another one of the women in my community who was diagnosed with HIV, I would collapse on my bed, face tear stained, so exhausted I couldn’t think about making dinner. The reality was, those days were more typical than non typical. Over time, the

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ode to my uterus

Ode to My Uterus

Ode to My Uterus Hey old girl, I don’t know why I feel like calling you that. Maybe because in my mind you’re older, a more mature Whoopi Goldberg version of me that somehow holds the world’s wisdom. We’ve been through a lot together. We’ve been poked at and prodded, ballooned, and bruised. And all manner of things we did not think should be shoved up inside us have somehow found their way up our hoohah. Tomorrow we’ll have been through three surgeries in three years. We made life and somehow we destroyed it. And two ectopics, and a diagnosis of probable endometriosis later,

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when you feel overwhelmed

When You Feel Overwhelmed

“Beauty will redeem the world.” -Rectify, Sundance channel   The days are slipping away fast now, the leaves from the fig tree alighting to the ground, yellowed by drought, the California summer waning into fall showers. Life has been busy lately, the kind of maddening pace where your soul feels squeezed in between to do lists and commitments, when you just feel overwhelmed. What is snuffed out in that suffocating space is the ability to be contemplative, the ability to breathe in and out, and surrender the anxiousness underneath. Sometimes in these seasons we have to stop and crawl up

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9 Ways I Saved My Marriage

9 Ways I Saved My Marriage

  I’m blogging over at A Life Overseas today about the 9 Ways I Saved My Marriage. Come on over and learn the tools for saving your marriage too, especially on the mission field. Here’s a sneak preview: “We thought that love and sex would save us, and it worked for a while. But the reality is, while marriage is an intimate union of two souls growing together, it’s also hard work, and it leaves the soul rubbed raw. When we left Uganda, I wasn’t quite sure if we should even stay together. It seemed like we’d done a lot

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