Posts Tagged "suffering"

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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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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recover from burnout

How to Recover from Burnout

“We don’t have to buy into the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success.” -Arianna Huffington, Thrive I’ve been humbled overwhelming response around my recent article, What I Wish I’d Known About Missionary Burnout. After sifting through numerous comments and emails, my heart ached with a common thread: The voices of so many of you rising up, bravely admitting to yourselves that you might already be burned out and asking what you should do next. It’s been two and a half years and I still feel like I’m answering this question. The good news is, you’ve taken

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What If There is Meaning in Suffering?

  “We seek our identities in the wake of painful experiences. We can endure great pain if we believe it is purposeful.”   -Andrew Solomon- When we don’t get what we want, it throws our life into a certain amount of chaos. There is a deep desire to control, to force the world to bend to my will. But what if there is meaning in this suffering and like peeking over into a walled garden, perhaps I can discover a secret?   I’ve been trying to get pregnant for over 11 months now. There are a myriad of reasons why this

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Why I Quit My Life (And Started Over)

Last year, I didn’t have any resolutions.  After the devastating loss of my first pregnancy, saying goodbye to my Ugandan home, my dream, and the day to day management of the non-profit I’d built over the last seven years, to move from Africa to America, I think my resolution was merely “to survive.” I did this with an acute sense of lostness and an oozing red eye from pneumonia which I proceeded to get a week after leaving the Tropics. But I did choose a “theme” for the year. 2013 was the “year of health.” It was my goal to

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When You Lose Your Whole World

  It feels like the inside of me is being wrung out like a wet towel which no longer holds water. I wanted my first blog back in the States to be full of stories from the vacation we’ve been meaning to take for 3 years, or the crazy adventures of seeing family and friends we’ve missed so much, or a blog on rest, and how I was getting it. All the many testimonies of God’s faithfulness to us in Uganda over the last six months. This is not a story about that. It might get too real and too

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How to Go Through the Fire

  Give thanks for the morning sunrise I am well enough to see. Give thanks for the husband still warm in bed, his arm over his head in dreams. Some days we give thanks because we don’t know what else to do. Because if we truly look we can see the gems shimmering through the mud and the mess. I slip out into the cool of the morning before the day’s heat drenches my shirt, and give thanks for that breeze and early stillness. The doc says I have malaria/and/or food poisoning which is less than reassuring with all the

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How to Become a Daughter

              The new year finds me open and receiving, resting in these arms that long to carry me that I always seem to push away. After all the clutching and striving. After all the cement stained floors cradling a thousand tears, I let him hold me. I let God love me back to life. I get off the crazed swirling monotony of days and empty hands and babies and dirt and sweat. Because Uganda, while I love it, takes my little heart and rubs it raw. Too busy to tend it; I falter. I

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Dreaming new dreams

It’s amazing how much things can change in a few days. When I first got here, I admit I had a bit of an attitude about it all. The food, the heat, it not being Uganda, its my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to, blah blah blah. But the power of God to change a heart is pretty incredible. Last night I fell a little in love with Mozambique. Sitting up on the prayer hill with the Indian Ocean wind playing with my hair as I stared at the stars extending horizon to horizon. The sounds of the

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