I’ve always been an overly responsible person. As a child, I used to help take care of my sisters, I had a steady babysitting job at the age of 11, and had donned a purple Burger King hat by the time I was 15. I was the good girl, the responsible girl and that’s where I received my praise and value. I’m not sure if any of my early jobs were completely legal, but work ethic and the idea that you need to be a responsible person who is beholden to other people is something that was bred in me.
“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
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
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
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
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
“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
“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
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.