Abandoning My Comfort Zone

Five Minute Friday: ABANDON

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Possibly, now, more than ever, I feel as though I’m living with abandon. I’ve left the comforts of home and the closeness of friends and family to, prayerfully, see a gospel movement on the side of the world I now inhabit. This great dream I share with my church-planter-husband requires me to not just step out of my comfort zone, as this implies I could hop back in. Rather, commitment to foreign church planting demands a total abandonment of my comfort zone. Aside from dark chocolate on the couch or the warm embraces from my tribe of three, my comfort zone, for now, ceases to exist. Because, like it or not, I’m eaten up with this thing.

So I walk in the most comfortable shoes I own, which turn out not to be as airy as advertised, giving invitations to church along with an invitation for criticism and rejection. Either of these is not only possible but likely. As I get swept up in the going and doing, and telling and showing coupled with stress and sleeplessness, it’s also possible I’ll forget the why all this is worth it. I’ll need reminding, and I hope I can count on you.

It’s Jesus. The groom we’re waiting for. And it’s the greatest privilege of my life to ready His bride. It is my prayer, above all, I won’t forget Him, my first love, as some zealots have been said to have done. I hope, instead, I’ll be faithful, though I cringe, as I cross the threshold of my comfort zone. Living with abandon, I’ll cling only to the One who will never abandon me.

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Also, for those who don’t follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I will share with you now that we are relocating as a family to be closer to our church plant (which will be up and running in 3 weeks! EEEEK!). I know that the truths I’m learning and have shared with you above will be put to the test more than ever over the next few months. I appreciate your friendship and your prayers for our family and ministry. The fears and obstacles are great, but our God is greater.

A Letter to 17 Year Old Me

As I approach my 27th birthday, I look back on the last ten years and marvel over all I have learned and how I have grown. My 27 year-old-self looks just about nothing like the youth of years past, and not just because I have 3 babies under my belt and the stretch marks that come with them. I have changed because God has been gracious to work His way in my life beyond any dream I had ever conjured in the days I scribbled names in notebooks and browsed the internet for potential careers.

I’ve matured, married (quit college), and become a mom and missionary. But mostly, I’ve been molded by the hands that created me which so graciously continue their work on me. In the bending, in the being re-made again and again, I’ve learned a few things. If I could go back and give my teeny bopper self (you can say things like that when you’re my age, y’know) some words of wisdom, I have a few things I would say. I hope you’ll be touched and challenged by this “Letter to My-17-Year-Old-Self.” Please share it with a young gal you know who might benefit from this perspective!

Dear Young(er) Me,

I’m writing you from ten years down the road you’re walking now. Life hasn’t been easy but it has been blessed. I write you this to encourage you to keep the faith and following God. I have some things I want to share with you. I know I can’t change anything but maybe some looker on will see some wisdom in these simple lessons.

Make plans, but only tentatively, knowing the Lord will likely change them. I promise, you’ll be glad He did. Make progress and strive for change, but allow God to do the heavy lifting. You have big dreams in your heart, but they’re too big for you. Even when the dreams are good and the work is fulfilling, they’re heavy and can be a burden. You need Jesus. As much as you want to, you can’t do everything and you sure can’t save the world. Thankfully, He’s already done that job.

Devote yourself, first, to God before any other relationships or commitments. Trust God to build your tribe, adding and taking as He sees fit for your personal growth and peripheral influence. Know that devotion to Christ, though admirable, is not always inclusive and inviting to those that prefer to remain on the fringes. It’s OK to be weird or a little radical in your pursuit of God, though you may lose some friends along the way. God will bring the people into your life that will encourage and build you up as you seek to please Him. And the seasons in between, you will learn of the sweetness and love of Christ in a way you would never have otherwise. And you’ll be thankful for these times that left you vulnerable and aching for the Vine.

Continue reading at Where My Heart Goes

Thanks for reading,

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Busy + my word for 2017!

Busy Times

“Busy” just doesn’t describe the whirlwind that has been my life since arriving in the US. We’ve been busy with good things: visiting family and friends, teaching the Bible, allowing our kids to experience some fun “American” things, presenting the need at churches new and old, fundraising for Camp Refuge, and sharing about all that God has done in our lives over the past two years. But busy is still busy. And, sometimes, busy steals my joy. When my joy is taken from my hands, I see the good things in a warped way. Distorted images of the good things coupled with whispers from the Enemy about how things should be or how I am supposed to feel twist the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart into something I don’t recognize and don’t wish to claim. And, certainly, something that is not pleasing or acceptable in the sight of God.

But all the same, He has met me here in the busy and among towering grocery displays where I’m overwhelmed by choices and the confrontation with all the things I don’t have but think I may need. He’s met me in the awkward moments chatting with a long-lost friend to whom I’m explaining the complexities of my foreign life and finally realizing how alone I felt over there. He’s met me while turning prune-y in the tub, listening via headphones to a stranger read the Bible aloud because I just can’t keep my eyes open or focus long enough to let the word of God soak into my heart any other way.

I may be exhausted, but I am refreshed by the truth that God is not exhausted by me. He is not observing my head-spinning behaviors amid a seam-split schedule and shaking His head. When I turn my eyes away from the crazy and to Him, He doesn’t ask why it took me so long. He welcomes me back with a smile, and, though I feel a gentle conviction for neglecting my time with Him, there’s only peace and love where I thought there might be guilt and shame. But then I remember, that’s just not like Him.

My Word for 2017

The word I’ve chosen for 2017 is expand, and though it would certainly be relevant, I’m not just referring to my dress size since dwelling in the land of donuts and drive-thrus. I want to expand my knowledge and view of God. I desperately want to know Him more and grasp even the most basic understanding of His heart for me and for the world. I want to expand the reaches of my tiny tribe and the testimony of these lives changed by the hand of the Lord. I want to see the gospel reach into the streets of Kapan, Kathmandu and see families changed by the Gospel. I want to see the family of God expand day after busy day and week after weary week. I can trust He will be faithful to meet me there in desires met and others unfulfilled, ever expanding my love for Him as I consider His quiet and powerful ways of winning my heart. He may never be as demanding as a scribbled-over calendar with names and dates and tasks to be done. But in the going and the doing, I sense His presence. Without guilt and shame, I’ll turn my heart to Him again and see all the ways He’s shown Himself to me when I was too busy to notice.

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, (Ephesians 1:17-19).

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Moments of Hope @ LoriSchumaker.com, Monday’s Musings @ What Joy is Mine, Glimpses Linkup @ Embracing Every Day, Literacy Musing Monday’s @ Mary-andering Creatively, Tuesday Talk @ Sweet Little Ones, RaRaLinkup @ Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story @ Jennifer Dukes Lee, Mommy Moments Blog Hop @ Life of Faith,

Give the Gift of Purposeful Presence this Holiday Season

Five Minute Friday: NOW

Maybe it’s the recurring question when I encounter someone here in America that wasn’t expecting to see me wandering the aisles of Walmart or the halls of my home church. “When are you going back?” And part of me, though in no way does this make any sense, is surprised at the inquiry. I think, didn’t I just get here?

I’m constantly recounting memories made in Kathmandu and sharing them with the lovely people who have supported us prayerfully and financially during our absence. When I’m not looking back, I am speaking of future plans and hopeful ambitions. They are wished in the silent, stirred places of the soul that dream big and hope only in the mighty hands of Jesus to bring any of it to pass.

Glancing back and looking forward, I see all the great things the Lord has done and that I trust Him to do. But I also sense there’s something I’m missing in the now as I break my neck to glimpse the past and prayerfully gaze into the future.

In the now…My babies need me in the whiplash of cultural transition. It seems like typical nursery tantrums but I know it’s so much more.
In the now… I have friends who have gone through the unimaginable. Their hugs are tighter and their eyes more misty. I’ve been gone so long and missed so much. I haven’t been there for them, but I’m here now.
In the now… The pieces that were broken in our pulling away can be mended by purposeful presence.
In the now… are endless opportunities for ministry during a season where many look for the hope of this world.
In the now…. my daughter endlessly questions me about this holy thing, baby Jesus. What better time to tell her the greatest story ever told! Again and again and again.

In the now.…Jesus lives inside of me. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. Just like those times I’ve seen Him work on the other side of oceans, He wants to work in and through me today. He has special blessings in store for the now. But when I’m looking forward and backward and all around at any place or time but the here and now, I miss them.

I really don’t want to miss them. 

 

4 Purposeful Ways of Living in Transition [Rachel Bennett]

This post was originally featured as a guest post for Rachel Bennett at Love God, Live on Purpose. Even now, I am referring back to these truths as a guide during this time of transition back to America for a while. I hope these words, though simple, will bless and encourage you during whatever season you find yourself in. 

 


Even the word gives me a feeling of uneasiness. Transition has been almost a constant feature of the last few years of my life. We moved shortly after marriage, got new jobs and started training for ministry. We had a newborn babe thrown into the mix of constant traveling, fundraising for a country which would eventually deny us a visa. Consequently, we changed fields, made our international move, started language school and were met by a whole host of challenges.

In the better part of my adult life, I’ve felt unsettled. I vaguely remember a sense of security before where I, at least, felt like I had some kind of idea of what each day would hold and a general picture of what the future may have looked like. I’ve learned that even in these times of perceived security, a sudden event can instantly lurch me into a new season of life. The whiplash of such change is unwelcome and uncomfortable, however, these times of transition have proven to be catalysts for needed change in my life. I can’t always sense God’s hand at work in each moment, but I can see it clearly as I look back on all that He was brought to pass.

I don’t know what transition you may find yourself stuck in today. You may be between jobs, on the verge of a move, or encountering major change within your church or family. I’ve learned a lot during my seasons of unsettledness. I’d like to share with you 4 ways to live on purpose in times of transition, all of which can be found in Proverbs 4:23-27.

Guard your Heart
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
In times of transition, we must be careful what we allow to enter into our hearts and minds. We must be faithful to fill ourselves with the truths of God’s word so that when the hard edges of change scrape us down to our bare bones, we are grounded in godly wisdom. We take a break from the things and the people who fuel our negativity and hinder our service for God in the midst of change.

Cut Out Complaining
Put away from thee a forward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
In times of transition, we must be mindful of the words that escape our lips. These words come from the hard places of the heart but can take on a life of their own once released, bringing destruction on ourselves and our loved ones.

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Keep your eyes on the prize
Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
We must resist the temptation to compare our situations to the plight of others. There will always be someone who seems to have it better or worse than us. These glimpses into the lives of others are more accessible than ever and can leave us feeling either prideful or envious. We must trust that God is working uniquely within us and in the midst of our transition. We must not be distracted by lesser goals than pursuing Christ wholly with our lives. We remember our calling and press on to the prize. The prize is grand; it’s Jesus.

Make Progress Cautiously
Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.
As we seek to move forward, we must measure all ambitions and decisions on the sure scale of Scripture. The Lord will never lead us to do that which conflicts with His will laid out for His children in the Bible. We must consider both the personal and peripheral repercussions of our decisions and how we might best glorify God with the opportunities given to us. We can move forward steadily but cautiously, trusting God to guide as we go.
In times of transition, we trust and wait for God to move towards positive change in our lives, for the greater good, and for His glory. Waiting is the hardest part, but there is purpose in the waiting.

As followers of Christ, we must steward the opportunity to serve Him in periods of uncertainty and change. Though our knees may wobble and our faith waver, we have an unfailing confidence in the person of Jesus Christ. No matter how long we wait and whatever the outcome, we know who is the Savior of our story and who wields the tools of change.

We find Him at the center of transition, and He meets us, at the end, too. Somewhere along the way, we find ourselves. Not surprisingly, and to our benefit, we find that we’ve changed.

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