Simple Truths with Lasting Impact

Five Minute Friday: TRUTH

I am really going against everything inside of me and writing a Five Minute Friday post on a Monday. Such is my life at the moment, it seems. Nothing happening quite on schedule, but I am coming to grips with this new norm. Deep breaths…

The Bible is truth.
God is holy.
There’s no one like Him.
Jesus was the only perfect man.

At the beginning of our church planting work, we are teaching simple truths in simple language. Rather, I am mostly listening and learning right along with new believers, some returning to the faith, and others who are still seeking as my husband does all the studying and teaching. I have so enjoyed hearing the truth of God’s Word in very basic, digestible forms. This man of mine truly is brilliant at breaking down the stories included in the pages of the Old Book and making them relevant to this time in this culture that is still new and unusual to us.

Nothing is necessarily ground breaking or world changing in and of itself, or at least, it wouldn’t seem to be. BUT things are changing. Slowly, hearts are softening. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the evidence of truth touching hearts and changing minds that had long been made up towards another end. I get to watch this. I get to be involved in it! But mostly, I just stand back.

Amazed.

Momming Makes me a Better Minister of the Gospel

Five Minute Friday: MOM

I’m a wife. I’m a missionary. I’m an expat. I’m a language learner. I’m a home maker and round-the-clock short order cook. I’m a friend, sister, daughter managing long term relationships. Sometimes, I’m a writer, but I haven’t done much of that work lately. I play many roles and wear lots of hats. I juggle too many things and try to excel at all of them. But there’s one job, one role that seems to supersede the rest: MOM.

It’s certainly the most demanding. The work entailed by these other job titles ebbs and flows. Some days, that work doesn’t get done, and not much changes. But from the moment my eyes open to the time I FINALLY crash into bed, I do the work of “mom.” Mom gets juice and kisses boo-boos and doles out discipline when necessary. Mom helps with homework, ties shoes, and answers calls from the bottom of the stairs where a toddler is too tired to climb. There are days when I want to call in sick or take a mental health day but moms are not afforded that luxury.

Compared to some of my other duties, sometimes “momming” feels like lesser work. Potty training is certainly less glamorous than being at the forefront of a gospel revival. There’s a reason these things don’t get covered in our monthly prayer letter. But this calling, which sometimes appears to be a distraction from the greater work, is part of this great work. It’s the part that refines me the most. It’s the part that points out the dark places where sin resides and controls, morphing my best intentions into resentment embodied in half-hearted helpings of cereal for dinner. In both the mundane and mentally taxing moments of motherhood, Jesus teaches me about Himself. The more I know about Him, the more I can share of His goodness in my home and out and about.

IF we ever make it out.

Taxi Cab Confessions: What is Easter, anyway?

I sat in the backseat of a taxi with my two small children this past week in route to the Fun Park to run them out in hopes that they would succumb to the afternoon nap and I could, consequently, have a few sweet minutes of peace to myself. That plan only succeeded in the case of one child. He’s the one who keeps me either chasing him or cleaning up his messes all day, so I was thrilled, but the one who stayed awake so sweetly asked me to exercise with her. She is a total slave driver, so my dreams of sipping coffee and reading crashed somewhere between cardio boot camp 1 and 2.

Back to the taxi. Sweating as I attempted to keep my squirmy worms on their bottoms with hands off all that does not belong to them, I attempted to keep up my end of the conversation with our courier. He asked the general questions. “Where are you from? What are you doing here? What do you do for work?” as well as the other less common but still frequent, “Why do you like Nepal? Do you not like to live in America?” In other words, “What’s wrong with you?” I love this because it’s a wide open door for me to share the gospel. “Well, I’m glad you asked because my husband is a preacher! He teaches the Bible. Do you know what the Bible is?”

Bumping along the roads of Kathmandu, this conversation, though incessantly interrupted, carried on. I found out he lived in the area of our church plant, and I invited him to come to our Easter service where we would be talking about Jesus’ death and resurrection. I’m not sure why I was shocked that He had never heard of Easter. It is not a holiday that is widely celebrated here. You don’t even see Easter eggs or bunnies no matter how hard you look (unless you count the bunnies at the pet shop my children make me stop to see EVERY DAY).

This is the reality of many around the world. Not a hardened heart to the gospel message (though that is the case for many and most) but a total ignorance of the message of the Cross. And not a blissful ignorance, either. There is an innate sense of our wrongness. No matter how much we are taught the message that man is inherently good or capable of doing great things, ultimately we know that there is sin and darkness inside and something needs to be done about it. So we work and do good the best we know how, but that sense doesn’t go away. It keeps us up at night. It keeps us restless, searching for a peace to replace the hopelessness that comes with the reality of our total inability to remedy our despicable state.

He told me that he is unhappy. That he does not like living in his home country and is disappointed in the current status of his place of dwelling and its inhabitants. He thought the answer might lie in the bustling streets of Delhi or the heaven he has heard of since his youth: America (oh, and by the way, could I help him get there?). I shared with him that I have traveled to many places and lived in a few. I’ve seen problems all over the world because every man is a sinner. I told him that America is a pretty terrible place, and though I love it as my home, I see its flaws in plain view. He didn’t believe me.

He didn’t come to church on Easter either. I hope he will come some day. I pray that his eyes and ears will be open to hear the truth that’s hard to face: he is the problem. I had to reckon with that a long time ago (and I am reminded of it at least daily). I pray that he will realize that though the specific sin that resides within is thirty-something years old, this standard sickness has been around since the beginning. But, praise God, the solution has been around even longer.

I’m not sure I’ll recognize him if he finds his way to darken the doors of our church. I only saw the back of his head and his curious brown eyes observing me in his rearview mirror. I wished him a happy new year (it’s 2074 here, you guys!) and did my best to keep a hold on both my kiddos as they bounded off to Zippy Playland with my dreams of a lazy afternoon still in tact.

 

 

 

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,