Earth-shaken, Fire-forged Love

Is it too late for a mushy-gushy post? It’s my blog and I do what I want to.

Valentine’s Day has had me reflecting on the love the Lord has so generously blessed me with. First and foremost the unmatched love of Christ in my life is beyond compare to any temporal love that could be shown to me this side of heaven. That, in and of itself, is a totally and completely WORLD-ROCKING concept when I consider how abundantly full my life is in the L-O-V-E department.

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See what I mean?

The mission field has changed me. It has changed my husband. It has changed our marriage. It has changed our love. Our love may not of the Hallmark red-pink splattered fuzzy hearted type, but it is a lot of things less glamorous…but better.

Our love is shoulder-to-shoulder language learning, one of the hardest and most humbling experiences of our lives to date.

It is waking up to an earthquake and falling asleep again feeling safe in his arms.

Long walks stumbling around fallen bricks and our fears for our children growing up in this strange place.

Being led across the busy streets of Kathmandu in complete trust of the man that guides me.

It is sitting at our farmhouse table morning after morning, sipping our hot water (yeah, we quit coffee…and I don’t want to talk about it) and reading the word of God in a language that lights it all up for us.

Our love is my man sneaking out to the laundry room to start a load in the middle of the night while we are graced with power.

Snuggles that start solely for warmth. Cooking love-laced goodies on hot plates. Falling asleep on his shoulder on our millionth taxi ride. Walks with our daughter showing us her “secret places” she is unaware are public knowledge. Sharing our bed with a handsome little man who refused to sleep for the first year of his life. Rushing around in supermarket sweep style a few times a month. Squeezed-in cheesecake dates into our busting-at-the-seams schedule. Crashing into our bed at 8 o’clock after long days and waking up in groans and shared contempt for mornings.

It is joys, hardships, and countless stolen moments of peace among the crazy. The hug that chauffeurs me somewhere else. The kiss that takes away the stress if only for a moment. Romance is something I don’t remember much. But that’s not to say I don’t know love. I know it well. Maybe better than most.

  

I know our love. And I wouldn’t trade it for the love that storybooks and movies are made of. It has been forged in an on-going war to win the world. And it sure sounds romantic when you put it that way, doesn’t it?

And to think…Christ loves me MORE. And this ain’t a fairytale! It’s good and TRUE news our love weathers this place to share.

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Tell me about your earth-shaken, fire-forged love!
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Friday: All About My MKs

Seems like all anyone ever wants to talk to me about anymore is my kids! I kinda love that about growing up since I’m not too fascinating but I could talk about my sweet and crazy toddlers all day long! Pull up a seat and grab your coffee…we might be here a while!

This is Jolynn.

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This picture sums her up pretty well. She is always running around pulling stuff out, changing her identity (actual quote: “I not Jolynn… I Batman!”), and causing all kinds of trouble. She is a real firecracker but is pretty go with the flow when it comes to change (major life changes anyway- I wouldn’t suggest giving her peanut butter when she thinks she’s getting Nutella).

Life in Nepal- She settled into Nepal life well, has never made a fuss about us leaving her to go to language school, and has never seemed phased by having a nanny that only speaks Nepali to her.
Language- She understands A LOT of Nepali and follows any and all commands given to her but generally responds in English. She is starting to say phrases like, “Where is this?” “I am fine,”  “I am hungry,” etc. and the bossy gal has perfected, “Don’t do that, little brother!”
Food- She pretty much detests any food that is not PB&J or apples, so she hasn’t branched out into trying any real Nepali food. She will eat wai-wai which is a Nepali staple here similar to Ramen noodles, but she only eats them dry. She just doesn’t know how good they are the real way! YUM!
Social Life-She is not currently enrolled in school but we are exploring that option for her as she will be turning 4 in just 10 days! In our neighborhood, there aren’t any children her age and at times she seems to struggle with boredom and a lack of social interaction. We are praying for a little Nepali friend for her!

This is Shepherd. And no, he doesn’t have any sheep, but we know where to get him some. He’s kinda spoiled like that…

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He might as well be Nepali and everyone around here says as much. We moved here when he was 3 months old so I guess this is all just normal life to this little man!

Life in Nepal- He spends more time immersed in Nepali than English and, much to my dismay, often spends more time with his Nepali momma while his mommy learns this language! I sometimes think he might be surprised when he looks in the mirror and may even wonder who that little white boy is!
Language-Sometimes, when I can’t get him to obey, I say my command in Nepali and get an immediate response! Makes me feel bad for any discipline I may have given out unnecessarily! Oops! He hasn’t started talking yet, but I suspect when he does it will be a mash-up between Nepali and English…Nepalglish???
Food- He’ll pretty much eat anything that slightly resembles food but he does seem to prefer Nepali food (lentils, rice, and all kinds of veggies) and even likes it all a little on the spicy side! He enjoys carrying in the fresh-delivered milk, sweeping with the Nepali style broom, and throws a royal fit when we come in from outside, when his Nepali mommy leaves, and when his Masala Tea runs out!
Social Life- He doesn’t have one, but what one year old does? His sister drives him crazy, and he is a total momma’s boy (Nepali mommy or me…whoever is here!). He can usually be found on one of our hips trying to get a sneak of what’s cooking and will form a special bond with anyone who will sneak him some.

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I remember on the plane coming here, I looked at my sleeping babes and wept over their total oblivion to what was about to happen, to how their lives would change and not resemble many other American childrens’ lives. I worried that they wouldn’t have friends, wouldn’t eat anything, and would be scared of many things we would encounter. And that they would never feel at home anywhere.

Most of my fears have come true, but these precious babies have taught me so much about just enjoying each day and taking whatever comes. Like my husband told me, they don’t know that their life is weird…or hard!  So I try not to clue them in!

I’m so thankful for my American girl and my Nepali boy. I know that they have many challenges down the road as they grow up in a foreign land. I trust that the Lord will enable me to help them face those challenges with the grace and love that has been lavished upon me.

If I’m their Mom in America, in Nepal, or on Mars, I am truly, truly blessed!

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Tell me about your MKs- Missionary Kids and Mommy’s Kids alike!
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

 

An Open Letter to the Baby I was Scared to Love

Little One,

You’re not so little anymore. You’re finding your way around this house, running into everything, and filling the air with the funniest little growl sounds.

You’re constantly covered in bumps and bruises, smiles and kisses. You are so loved.

But, I’ll be honest, I was afraid to love you. When I learned of your presence in the womb that held your brother Ezra, I was flooded with conflicting emotions of joy, grief, and fear. We were moving on from our loss, accepting the void in our family but asking God to fill it with another pair of precious wrinkly feet.

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I never felt sure that you’d find your way into my arms. I took medicine, I rested, I prayed like I’ve never prayed before. And I trusted…with bated breath and a heart that could barely stand it…I trusted.

“God, make him kick.” I pleaded on many desperate nights after a day or two of you taking a vacation from assuring me of your thriving inside of me. And you would give the teensiest little punch and go back to your unsurpassed laziness lounging in the comfort of your mommy. Growing into a world-ready babe is hard work.

The doctor gave your big body the boot on December 5, 2014. I told your daddy he could go get some pizza while we waited for you to get ready. But you decided you were finally gonna get a move on, and I had to call him to come back before his first bite.

At 12:30 pm, I felt like I finally breathed as they put you in my arms and I heard the sweetest cry I’ve ever heard. As soon as they put you on my chest, you grabbed my finger. “Wow! Look how big his hands are,” Daddy and I exclaimed in near-perfect unison.

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Though you’re the tangible source of my healing, I can’t give you all the credit. Because the God who gives every perfect gift gave me you. And long before you were waking me up night after night, He had made room in my heart for the little guy with the giant hands which were used to play with my hair while taking his feeds.

You won’t reach for Christ with those hands, but I hope that you will embrace His when He reaches down for you. I want nothing more than for you to experience the love and kindness that I can’t give you this side of heaven. I will never be everything you need, but I will strive to point you to the One that is.

And when our family is whole again, we will sing His praises for all He has done for all eternity!

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Dream big, love big, little one. Thanks for filling my arms and mending my heart. I love chasing you around our home but am seriously considering making you wear a helmet from now on.

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With more love than you’ll ever know,
Mommy

 

 

 

The Myth of “Me” Time

I have found that “me” time, deemed necessary by some, is most often unattainable.

Read any mommy blog (except the ones suggesting swaddling and smelling your babies at all times), and you’ll see this concept. But in reality…

My day starts with a 3 year old smacking me or “whispering”. “Mom, is it 6 time yet?” It never is. After several attempts at getting this early bird to stay in her room until the appointed time, I drag myself out of bed regretting that I didn’t shower before she got up, as I promised myself I would.

Breakfast or toast. The propane crisis has made me lazy in terms of food preparation. We coax our feisty gal to eat before bouncing off to the next activity.

The morning goes on much like this with a near-1-year-old thrown in about an hour later. Feeding, bathing, bed-making,.. The nanny comes, and my kids are so excited. I feel a little jealous but thankful that we have found someone so wonderful.

We walk a mile, get a taxi, and I fall asleep on the way to meet our tutor at a coffee shop where we study for 3 hours before walking home. At the door I am greeted by Paul’s evening tutor, a reminder that it’s me and the kids from here on out. I visualize myself putting my “game face” on, whatever that is.

The nanny asks if she can leave. Can I say no? She gives the kids hugs and kisses, and I reluctantly let her go.

Keep the kids busy. Limit screen time. Prepare and serve dinner. Get the kids to bed at a decent hour. Keep the peace.

I collapse on the couch at 7:15. A little behind schedule but feeling pretty proud to have pulled it off myself without having to send out an SOS. Paul takes his tutor home while I clean up the kitchen. He returns, ready for a snack.

For a second I thought I might have a minute to myself. Maybe finish that cold cup of coffee and that blog post I started reading 4 days ago.

Snack fixed. Blankets pulled out. Date night on the couch has commenced. This only lasts for a half hour until we can’t keep our eyes open a moment longer.

I lament that I didn’t have the instagram worthy Bible study/coffee time that seems like it would be so refreshing. Listening to the audio Bible in the shower was nice. Maybe tomorrow I will at least get to read at the breakfast table.

Another day in the books. Another day closer to beginning our ministry here. As the selfish ache reminds me it’s there, I remind myself…

My heart isn’t knit closer to my husband in “me” moments. My children don’t feel my love surround them in “me’ moments. Memories and ministries are not composed of “me” moments. Some day, I will have lots of “me” moments and I will long for the days I had so many things keeping me from them. 

IMG_0717Have you felt dissatisfied by your lack of personal time?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

From High-school Hallways to the Front-lines of Missions: A Love Story of Sorts

I have found that my husband is everything I thought he would be when we got to the mission field.

He is a fierce picture of perseverance and God’s grace to me and my family. Every day, I see him pore over his Nepali Bible, searching for truths in a strange text. He prepares for sermons he is not yet required to preach. He begs God for opportunities to preach in Nepali and for unbelievers with listening ears. He is not deterred by language goof-ups or unkind words hurled by ill-meaning passers by. He never forgets why we are here, and when I start to lose my focus, he is quick to remind me.

While this man is certainly not without fault, I see God’s grace all over him. God plucked up a 14 year old boy, saved him, and placed a big dream in his heart many years ago. A couple years after, He sparked a friendship with a red-headed young girl. She wanted to serve God too but wasn’t sure what that meant for her. But the Lord knew.

He knew that these two kids would grow into a love that made no sense in the context of high-school. We both loved God more. We were ready to part ways if our relationship did not align with His will for our lives. Thankfully, God allowed us to see the potential of our partnership together, remain pure in our pursuits, and follow the path God had laid out for us.

In our 10 years together, I have watched this boy grow into an amazing man of God. I see God working in his life as he passionately pursues Him which is so comforting to see this in the man that leads my family. Stronger and more enduring than his love for me, his zeal for Christ has stood the test of time and trial. His love for the Lord compels Him to deeply love our family while taking us to the regions beyond to declare His Great Love among the nations.

To me, He will always be my best friend with big dreams, and I’ll always be his lovestruck girlfriend cheering him on. What a privilege I have to help make these dreams a reality and watch them unfold before his wonder-filled eyes!

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand (Psalm 37:23-24).

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Does your love story and marriage show evidence of God’s grace in your life?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!