It seems, in ministry, the lines separating work and life are blurred beyond providing any barrier between them.
Are these people my friends or just church members? Will our teammates be pals or mere co-workers? What are work hours (because it sure feels like it’s 24/7)? Should we tap into our salary for necessary ministry expenses?
When am I a pastor’s wife and when am I just a wife?
Is my husband’s office church or home? Both?
When/how often should we open up our home?
Our work is our life, and our life is our work. We wouldn’t have it any other way. This calling affects nearly every minute of every day. The daily lives of our children are a direct result of this path we’ve chosen to take in service to the Lord—the work we’ve chosen to do. It can be confusing and exhausting. It can send us reeling just as often as it causes us to rejoice.
We must stay connected to the Life Giver. He breathes into us when we’re gasping and fills us with joy in this work when we’re unable to find it among the mess of everyday ministry. We must lean into His goodness, trust in His promises, and be sensitive to the stirrings of the Spirit which tell us to rest.
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
Nosy neighbors. We’ve all had ’em. We had an especially nosy neighbor in the first colony we lived in here in Kathmandu. I would see her in the morning and she would say, “I saw you had pizza for dinner last night. How was that?” Her roof, where she did laundry and bathed, looked right into our dining room. We learned to shut our curtains at dinner time or we would have an audience. I’m sure it was pretty entertaining with my picky eater toddler and throw-everything baby and the two of us trying to converse in our second language with our tutor over a plate of American food he was trying to get down with a smile.
What I have learned after experiencing several of these types of situations is this — Neighbors don’t have to be nosy if you share your life with them. Sit with them. Drink tea/coffee with them. Talk about kids and school and work and life. Inviting them to church or sharing the gospel should not come out of the clear blue; it can ‐ and should! ‐ be a natural outflow of life lived in close proximity. In this close proximity, if our friends and neighbors are not hearing about Jesus and being invited into our relationship with Him, a heart examination may be in order. Our love for Jesus should be clear and contagious to those we spend our time with.
When the Taube family shares our life, we don’t have to be “the foreigner TV” show anymore. They’re learning plenty from our regular interactions, and we are enjoying our peace and privacy in our home.
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Plan A was a dream given, and we had hopes to see it fulfilled. Plan A ended abruptly with denied entrance to set destination, and plan B erupted just as quickly. I didn’t choose it. I didn’t even want it. When we parked it in plan B, this new place we knew next to nothing about, I felt just about as hopeless as when we didn’t have a plan at all. I had to face that I was here to stay. I knew I had to learn to love this place lest we all wind up miserable and longing for home.
I’ve had to work at being happy, learning a language, and making friends. I’ve had to learn to love all the peculiarities that make this lovely culture what it is. I’ve had to swallow my pride countless times and wipe tears off shame flushed cheeks more than I care to recall. It’s tempting to think about how Plan A could have unfolded and what life would have been like in that place that seemed to have slightly less unknowns. But, in time, I’ve come to know this place. I’ve come to love this place. This is my place, and these are my people. Praise God, the faithful One.
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.
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.