Focused Feasting in a Culture of Craving

Five Minute Friday: CRAVE

I am well-acquainted with craving. When I was living overseas, I found myself craving the most random things. I craved turkey sandwiches, sweet potatoes, and sour candy. I also craved convenience and comforts of home. Even more, I found myself craving connection with other believers and a more intimate relationship with Jesus as the loneliness in my heart grew and grew.  I was surrounded by unbelievers and understood little of the spiritual offerings at church in my second language. I realized that I had to fill myself with God’s word and busy myself with His work. Only then would the intense longing, the craving subside.

15056530_1797824610492445_4975776911574695936_n1

Back here on American soil, I have access to all the things I’ve craved for the last two years. What’s surprising to me is that nothing is as good as my memory made it. Nothing quite satisfies. Along with this dissatisfaction with fulfilled cravings, I sense a frustration upon seeing the culture of craving around me. Of course, this is amplified in the holiday season as we all create wish lists and seek to find the one perfect things our loved ones lack to stick in an overstuffed stocking. I try to remember this. Maybe this isn’t an accurate representation of America. But maybe it is. And maybe it’s also an accurate representation of my heart. Whatever culture I live within, I take my heart with me. And my heart is filled with longing, with craving.

I was created to crave Jesus. I grow and thrive in communion with Him, feasting on His word. I don’t want to suppress my appetite for the things of God by filling myself with the sweet and sugary tastes of this world. They satisfy my tongue but starve my spirit. This focused feasting might not change the local culture, but it will change me. That’s a good place to start.

14474299_218183285276333_7285598838620946432_n

What are you craving?
How may you satisfy that hunger with Jesus?

Talk to me in the comment section!

picmonkey-image

Fresh Market Friday, Five Minute Friday

These Days were Made to Be Enjoyed

 Five Minute Friday: ENJOY

“We have established an after-dinner routine that I quite enjoy. Usually, we are in such a hurry to get to it, we leave the dirty plates on the table and run off to tie shoes and zip jackets. The kids wait on the porch or rush the front gate to start down the hill on our family adventure. The crisp air and view of the mountains takes my breath away in the best of ways.

I gaze at my children whose hands are grasped together and grins are adorned with splattered spaghetti sauce. In our haste to start our stroll, I had forgotten to clean them up. I smile sheepishly at the aunties we pass along the way who signal their disapproval. Nothing could rob me of the joy of this moment.

img_2596

Except maybe when the kids’ smiles cease to join us on our walk. When their feet drag and the pitch of whiny voices reaches as high as the mountain peaks. On these days, we cut the length by a lap and hope for a better run the next time. I remember all the peaceful and wonderful moments we’ve had along these cracked roads and trust we will steal a few more amidst the hurriedness of busy ministry life. I wonder when they’ll start wiping their own faces and racing ahead of us instead of walking hand-in-hand at parents’ pace.

The good and the bad days. The long walks and the short ones. These days, precious and few, were made to be enjoyed. Sometimes, we just have to try harder than others.”

img_1128

Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him (Ecclesiastes 7:13-14).

A Parable for Coffee Snobs

Day 4, Five Minute Prompt: BREW

They had gathered around a table to celebrate the holy matrimony of a friend’s full-grown daughter. They reminisced long-forgotten memories and wondered out loud what happened to the years.

The topic turned to their pride-and-joy: coffee. I heard this story before I started drinking it, so I wouldn’t have had much to offer at the time. Now I live in the city with the second most coffee shops in the world (fact check me, please), so I’m game to chill with the mid-life-crisis crowd the next go around.

Largely unintelligible names were thrown around for sake of sounding snooty (or so I thought at the time).

“What’s your favorite coffee?” One connoisseur asked her who wishes to remain nameless.

“Um, McDonald’s?”

Politely suppressed laughter rumbled its way around the table. Ashamed, she giggled along. She recounted the story to me, a little embarrassed, though I didn’t understand why. “I just really like McDonald’s coffee.”

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again (Matthew 7:1-2).

(aka I will write a post about you)

The equivalent of McDonalds coffee in my host country is NesCafe. The snooty coffee drinkers who prefer Himalayan Java or have Starbucks shipped in by the bag snicker at those who happily sip “dirty sock water.”

But they just really like it. And we let them enjoy it in their little pasals along the side of the road, but when they visit the Taube house, they get the best we got. Hot mug with their seat pulled up to our table. We speak our second language and savor the good stuff. We laugh and share life. Those who have done this much with us have been spoiled by our expensive taste and can’t stand to drink the coffee they used to love. I feel a little bad about that.

But…the Golden Rule:

What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets (Matthew 7:9-12).

Just for fun…

Are you a coffee snob?
What’s YOUR favorite brew?

Talk to me in the comment section!

A Collection of Left-Behind Treasures

Boxes packed for storage. Bags packed for an international move.

All that was left were goodbyes. A whole lot of them.

A friend to whom it was especially difficult to say goodbye had one request as we departed: leave me one thing to keep in my house to remember you by.

basket-1080863_960_720

I left her a vase with the world map on it I had bought at TJ Maxx for $7 a few years before. There wasn’t anything particularly special about it, like most everything else in our basement apartment. We hadn’t invested a lot of money into our home Stateside for we knew we would soon be leaving.

But this vase still sat atop the bookshelf my husband built because, for some reason, it meant something to me. And though it wouldn’t make the voyage to the foreign field, I couldn’t bear to sell it to a stranger. So I gave it to this friend.

She added it to her collection of momentos given by those that left her behind. The problem of being involved in a highly missional church is that the people you love are always leaving.

And her collection is always growing.

Trinkets from South Africa, Tunisia, Spain, and, even, TJ Maxx in Cumming, GA. I think of the ones to whom she will be saying goodbye this year and wonder what special items will be added to the mantle and the walls of the home she shares with her husband and the girls my daughter still speaks of fondly.

They are a special family with a collection of far-away-friends, left-behind adornments, and hearts breaking again and again.

I’m thankful we will have this special home to spend a few nights in when we find ourselves Stateside. I will look around at all the gifted treasures and pray for my friends around the world who have left their friends, families, and prized possessions behind.

Five-Minute-Friday-4

Five Minute Friday: The Wound that Never Heals

00:00

heal-600x600

I fractured my tail-bone four years ago during the hours of labor that led to the arrival of one of my greatest joys, a spunky girl who’s always singing but who was, at that time, just a sunny-side up miracle.

As my daughter grew, the pain in my back-side lessened, and I imagined that things back there were healing properly. However, strapped to a stretcher a little over a year later, the pain was back and more intense than ever. I had hurt that tender spot again.

One still-birth and one live-birth later, I’m in a mess of pain most days. We bump along the poorly-made and poorly-cared for streets of Kathmandu, and I wince and bite back the complaints on the tip of my tongue.

I often think, this wound will never heal, as it is constantly chipped at again and again.

As we bumped along on the way back to a hotel today to say good-bye to grandparents headed back to America after a sweet but short visit, my focus was more on the pain in my heart than on the bone that bounced upon the back-seat.

The wound there was big and gaping when we left for Nepal last March. Over-time, it began to heal and was bandaged by Face-time chats and care packages. But with each visit and each goodbye, cracks I thought were long-ago sealed re-emerge.

The TLC delivered is so needed and is medicine for motivation. My heart is certainly more helped than hurt, yet I am left with the somber presence of this thought, “I guess this wound will never heal.”

05:00

14292379_10157388191915511_2490215999952335069_n

And certainly it won’t for the Grandma and Grandpa with 6 grandbabies on 3 continents. I covet your prayers for these heroes of mine and the heavy hearts they are lugging back to America today.