My Hope is in You, Lord [DAY 7: HOPE]

Our interns returned to America this past Wednesday. During their last service at our church, they had the opportunity to choose one last song to sing. They chose “My hope is in You, Lord” — in Nepali, of course. I tried not to make eye contact with my friend, and I noticed she looked tearful too. It was a sweet way to end their stay here, each of us proclaiming that our only true, lasting hope is in the Lord.

What a necessary reminder, too, it was to me personally — especially as we sent two of our friends back to America. My hope is not in having friends around to share our life with. It should not be in our team growing or our ministry taking off. It can’t be in my kids following the path I’d choose for them or my marriage standing on solid rock for the rest of our days together. In marriage, motherhood, and missional living, Jesus is the only thing I can confidently put my hope in.

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

The people in our ministry and those that hold the ropes back home may let us down. Our marriage may fall on hard times. Our kids will stray from what we have taught them… AND people come to stay a while and then have to go back where they came from! If I put my hope in these things, I can only be sure of one — the fall will be that much harder.

Putting my hope in Christ, I rest in the promise that no matter what happens He is with me and will sustain me. When people or circumstances leave me reeling, I have a constant source of comfort and strength in the Lord. Because of all He has done and all I can trust Him to do, my hope is secure.

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.

In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:5-8

In Christ, my hope will never be misplaced.

I “make” God big in my life when I choose to put my hope in Him alone rather than in my circumstances or my relationships. 

What earthly things have you placed your hope in?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

Awkward Encounters of the Worst Kind [Day 6: BELONG]

I stopped to visit a friend in the neighborhood on my way home from the bakery one day. It had been a while since I checked in with her, and I didn’t realize her husband had come home from his work assignment out of the city. I simultaneously called out her named and popped my head around the sheet she hangs in her door of her one room home during the day time. I was surprised to see her husband and two friends sitting down eating heaping plates of dal bhat.

My friend was on the opposite bed with her sleeping son and invited me to sit down where she had been sitting. As she went to make me a cup of tea, the interrogation began. They grilled me on all the usual topics and then some. It was embarrassing and exhausting. She could not come back into the room fast enough! When she arrived, I quickly sipped my tea and caught up with her as well as I could. I tried my best to avoid any more questions from the three amigos. What I had hoped would be a time of connection with a friend turned into a very frustrating encounter. I didn’t savor the last drop of milk tea. I slurped it down as fast as I could, and said something in my second language like, “Oh, look at the time.”

Photo by Dustin Smith

It’s moments like these that cut right to my heart. I think things like, I don’t belong here. I don’t understand this culture. I’m not a friend — I’m just a novelty. As much as I love living here, there are times when the reality of what it’s like to live in a culture not your own hits home. And it hurts. I feel small and forgotten.

I fall into the trap of thinking that this friend or this house or this level of language ability will finally make me feel like I belong. Maybe if our ministry takes off, and my schedule fills up with opportunities to teach and train, I will feel fulfilled. But in all these cases, my thinking is wrong. The truth is, if I ever make my home in this world, it stands on shaky soil. The US or any other place I reside should not have my heart. My heart should always be in heaven. I find my belonging in Christ alone.

That friend or that house or that coveted lifestyle can make me no promises, but my Lord Jesus has made a few. 

 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 107:9).

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (John 6:35).

The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever (Psalm 22:26).

He alone can satisfy the longings of my soul. My home is in heaven with him. My heart will always feel the tension of my desire to serve Him on earth and dwell with Him in my forever home. This is true whether I’m in my home country or on foreign soil. Until He renders my service here complete and takes me to spend eternity with Him, I’ll continue to faithfully stumble my way through this life of ministry and all its awkward encounters. Trusting that His promises are true, I’ll find my belonging and satisfaction in Christ alone.

I “make” God big in my life when I find my belonging in Him alone. When I trust Him to satisfy my soul in the smallness of my life with the vastness of His love, I will find the contentment I am lacking. 

In what places have you searched for belonging and come up short?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

The Lie I’ve Believed about my Little Life [Day 3: BELIEVE]

I have regularly been meeting with a young lady to study the Bible over the last year. I’ve had the privilege of seeing her grow in her understanding of the word of God as we have contrasted the truth with worldly teaching. Our meetings are simple — open Bibles and translated materials at my husband’s desk which I steal for an hour. Occasionally, we will have a cup of tea or a salty snack from the cart down the road. There’s nothing fancy about our meetings, but God always meets us there. We’ve had her and other young people from the church for countless meals and get-togethers at the house. She helps me wash dishes as we wait for the coffee to brew.

I’ve never thought of my role in her life as being very significant. But, one evening, while texting with her after helping her handle an uncomfortable situation, she said something that completely changed my perspective. She said, “I’m so happy. I finally have a family.” Cue the tears! What seemed small to me was such a big thing to the person I shared it with. God had worked in her life through our time together and bonded us in ways only He could.

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

Sometimes I think my life and all its roles are just too small for God to show up in. I errantly believe that because I am just a ministry-wife/SAHM that God is not interested all aspects of my life and relationships. Though I do grasp the truth He loves me and is after my heart, I find it difficult to accept that He would show His great power at work in my little life. Homework helping and meal-planning, discipline and discipleship just seem like small boxes for the King of the world to tick off.

When I ask God to show me all that He has done, I see that He has completed miraculous wonders amid the monotony of my less-than-noteworthy life. While it may make for a yawn-inducing biography in the opinion of some, God has done great things. He has allowed our family to take young people into our spiritual care and disciple them in the word of God. He has made us mentors, friends, and guardians of two small souls in our home.

May I never be too timid to invite Him into the smallness of my life. May I always be aware of His presence each moment and the grace that flows through them. My prayer is that I’ll grow in understanding and persevere in believing that God is invested both in having a relationship with me and in using me in big and small works for His glory.

I “make” God big in my life when I believe He is who He says He is and that He will do what He has promised He will do even in my little life.

What lies have you believed about God’s work in your life?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

Simple Stories for His Glory [Day 1: STORY]

My brother just returned to America after a one-week stay in Kathmandu. Whenever anyone visits, I find it so amusing to be able to see “my” world through fresh eyes. When I would stress about what we were going to do for the day, he would reassure me that it was all fascinating to him. He wanted to walk around and do life the way we would normally to do it to get a glimpse of how we usually went about our days in this foreign city. We visited my markets, my gym, hosted guests, attended church and walked my son to school and participated in our daughter’s cultural program. It was all so ordinary, a far cry from a typical tourist trip. But he soaked up every moment, and I vicariously did the same.

Photo by Dustin Smith

In regards to my writing, I’ve been challenged to share more stories of my life overseas and our ministry here. While it all seems so small and ordinary to me, I believe sharing how God works even in the smallness of my life may be an encouragement to someone else underwhelmed by the significance of their own existence. Certainly, God works in big ways around the world, but He also shows Himself mighty in ordinary life in ordinary places using — you guessed it — ordinary people.

So, I’m going to show up for the next 30 days to share with you how God weaves significance into the smallness of my life, and how He uses our imperfect family to shine Gospel truth into dark places. Walking through local markets, circled up with our faithful church members, or just goofing around the house with our kids, I’m thrilled to share with you how God is teaching me to make Him big in the smallness of my life and encourage you in your efforts to do the same.

I “make” God big when I share stories of how He works mightily even in the smallness of my little life. 

How has God shown Himself big in your life?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

To Rejoice is Greater than to Rush

Five Minute Friday: RUSH

When will the kids grow up? When is our ministry going to take off? When are we going to get to go out on a date together again?  These thoughts come in waves as I rush from one event to the next always wishing the next more comfortable phase would usher itself in while I’m scrambling to catch up to the chaos of the one that came before. I want the fruits of my labors like yesterday, and I really wish we could just get a hurry up on this harvest we’re waiting for. Oh, and when is it okay to rest? Here I am again waiting, wishing, and whining.

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

In this rush which seems far too routine to me, I wonder what I am missing. I don’t have to search long to find my answer.

Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It really couldn’t be more clear than that. While the present may not be savory, it can be sanctifying. I can daily find reason to rejoice rather than rush to the next better thing. The King of the Universe reigns also over my days. I fail never to have the opportunity to commune with him as friend with friend. And I happen to believe that this encouragement to give thanks in every thing is good advice for today, tomorrow and this season and the next one. Actually, forever because I’m told it’s God’s will concerning me, and I know He won’t change His mind on that matter. I want to see what this looks like in daily practice. Do you?