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.

Give the Gift of Purposeful Presence this Holiday Season

Five Minute Friday: NOW

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.

I really don’t want to miss them. 

 

4 Purposeful Ways of Living in Transition [Rachel Bennett]

This post was originally featured as a guest post for Rachel Bennett at Love God, Live on Purpose. Even now, I am referring back to these truths as a guide during this time of transition back to America for a while. I hope these words, though simple, will bless and encourage you during whatever season you find yourself in. 

 


Even the word gives me a feeling of uneasiness. Transition has been almost a constant feature of the last few years of my life. We moved shortly after marriage, got new jobs and started training for ministry. We had a newborn babe thrown into the mix of constant traveling, fundraising for a country which would eventually deny us a visa. Consequently, we changed fields, made our international move, started language school and were met by a whole host of challenges.

In the better part of my adult life, I’ve felt unsettled. I vaguely remember a sense of security before where I, at least, felt like I had some kind of idea of what each day would hold and a general picture of what the future may have looked like. I’ve learned that even in these times of perceived security, a sudden event can instantly lurch me into a new season of life. The whiplash of such change is unwelcome and uncomfortable, however, these times of transition have proven to be catalysts for needed change in my life. I can’t always sense God’s hand at work in each moment, but I can see it clearly as I look back on all that He was brought to pass.

I don’t know what transition you may find yourself stuck in today. You may be between jobs, on the verge of a move, or encountering major change within your church or family. I’ve learned a lot during my seasons of unsettledness. I’d like to share with you 4 ways to live on purpose in times of transition, all of which can be found in Proverbs 4:23-27.

Guard your Heart
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
In times of transition, we must be careful what we allow to enter into our hearts and minds. We must be faithful to fill ourselves with the truths of God’s word so that when the hard edges of change scrape us down to our bare bones, we are grounded in godly wisdom. We take a break from the things and the people who fuel our negativity and hinder our service for God in the midst of change.

Cut Out Complaining
Put away from thee a forward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
In times of transition, we must be mindful of the words that escape our lips. These words come from the hard places of the heart but can take on a life of their own once released, bringing destruction on ourselves and our loved ones.

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Keep your eyes on the prize
Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
We must resist the temptation to compare our situations to the plight of others. There will always be someone who seems to have it better or worse than us. These glimpses into the lives of others are more accessible than ever and can leave us feeling either prideful or envious. We must trust that God is working uniquely within us and in the midst of our transition. We must not be distracted by lesser goals than pursuing Christ wholly with our lives. We remember our calling and press on to the prize. The prize is grand; it’s Jesus.

Make Progress Cautiously
Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.
As we seek to move forward, we must measure all ambitions and decisions on the sure scale of Scripture. The Lord will never lead us to do that which conflicts with His will laid out for His children in the Bible. We must consider both the personal and peripheral repercussions of our decisions and how we might best glorify God with the opportunities given to us. We can move forward steadily but cautiously, trusting God to guide as we go.
In times of transition, we trust and wait for God to move towards positive change in our lives, for the greater good, and for His glory. Waiting is the hardest part, but there is purpose in the waiting.

As followers of Christ, we must steward the opportunity to serve Him in periods of uncertainty and change. Though our knees may wobble and our faith waver, we have an unfailing confidence in the person of Jesus Christ. No matter how long we wait and whatever the outcome, we know who is the Savior of our story and who wields the tools of change.

We find Him at the center of transition, and He meets us, at the end, too. Somewhere along the way, we find ourselves. Not surprisingly, and to our benefit, we find that we’ve changed.

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