Not Enough? Too Much?

I have feared that I am not enough.

Strong enough.
Spiritual enough.
Faithful enough.

And that I am too much.

Too fearful.
Too selfish.
Too needy.

I worry how my involvement will taint the ministry that could be done here. But I comfort myself that, aside from and because of Christ and His work on the cross, God has never required perfect specimens to carry out His mission. In fact, He is often brought glory by showing Himself mighty in the fragile pictures of imperfection rather than in the most qualified characters.

I doubt that Mary felt qualified to mother the most High God. She had no marriage or parenting experience. There is no indication that she was some spiritual giant. She was fearful of this unexpected pregnancy and the repercussions it created in her community.

She was overwhelmed at the thought of this immense responsibility. Like me, she was not enough in many ways, and too much in others. But there’s something so beautiful about how the angel exhorts her.

Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with GodAnd, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JesusHe shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:30-33).

She wasn’t chosen because she was the prime example of a virtuous woman. For reasons not disclosed, the Lord favored her. He entrusted her with this great responsibility because He would bestow upon her all the grace and gifts necessary to bring it to pass.

I can’t imagine all of the fear she must have had watching this boy grow. Thinking she would, perhaps, mess up God’s great plan. No doubt she wept and worried over her role therein. But she never stopped receiving favor from the Lord.

As she was reminded, “With God nothing shall be impossible” (v38). He assured her that His will would come to pass despite her disbelief. God was not and is not limited by human imperfection. He delights in using His creation to carry out His will.

Like Mary, I must only have a submissive spirit. I must say, as she did, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” I must have a heart of surrender and hard-working hands. Fruitful unto good works but dependent on Him to help me bear them.

Like Mary, I can have joy as I see the Lord work His will in my life and in the world around me through my trust of and obedience to Him.

And Mary said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed” (v42).

Like Mary, I can see God glorified in my life and will, therefore, be blessed.

Have you dealt with this fear of not being enough or being too much?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

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!

Fleeting, Flying Time

I have found that TIME FLIES on the mission field.

I know that time passes at the same speed in all parts of the world, but it sure does feel like that clock ticks a little more quickly here! Sometimes the days feel so long but by Wednesday, it seems like my week is over and Saturday church rolls around before “Sunday” school is over. We arrived in March. I blinked and now it’s November! And I kind of speak Nepali which is pretty mind-boggling! I remember struggling to say my name and now I’m telling stringing stories together and making sense… most of the time.

I’m a stick-figure version of my former self and if I don’t have gray hair yet, I’m sure it’s on the horizon. How did my daughter’s hair get so long and when did my teensy babe start climbing up our front door? I can’t quite put my finger on it, but my husband has changed too. He is totally in his element. He’ll be nearly Nepali soon.

It’s been 4 months since my parents were here? That mirror we said we were going to fix before they got here is still hanging…still broken. I miss them like crazy, of course, and I know they’d think I’m losing it, but it honestly feels like they were just here. At least I can still ride that high.

Friends in America are having babies I didn’t even know were on the way when we left. People have gotten engaged and married. Others have been diagnosed and gone home to heaven.

The furlough that once seemed so far away now seems right around the corner. I need to get a move on learning this language. It’s about time to start a church!

If I’ve never acknowledged how short life is, and how we aren’t promised tomorrow, after 6 months on the field and some crazy close calls, I’m facing the facts now. The lives of the lost are passing just as quickly without anything to show for it. Am I going to make use of the time God has given me to change the course of someone’s life towards eternity?

Or will I just let the days slip by without much more to show? I remember feeling anxious as a child watching the sand spill quickly into the bottom of the hourglass. Time is just about up. I can’t wait until tomorrow to get serious about the things that matter: filling myself with Christ, reaching the lost, training my children, helping my husband fulfill his God-given calling.

The broken mirror will just have to wait.

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Have you had times in your life or ministry that just seemed to fly by?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

We’re not in Kansas Anymore

I have feared the inability to understand my own emotions. One experience in particular stands out among these puzzling periods. One day, we quickly drove past a man walking who from behind appeared to be naked from the waist down. “Surely he just has brown pants on,” I thought, however naively. Before I knew what I was doing, I glanced in the rearview mirror to confirm my assumption. I was wrong.

I quickly averted my eyes and made a half Nepali joke. “That’s a naked manchhe” I said, with an uncomfortable laugh. From afar, we saw people pass him nonchalantly. Later, my husband asked his friend what the police do about this behavior. He shrugged, “Maybe just tell him to button up his shirt.” Sure enough, Paul passed the naked manchhe along the road again and a couple buttons were fastened but he wasn’t in a much more appropriate state.

At home, I carried on my responsibilities but the sick feeling in my stomach lingered. I felt irritable, distracted, and on the verge of tears. Perhaps this was my first major culture shock moment, though we had been here for a few months already.

Later that night I felt like I should explain to Paul why I had been acting so strangely. Though he had seen it too, I assumed he wasn’t feeling quite as “icky” as I was. Reluctantly and a little ashamedly, I told how my stomach felt queazy, my head felt cloudy, and I just couldn’t shake this near-tears feeling.

Thankfully, my sweet man affirmed my feelings. That this reality flies in the face of everything we know to be right and decent culturally and spiritually. Like me, that day, he wanted to scream “What is wrong with you people? Does anyone see this? Why isn’t anyone doing anything?”

For me, it was, possibly, the first time I came to grips with the darkness within which I raise my family, kind of like my “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto” moment. This is the world I have to wake up to every day. A new dependency on the Lord was awakened in my heart. After a good night sleep and much prayer, the heaviness lifted.  Though I pray that I or my family never have to witness such things again, I am thankful we have been brought here to be a light in this dark place.

I know that these times of not understanding my emotions will come again as I am faced with realities of life in this country. While my husband may not always be able to affirm my feelings as he did in this scenario, I know that the God who made me and knows all my inner-workings is not shocked by my thoughts. Though they may manifest from a heart of sin and doubt, He can turn them into something beautiful through His Holy Spirit’s work in my life. Something that can change lives and enlist workers for His kingdom.

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Have you ever come to grips with your confusing emotions with the Lord’s help?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

Fight or Flight

I have found that fight or flight, in some seasons of our lives, is a daily choice.

Because of the petrol shortage, we must walk to school every day. We could drive our car if we wanted to wait in line with the thousands of cars in Kathmandu with no promise of receiving our small ration. Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that!

The first couple weeks, it was kind of fun. Some sort of new adventure. After all, we kinda thrive on crazy around here. But after a holiday break, returning to an hour and a half of walking the hills of Nepal was hard to face. By Friday, I was thinking, “This lifestyle is just not sustainable.” But given the option between riding on TOP of a bus (a common sighting these days, though previously illegal), I guess I’ll take the sore feet and sunburn. Fight.

Not many Americans, would argue that this life of walking to school and cooking for our family on a hot plate (there is also a propane shortage) in between power cuts is challenging. Soon, it will become very cold, and without propane, it will be nearly impossible to warm our home.

My kids already look like eskimos going to bed! My poor daughter won’t be able to take a bathroom break for all the layers. We will be getting creative with hot water bottles and whatever else we can get our hands on…or over. I’ve warmed my hands over the toaster. I am not ashamed. Fight.

Though, at times, everything inside of me says, “This is too hard. Give up.” I can’t. This wild place has my heart. I know only God could do that. When faced with the possibility of having to leave due to the difficulties, I am heartbroken. I want to fight.

In natural disasters. Fight.
In political upheaval. Fight.
In shortages. Fight.
In family trials. Fight.

And if I fly, I pray I fly only to the feet of Jesus. Only He can give me the power and grace to stay in the fight. To drag my feet up the steep hill home. Because Lord knows I’m about to fall flat.

But I will fight…

…That “I” might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made “me” meet to be partaker(s) of the inheritance of the saints in light: (Col. 1:10-12).
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Have you faced similar seasons where you have had to choose to fight or fly?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!