Confession: These Stories Are Not Even Mine [Day 5: SHARE]

My husband spends a lot of time with a group of young men. He teaches them from the Bible and trains them to live as godly men as they help within the church. The long term goal is raising up some pastors who can lead the churches God allows us to plant. Really, he spends more time with these guys than he does with me — on a grump day, I resent that! When they’re in my home, I feed them and keep the coffee flowing. They call me “bauju” which means sister-in-law, and I kind of love it.

What I’ve realized as I try to share my “real life” stories with you is that most of them are not my own. And the ones that are are super boring. “Hey guys, one time I walked my kids to school and then did some shopping and made some food… then I did it again every day of the week.” Any of the stories of God giving us victory in our ministry or doing something miraculous in our family have happened mostly through God’s work accomplished through my better half. My prayer is that as our ministry grows, the Lord will grant me the desires of my heart to serve and disciple young ladies in the church.

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

In the meantime, what I’ve come to see and praise God for, is that I have a share in my husband’s service for the Lord. I may not be on the ground level where all the magic happens much of the time. Rather, I’m cheering him on, encouraging him in little ways, and throwing up desperate prayers in all the times I feel helpless. I’m The Legs He Stands On, and as such, I have a supporting role.

Truthfully, the stories we share, though, do not belong to me or to my husband. We’re small characters in the story God is patiently and faithfully writing, and we know this. Even still, we are part of His grand scheme to bring people back to Himself. Every small story of victory and each tale of trial belong to Him. We are not the heroes of our stories, and we are not in control of what’s on the last page.

Am I going to struggle to share 25 more stories of my life with you? Absolutely 100% YES. But, like in every other part of my life, I’m going to have to trust God as He changes the plans. I know He will give me the words I need to hear and the stories I need to share. Whether they’re mine or my husband’s stories, ultimately they all belong to the Lord.

I “make” God big in my life when I accept the support roles He gives me and trust Him, in all His wisdom, to write the stories of my life.

What stories is God writing in your life?

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?

 

Just One Thing? — Expectations and Overseas Life

A few weeks ago, as I prepared my heart for my parents to return back to America after visiting for two weeks, I asked my Instagram followers to do me a solid and use the new questions feature to distract me for a few moments. I got some great questions, some silly questions, and a few unsolicited compliments (yes, I agree my kids are gorgeous!). One friend commented that we seemed to be doing amazing, and I was happy to confirm that we are happy here and love the missions life with all its adventure and challenges. I thought I’d turn a few of them into blog posts as I train myself to make writing a habit again — like online, not just three pages a day in my journal.

“What was one thing that was hard to adjust to on the mission field?”

Wow! It felt like such a loaded request to just pick one thing that was hard to adjust to after moving overseas because literally every aspect of my life has changed as a result. This inquiry came from a young woman who attends a very missions driven church where she may also train for ministry one day, so I felt added pressure to encourage her and not freak her out — the ever present search for balance of transparency and gentle truth.

I’ve learned so much, but one of the biggest things has been to let go of my expectations about what doing ministry, making a home, and raising my kids would be like here. We have a unique set of circumstances and challenges, but God has a unique plan for our life and ministry.

I guess that sums up so much about all the feelings that bombarded me upon our arrival and the months following. On paper, it seemed our dreams were coming true. We were FINALLY on the field after years of preparation. But earthquakes and loneliness and the realities of setting up a home overseas all came to take away the beauty of dreams realized. Life overseas turned out to be just that — life, with all its hardships and disappointments in tow.

I didn’t realize at the time that I had painted a picture of what I thought our life here would be like. I would have a close friend, of course. My kids would play with neighborhood kids and learn the language quickly. We would find a good school for our daughter where she would thrive and grow beyond what we could give her at home. We’d enjoy setting up a new home and decorating it to our liking, and, oh yeah, it would be in the perfect location and even have a small yard.

What God has had for our family, however, has been so much different — and so much better. His plans for me have not met my expectations but have exceeded them. I cannot say that the portrait God painted for me instead has not been heavily crafted with pain and trial. It’s been harder — and sweeter — than I ever thought possible, as are most of the best things in life. The best thing God has given me is nothing I hoped for and everything I wasn’t wise enough to want.

It turns out, God is far less interested in making my dreams a reality and far more interested in working out His way in my life. God’s best for me, in any season, is to learn hard into Him and trust Him even when chaos seems to reign. All my dreams come untrue have brought me into the place I need to be — the place where I submit to every disappointing reality and joyous victory.

He hasn’t asked me to totally surrender all of my dreams but has, rather, loved me hard through every twist and transition. When the story changes, I know the author doesn’t, and it’s a good thing I’ve already seen Him write so many great narratives. As my heart becomes one with Christ, my desires will inevitably change. All I can expect, then, are wonderfully hard, beautifully messy works wrought by the hand of God which makes no mistakes.

Truly, we have a unique set of circumstances and challenges in this overseas life. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that our God has a unique plan. I just feel privileged to watch it unfold.