Flexibility and Feelings of Children — November 8, 2015

Flexibility and Feelings of Children

I have found that kids are flexible, but they have feelings. Most days, my daughter doesn’t know where we are and doesn’t care. She plays with her Nepali nanny, watches her shows, and terrorizes her brother. From any perspective, she has adjusted well.  While she doesn’t often mention missing her grandparents or friends in America, she hasn’t been unaffected by boredom and loneliness. She even worries about everyone hating her, noting how the few kids she knows shoo her away with stuck out tongues.

We can’t make kids her age materialize out of thin air. Should we get her a dog (something we swore we would NEVER do)? Send her to school? Put her in an extra-curricular class? There is no obvious solution, and due to the blockade, doing any of these things at the moment is impossible.

We can’t protect her from all the hurt in this world. While it is difficult, she needs to learn that people can be mean, but we need to love them like Jesus. “Not everyone will like you, baby, and that’s ok. We are different here. We are here to tell people about Jesus, and some people don’t like that.” She nods like she understands.

It is hard not to feel like we have stripped her of her friends and all the fun experiences in America. I flash back to weeping on the plane looking at my sweet sleeping babe. “She doesn’t even know that her little world is about to turn upside down.”

I am thankful for her flexibility, and praise God for the good days. On the trying days, I beg Him for wisdom. These missionary and mommy worlds often collide, and my daughter is found in the debris. I can shield and protect her, keep her to myself, and never let her experience this country. Or I can allow these experiences, however painful, to shape and mold her into who God wants her to be.

I pray that we can point her to Christ, and that she will trust Him with her life. For then, she will have a friend that sticks closer than a brother. For now, I pray that He will make me a good steward of her sometimes fragile feelings. To use her flexibility to her advantage to fall in love with this country and these wonderful people. To teach her to use her feelings to sympathize with the hurting and lead others to the great Comforter. I can already tell I’m gonna be on my knees a lot over this girl!

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Have you dealt with loneliness with your children?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

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I Choose My Family — November 7, 2015

I Choose My Family

I have feared the deterioration and  loss of long-distance relationships. Maintaining these can be difficult and draining. Throw in a 10:45 minute time difference (weird, right?), and it seems next to impossible. God has given me the greatest friends all over the world. it is so much easier to work on maintaining these relationships than in times past. However, I can’t ignore what’s right in front of me, and God has given me the amazing gift of a family in its formative years! I can pine for my lost friendships or I can pleasure in the family I share my home with.

I don’t want my kids to remember mom as the lady who just talked to her bestie on FaceTime or watched cartoons with them iPhone ever ready while not out of the house studying language or doing ministry. My time with them is little and precious.

Sometimes, I need the encouragement that only a girlfriend in the Lord can give me. For this reason, I am so grateful for those that have made efforts to invest in our friendships. I just want to be careful to not invest in these at the expense of my family. My babies are growing so quickly. If I don’t teach them to love and serve the Lord, who will? If I don’t work hard to keep my marriage strong in the Lord, how can we ever have a fruitful ministry?

My long distance friends encourage me, and help quell the first-term loneliness while urging me to focus on the Lord. But I can’t be dependent on them to fill the emptiness. After all, they are asleep for the majority of my waking hours!

I can’t feed my family’s spiritual and emotional needs without filling myself first. Thankfully I have a Friend who doesn’t sleep (Not you, Natasha)! He speaks to me through His word and through the Holy Spirit night and day! When I am full of Him, I can better care for my family. I can see needs that only the Holy Spirit can make me aware of. If I distract myself by stretching to maintain relationships with people that are just as busy as I am, neglecting my time with the Lord and the needs in my home, I am doing a disservice to myself and the people I love most.

Some days I might use messenger all day if I didn’t have two kids climbing on my head and shoulders. Maybe I should take that as a hint. One day, I pray, Christ will fill all their emptiness, but right now they need mom spilling the love He has given her over into their tiny, precious lives.

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Have you faced the struggle between maintaining friendships and caring for your family?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

Will I Ever Learn This Language? — November 6, 2015

Will I Ever Learn This Language?

I have feared that I will NEVER learn this language. 6 months into my language studies, I can carry on simple conversations, order at shops and restaurants, and ask questions to help me find my way along. I am no longer rehearsing every little phrase in my head before saying it and becoming more comfortable every day. But the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know, and surprisingly, the more discouraged I can become. It is hard to see the progress from day to day, but as I look back further, I can see how far I have truly progressed with the Lord’s help.

But I still fear that I will never grasp this language in a way that is conducive to gospel conversations. The first time I attempted to witness to my neighbor in Nepali, she asked me if we worship 3 gods (God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit). I have a hard enough time explaining the doctrine of the Trinity in my native language, let alone a language I am just beginning to grasp the basics of!

It is hard to wrap my mind around the idea being able to answer questions like this in a culture that has no concept of Christianity and of the one true, living God in my second language. I must continue to keep “plugging away.” Even when I feel like I’m at a standstill, I know the wheels are turning somewhere undetectable. When I feel my brain is fried, God is greater than my frailty and will plant roots of knowledge despite my scattered state. It is only my responsibility to put the time and the work in, to push back the thoughts that are sent by the enemy to thwart my study and future ministry. I can’t make it all sink in. I must only trust that the Lord will enable me to soak up the countless hours of study, to give me opportunities to rest when I need it, and most importantly, to give me chances to share the gospel in this new and strange tongue.

I’ve always believed that the Holy Spirit could speak through me. Why would I think that He would be limited by the Nepali language? Surely the author of all tribes and tongues can help me hurdle the ever daunting language barrier to accomplish His ultimate plan for gospel growth in this needy land.

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Have you overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge for the sake of the gospel?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

Service: Saving Me From Myself — November 4, 2015

Service: Saving Me From Myself

I have found that no matter what is going on in my life or in the world around me, my family still needs me.

My son doesn’t decide not to wake up in the night because mommy is exhausted from waking up to countless aftershocks.
My daughter doesn’t forget her lengthy bedtime rituals because I feel desperately that I need to talk with my own mom .
My husband doesn’t stop needing dinner because his wife would rather cry than cook .
They all don’t stop needing my love and encouragement when I don’t feel much like giving it.

Moms don’t get sick days or sad days, or “I’d rather sit and feel sorry for myself than serve you” days which is actually kind of great! Many times my family, as needy as they can be, have pulled me out of my self-pity schlump and into service that has brought out the better in me.

God gave me this man and these little people to love. Only I can be wife and mom to these wonderful people. Just as God ordained my husband to walk our family through these trying times, He has ordained me to love it through them. The trials are great, and the needs are endless, but, thankfully God’s grace in my life is unmatched! Only through his power can I pay the grace he has given me forward, showing favor to my family, serving as a humble steward of His matchless grace.

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10).

Being forced to focus outward is a gift I can’t give myself and one that saves me from myself. Though in the moment I don’t feel like giving thanks for this gift, I truly do find that I am grateful! And I hope that my family, which is so precious to me, treasures the gift I give of myself, especially during these times in which it can be difficult to graciously give.

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Have you found it difficult but rewarding to serve your family at times?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

The Time I Feared for My Life — November 2, 2015

The Time I Feared for My Life

I have feared for my life, even though we are set up for comfort and safety. We live in a gated community, we have a car to navigate the crazy traffic, and even the church we attend is stationed between two police headquarters.

But natural disasters don’t care who I am or where I live or how safe I think I need to feel to stay. On April 25, I had no concept of how critical were the events unfolding before me , but from the erupting screams, I knew it wasn’t good. I confess that, in times of stress, I have an involuntary impulse to laugh. While the building violently shook, I LAUGHED as someone slipped on a puddle of water left by a fallen jug. It wasn’t comical, and I was concerned for their wellness, but I LAUGHED.

After damages were accessed, homes (including mine) condemned, and death toll tallied, I wasn’t laughing anymore. The sobering reality of thousands of people in my city beginning their eternities was more than I could comprehend. I was heartbroken for this country, motivated to work harder than ever to assist my husband in reaching it with the gospel. But that’s not what I was thinking when the second major earthquake came to wreak its particular havoc.

I found myself studying language in the one building I said I would NOT want to be in if another earthquake rocked the valley. At first, we did as we had during subsequent aftershocks. We sat stiffened, eyebrows raised, waiting for it to pass. It only got stronger. Gathering in the hall, we heard the prayers of terrified Hindus that we knew fell on deaf ears. I stood behind my husband, clutching his chest, undoubtedly leaving claw marks over the place that holds his now pounding heart. I buried my face in his back, holding my breath until the floor resigned to a sway.

I sighed in relief, thankful the Lord heard the prayers I couldn’t utter. This time, I knew, that if the death toll grew, it could have had my name on it. Because of Christ, I was ready, which could not be said for the those with whom I huddled.

Have you ever feared for your life in a scary situation such as this?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

Living in a Season of Storms — November 1, 2015

Living in a Season of Storms

I have found that there isn’t always a calm before the storm. Some storms rage, knocking us off our feet, destroying everything we have worked to accomplish. Others are quiet and steady altering or otherwise delaying plans we have made. Living in a season of storms demands a faith I never thought I would need and could never muster on my own. In these times, the Lord provides a peace that truly shames worldly wisdom.

Visa Denial.
Change of field.
Culture shock.
Earthquakes.
Loss of home.
Language discouragement.
Landslide.
A scary ER trip.
Country-wide shortages of essential supplies.

And all in 9 months! It’s only by God’s grace we’ve made it through all of this with our sanity somewhat intact. It’s not that we have experienced anything majorly tragic, (and, oh, how I thank God for that!) but even the seemingly endless trickling of trial that just won’t subside takes its toll day after day. Sometimes, I find myself longing for a more uneventful existence, but I know that among the seated and satisfied is not where the Lord does His great work! Keeping that in mind from one storm to the next is the hard part. I am praying for calm, but preparing for a storm. Looking back, I am comforted seeing how He has provided all I have needed to weather each storm, and it is with this knowledge I can persevere with the work He has given me to do. And not only to carry on but to find joy, to see the Light as I struggle to keep my head above water, and, perhaps, help others see It too as they search for something…anything…to keep them afloat.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Have you experienced a similar season of storms in your life?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

30 Day Challenge: Introduction — October 29, 2015

30 Day Challenge: Introduction

I will be writing one blog post a day during the month of November. Since arriving here in Kathmandu, Nepal, I have experienced and learned so much. For 30 days, I will be sharing these experiences, some life-changing, others not so much, with you. Each post will begin with one of the following:

  • I have found…
  • I have feared…
  • I have failed…

I invite you to see through my eyes the life I never dreamed I’d have.

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