What I’ve Learned in 30 Days of Blogging — November 30, 2015

What I’ve Learned in 30 Days of Blogging

I have learned many things in this month I’ve dedicated to blogging. And now, because I’ve somehow lured you here again, I am going to share a few of these things with you!

I have learned that blogging is a DISCIPLINE! I can see that those who run great blogs really have to make a full-time job out of it! Thankfully, I have a better job and this is just fun for me (is that weird? maybe it’s weird…). A commitment to blogging every day was intense and was quickly a source of regret. Daily blogging will not be a regular thing for me!

Sharing on a blog often puts me in a vulnerable position. Sometimes it was so hard to put myself out there. The posts I struggled to share the most were: We’re not in Kansas Anymore and Flexibility and Feelings of Children. But there were many I almost took down immediately!

I have realized that I have more time on my hands than I thought. What was I doing with it before? I enjoyed fewer moments on social media which can be a source of discouragement for me, and I also let some things slide that I thought were important that I realized I held too high and enjoyed a break from!

Facing my thoughts and feelings head on and confronting them with the Word has been a challenging, therapeutic, and transformative process.

God showed his goodness to me in an all new way in that He would use something He was teaching me to influence another person’s life through written word.

I have incredibly supportive friends, family, supporting church staff and members, and husband. I had some friends who read every day! My mom was “that mom” who made sure her friends were reading daily along with her. I heard many an encouraging word from pastors wives and had a couple posts read in church services or printed in a bulletin. Finally, my husband reminded me to write, helped with kids and housework to give me writing time, and patiently waited for me to finish up posts when he wanted to watch a movie or head on to bed. All of this support encourages me to carry on with my real job…missionary mom…and do my best for the glory of God in this country.

To sum it up…blogging every day has been challenging, rewarding, fun, and terrible all at the same time! Thanks for following me on this weird and wild journey of sharing the crazy thoughts that go through my head as I live my life in this strangely amazing place! I’m so thankful for all that the Lord has taught me through it, and I look forward to continuing to share what He continues to do in and through me, my family, and the Lord’s ministry here.

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Have you tried to start or maintain a blog?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

 

 

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How I’ve Found Freedom in My Loss of Independence — November 20, 2015

How I’ve Found Freedom in My Loss of Independence

I have found that a loss of independence can lead to new freedoms.

I can’t drive here. Well, I guess I could if I took the time to learn how to drive a stick-shift. We have practiced around our neighborhood, but I haven’t worked up the nerve to brave the busy streets of Kathmandu where traffic laws cease to exist.

My husband refuses to allow me to drive a scooter. Though I selfishly fight him on this, he clings to his premise that he would like the mother of his children to live to see them grow up. Seems like a reasonable plea.

Though I have grieved it, I am realizing that my loss of independence provides freedoms in many ways.

I am free from the pressure of perfect meal-planning and execution. Paul does our grocery runs out of necessity, and if we don’t have it I just have to work with what we’ve got. I don’t often serve up something pinworthy, that’s for certain. At least once I week I find myself uttering, “Well, looks like fried rice again.” Thankfully, we are all fans.

Since, I am rarely able to shop, I am free from worrying about what I wear. If it’s clean and somewhat fashionable, I wear it. No shopping around for the perfect outfit-completing accessory or that sweater that fits me like a glove. If I like it I better get it now because it will be 6 weeks before I find myself near a decent clothing store again. Now that I think about it, I better get out and get a coat soon before winter is over.

I am free from the pressure of entertaining my children outside of the home. We don’t have the luxuries of a library or a park. Playdates are a thing of the past. We find our fun at home. My kids don’t seem to mind.

I am free from feeling like I have to find this or that around the city. Many people get meat one place, produce at another, bread somewhere else, and so on. I can’t do this. It is not an option. It’s a one stop shop for us. No running around for me, and I really should be happy about that. More time with these cute little squishies I call my children.

I am free from all kinds of things pulling me in every which direction. I can say “no” to a lot of things because I’m really not lying when I say I can’t do it.

My loss of independence has forced me to lighten up…and let me tell you, freedom feels good.

Have you had a loss of independence that led to newfound freedoms?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

 

The Myth of “Me” Time — November 15, 2015

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 — November 14, 2015

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!

From High-school Hallways to the Front-lines of Missions: A Love Story of Sorts — November 11, 2015

From High-school Hallways to the Front-lines of Missions: A Love Story of Sorts

I have found that my husband is everything I thought he would be when we got to the mission field.

He is a fierce picture of perseverance and God’s grace to me and my family. Every day, I see him pore over his Nepali Bible, searching for truths in a strange text. He prepares for sermons he is not yet required to preach. He begs God for opportunities to preach in Nepali and for unbelievers with listening ears. He is not deterred by language goof-ups or unkind words hurled by ill-meaning passers by. He never forgets why we are here, and when I start to lose my focus, he is quick to remind me.

While this man is certainly not without fault, I see God’s grace all over him. God plucked up a 14 year old boy, saved him, and placed a big dream in his heart many years ago. A couple years after, He sparked a friendship with a red-headed young girl. She wanted to serve God too but wasn’t sure what that meant for her. But the Lord knew.

He knew that these two kids would grow into a love that made no sense in the context of high-school. We both loved God more. We were ready to part ways if our relationship did not align with His will for our lives. Thankfully, God allowed us to see the potential of our partnership together, remain pure in our pursuits, and follow the path God had laid out for us.

In our 10 years together, I have watched this boy grow into an amazing man of God. I see God working in his life as he passionately pursues Him which is so comforting to see this in the man that leads my family. Stronger and more enduring than his love for me, his zeal for Christ has stood the test of time and trial. His love for the Lord compels Him to deeply love our family while taking us to the regions beyond to declare His Great Love among the nations.

To me, He will always be my best friend with big dreams, and I’ll always be his lovestruck girlfriend cheering him on. What a privilege I have to help make these dreams a reality and watch them unfold before his wonder-filled eyes!

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand (Psalm 37:23-24).

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Does your love story and marriage show evidence of God’s grace in your life?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

First Term Fatigue — November 10, 2015

First Term Fatigue

I have found that there is no exhaustion quite like first-term, language school with two small children exhaustion. It may be matched by second-term church-planting, but I’ll let you know when we get there.

Post-jet lag, setting up our home and surviving countless earthquakes, we found ourselves struggling to make it to 8:30 each night, the time we perceived to be acceptable without being considered prematurely old. Since arriving in Nepal, our children had decided they didn’t like sleep anymore. My son woke up several times a night, and our 3 year old rarely slept until 5:30.

I have struggled with many physical symptoms none of which are extremely burdensome but enough to make me wonder what is going on. After some significant weight loss and headaches that visited more days than they didn’t, I spoke with a doctor. After talking about the timeline of events and the beginning of my symptoms, it was concluded that stress+sleep deprivation was more than likely the culprit here. In my pride, I fought this diagnosis, feeling that I had done something wrong- not trusted the Lord enough or not maintained a God-honoring attitude.

But the exhaustion-inducing stressful events are still present even if I refuse to wallow in the weird and wildness that has been my life lately. The adrenaline rushes have come, my heart has pounded in my chest, and despite my best efforts, I have worried about the health and safety of my family (not to mention sleep training has been a bust!). While I don’t always dwell on this, as I shouldn’t, the difficulty of fully resting in a place where you don’t belong is real. It is a daily, constant battle in the mind, a struggle to plow on to learn the language in the midst of a country in political and economical turmoil, and it is tiresome.

These days, we burn the midnight oil…until 9 o’clock! I suppose, at least until we get this language learned, we will always have to fight the fatigue. Coffee is on IV drip and Jesus is constantly on-call, and that moment I slip into bed next to my likely already snoozing husband…GLORIOUS. And when I’ve finished the hard fought battle of the day, having done all I can to quiet the mind as I fill it with a strange language…”Thank you, Lord” on my lips, I can, FINALLY rest…for a few hours, at least, until my son wakes up! I know in the morning that I won’t be completely rested and must rely on the Lord to give me the “mmph” I need to press forward…eyes half-shut. And when I. just. can’t. He will provide me with the rest I need. One way or another.

Lord, here I am collapsing in Your arms. Carry me.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matt. 11:28).

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Have you had to cope with exhaustion brought on by the stresses of life?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

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!

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!

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!

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!

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