Reframe the Story

 

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So many of us carry memories of brokenness and pain, times when our world felt “upside-down” and we had no hope. We look back on those times and still feel the ache of the scars. But what if out of those places of despair we could see the strength, wisdom and confidence that we gained from those difficult years? What if we could re-frame the story to discover what God did in our hearts and characters in spite of what the enemy meant for evil and destruction?

Would that change our outlook and could we find Joy in the midst of sorrow, pain and conflict? What if the Holy Spirit enlightened us and showed us how much stronger our faith became, deeper our commitments to follow Christ and richer our compassion, understanding and sympathy for others? Could we see that we became less prideful, judgmental and arrogant?

As we heal this is the hope we offer to others from our own experiences in life. It is from this realization and recognition of our common struggles that God can restore us, reframe our stories and enable us to bring comfort to others.

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Relinquishing

 

A prayer/poem composed within our first few months in cross-cultural ministry…

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Lord, empty me further

    though its painful to say-

In order to be effective,

    I can’t stay this way-

Wrapped in my culture,

    steeped in my pride-

You must break me and mould me-

    rip away my tough hide

Until I’m soft and I’m supple

    and easily led

Down a path that brings life

    as I choose “in Christ”

To be dead-

To my own ways,

    holding onto the familiar-

The comfort zone of my heart

    where no one else sees-

Oh Jesus, make me willing

    to die for You

By living a life

    that presently is so foreign,

So remote, so forlorn

    but if I long for Your kingdom to come,

Then again,

    I must be re-born

Transformed anew

    secure in Your love.

Perfect Pastor’s Wife —Not Even

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I awoke with you on my mind. It was a deep, philosophical morning of thinking about years in ministry as a missionary and a pastor’s wife. We served in small places not large cities and those communities leant themselves to scrutiny and exposure. “Living in a Fish Bowl” is what I used to term it. Always wanting to draw others to Jesus Christ because He is worthy of their lives and they are so incredibly valuable to Him.

So I thought of you, my precious sister, fellow missionary who is out there today feeling forgotten, struggling and wondering “Has it been worth it all?” and to still be there again….simply living your life among the people in hopes that they will see in you the beauty of Christ, of forgiveness, joy and peace and the fulfillment that only God can bring to their hearts.

Let’s be honest. They won’t find a Perfect Pastor’s Wife, though some of them will make you feel that you should be beyond sin, mistakes, offenses, and to put it bluntly, beyond being human.

How I long to encourage you today, as one who was once in those very trenches, that the eternal rewards that await you far surpass the trials you are facing. Your present day faithfulness is all that God asks of you. Don’t pick up more burdens and responsibilities than He has asked you to carry….even though it is difficult to say, “No,” to people, you must learn to do it. I find it fascinating that Jesus set the example for us, in that He didn’t heal everybody or meet all the needs. He specifically only did what the Father told Him to do.

Please don’t burn out on the mission field. We need you in the Body of Christ and if you need to take some time today, even if it’s just a cup of tea, coffee or hot cocoa, make some time for yourself. Be good to yourself and to your family. The demands of ministry will always be there. May you have wisdom and grace to know the difference between the need and the call.

Savor the peace that you have in knowing that in Jesus you are loved, forgiven, accepted, wanted and cared for. He walks with you and the Holy Spirit is there to comfort you, even as He guides you when you speak words of comfort over others.

Don’t give up. Though the spiritual battle rages, be reminded that Jesus Christ has already conquered everything that comes against you. Find some good, safe believers and let them in on your life so that you can be mutually encouraged, prayed for and loved. We all need to be strengthened and edified—that’s why God called us to be a Body.

 

Are You Struggling?

I had another profound weekend of stimulating, thought-provoking, challenging conversation that stirred in me the desire to gather the wounded, weary, broken, angry, confused, abandoned, neglected and disillusioned young people into the circle of mentorship, friendship and camaraderie to speak hope into their lives. To Listen to ache of their hearts, to be the “spiritual mother,” if you will, the “older woman” because someone desperately needs to take the Time to care for the ones who silently suffer.

I am seeking those who struggle with “Who is God to me?” The ones who say, “I grew up in church, I know the Bible verses, maybe even I’ve gone on mission trips and been actively involved and on the outside I look really good but on the inside I am hurting…but I can’t tell anyone because then it will look like I’m a fake. Like maybe, I’m not really a believer….I mean….gosh, if I don’t really have it all together, what hope is there for the ones I’m trying and hoping to win to Christ?”

If that is what you feel and where you are today, I want to be here for you. I want to take your hand, give you a hug, and not fill your head with a bunch of worn out “clichés” but to really Listen, to bear your burden, to offer you a heart of compassion, kindness and acceptance and to tell you that together we can walk through these dark places of pain and loneliness and isolation where church for you has felt empty and lifeless and all you want to know and be assured of is that You really do matter and that Jesus Christ really is Who He says He is.

So, if I can help you to draw closer to Him today and to His amazing love and forgiveness for you, dear Friend…that is my desire.