Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Heart is Sad

"Mom, is some other family going to come live in our home?"  my nearly six-old daughter asked me.
"No, honey, we're going to Thailand for six weeks, and then we'll come back.  This is our home," I said in my most assuring voice as I packed the last items into our carry-on.
I knew she was thinking of  our last home, the one we left in California five months ago.  We had made sure the kids saw our apartment empty, so they knew it wasn't home anymore.  We told them that another family would come live there.  Our new home was in China.
"But what if they don't know we're coming back, and they just come in?" she pressed, obviously not convinced.,
I paused in the middle of our get-to-the-airport ordeal to kneel and look into her worried eyes.  "No one will come and take our home.  You don't need to worry.  We'll lock the door, and it will be here when we get back."
"Maybe we should put a sign on our door that says, 'A family lives here and is coming back,'" she says.  I mentally add this to my list of "Signs your child is a TCK."  And I picture her telling this story to her counselor someday.
Moments later, we're in a van pulling away from our building.  My son suddenly starts freaking out in grand three-year-old tantrum style, lashing out at his sister next to him.

Keep reading over at Velvet Ashes...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

On Friendship, Status and the Walls Between

It should be enough. But it isn't.
Our faith and our womanhood should be enough to bond us to one another, enough to join our lives to journey together.
But all too often walls are built between us.  Status stands in the way.
She's married.  She's not.
She's got kids.  She doesn't.
She's older.  She's young.
She's like me.  She's ... not.
When my family and I left China to go back to the States for a two year study leave, we moved to a place we'd never lived before.  We had to build our friendships and social life from scratch.  After five years on the field, five years of having our social life determined by the teammates that were chosen for us, I was rather looking forward to a wide range of friendship options to choose from myself.
So we found a church, a Sunday school class, a small group, a MOPs group.  After a few months, I looked around and something struck me.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Waiting for the "Some Day" to Share My Voice

I used to think that the time to share my voice would come later.  It was that elusive "some day." Some day...when I have more life tucked under my belt, when the kids are older, when I have more time, when I've had more training, then perhaps I'll  have something of value to share.
So I held back, waiting for the "some day."
Then I read about some women, some real-life hero/mentor kind of ladies.  These women were living in the "some day" of my imagination.  Their kids were grown and gone, they had years of living and learning to draw from.  Surely, they had people knocking down their doors, lining up to drink from their wells of wisdom.
But no.
These ladies were lamenting that they feel like they are too old, too out of touch, too out of style to be wanted, to be needed.
So they too hold back, feeling like their day has passed them by.
That's when I saw it.  That's when it all clicked...

Read the rest over at Velvet Ashes.  We're at The Grove sharing on the prompt "Voice."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Letter to My High School Self

Dear Me,
I see you there standing in the high school conference auditorium.  Your hands are lifted high in worship.  The anticipation is beating in your heart..  You know it's coming.  They are going to make the altar call for those who want to commit to serving the Lord full time.  You've thought and prayed this through.  You know in just a moment you'll be walking down the aisle.
Perhaps while you're at the front, I'll slip in quietly and place this letter on your chair.  Some words for you to hang on to through the years that follow this night.
I know what this  means to you.  Tonight is a mark of surrender in your soul, an altar of acceptance.  You're grabbing hold of God's hand to say, "I'll go where you lead."
So I'll not keep you from that stage tonight.  Because it's going to be powerfully life changing for you.  But even in holy, anointed moments, lies can creep in.  And I'd like to keep you from this lie....
Read the rest over at Velvet Ashes.  We're sharing our Letters to Self today at The Grove.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My One Word for 2014

When your One Word finds you, it’s really no use fighting it.  For some reason, I still did.  I listed all the reasons why it shouldn’t be my word.

Reason #1: That’s Jessica’s word
Reason #2: …uh…well…um….

Ok, FINE!  I give in.  It’s my word.

Like Jessica, I’m coming out of a year on Fearless.  I went into last year ready to do battle with Fear.  But I’m coming out of that year realizing that fear is not something to fight.

I found this nugget of wisdom coming out of my own mouth when addressing my five-year old:  “Is fighting a good choice?  Does fighting make things better or worse?”  Cue my own light bulb.

This year, I’m feeling called to embrace WHAT COMES.

For me that means not fighting against fear or stress or worry, because that’s really just fueling those fires.   

Embracing means acknowledging the realities of fear, stress and worry in my life. 

Embracing means examining which of these I’m meant to live with and which ones I can say, “This is our goodbye hug.”

Some things are here to stay, and that’s OK. 

A TED talk showed me studies on how stress is not the enemy.  It’s our attitude towards stress that makes a difference.  I’m the kind of person can stress out about being stressed out. 

So this year, I’m ready to embrace.  I want to roll with the stresses, the plane rides, the jet-lag, the child tantrums, the sloooow internet, the challenges that come with life overseas and little ones and big dreams.  Because these things are all happening this year.  This is the life I’ve chosen and wouldn’t trade.  So rather than fighting the accompanying challenges, I’ve got to accept them.  I can live with challenges or against them.  I want to live with.  

I’m also feeling called to embrace PEOPLE.

I’m shamed to think of all the time I’ve spent thinking, “If only this person would...” 

Newsflash: Trying to change people doesn’t work.  And wishing them to change usually just hurts you and the relationship. 

So this year, I’m setting out to embrace people, just as they are. 

Finally, I want to embrace NOW. 

I often long for stability.  I know, I know, wrong profession for that.  The temporariness that so often accompanies this kind of life can cause a detachment, holding people and things at arms length because you really just never know how long they will be in your life.       

But that’s no way to live. 

This year, I want to fling my whole heart into NOW.  Rather than pining away for stability, wondering how long-term anyone or anything will be, I want to fully embrace all there is NOW.

Because today is all we ever have. 

Here’s to 2014…a year to EMBRACE.  

Linking up with Velvet Ashes at The Grove