Thursday, April 26, 2012

Living in the Mess

For those of you who know us, you probably think we've been accustomed to living in a "mess" for a long time.  It seems since we left our corporate jobs 4 years ago, things have always had a flair of messy to it.  
But for those of you who have set foot onto Zambian soil, you have a little glimpse into our lives... the demands, the never-ending need, and the unpredictable situations that often determine your day. 

The unique challenge that we have is our house location is right in the middle of endless opportunity for ministry. We are only a half mile from say... Sweet T's house, and about 10 others. We are right on the edge of the compound, so we are accessible when need arrises.  Now, I personally love that.  I don't want to be so far removed that we can't fully be a part of their lives.  However, it has certainly presented its challenges.  

There really could be several blog posts stem from this one... "Marrying Compassion and Empowerment in Ministry"... "Setting Healthy boundaries in Missions"... "Motherhood and Missions= a place for both"... I could go on and on! 

I'm not going to elaborate here... maybe someday. But here are some of the things we are doing to attempt to live in the mess well... not withdraw from it. 

1.  Boundaries: The Mr. and I have to consistently judge and share with each other on how we are doing in setting appropriate boundaries that a. protect our time with the Lord b. Protect our time with each other c. Protect our time with our children. *That our first job is to protect our marriage and our children* 

2. Having set Family Days:  We struggle more with this, but we have Tuesdays and Thursday evenings set aside as ONLY family. During the holiday and with teams, it's kinda hard to preserve that, but we do our best to call it later in the week if it gets missed. 

3.  Having Rules about when the farm house is "Open for visitors" and when it isn't. And holding the kids to some clear rules when they are here. 

4. For me, to realize that God's gifted me a certain way, and that isn't a mistake, but a blessing.  He's equipped me to do certain parts of this ministry, not all of it. I could elaborate, and will, on how this has impacted the way I function as a wife, mom, and someone in missions.  

5.  We can't do it all.  We are not the solution to these people's problems.  Jesus is.  We can only do what He has called us to.  Jesus didn't heal everyone, although he had the power to do so.  Which means God must give us wisdom in how to move and act each day. 

These are the areas that are necessary for living in a place where those you love bring their heartache, their baggage, etc. to your doorstep.  Honestly, it is a daily struggle to continue to keep these boundaries and order in place.  You can pray for us in these areas so that we are able to Live well in the mess.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Inviting in brokenness...

Brokenness... it's becoming a friend I can embrace. Sometimes my heart wants to just cry to Jesus "NO MORE BROKENNESS!"

I read a blog post here, and my favorite part of the post says this:

"When we love people, we invite their brokenness and mess into our lives. Mess is inconvenient; it takes our time, energy, and sometimes money to make it better. Despite our efforts, the mess can not be fully containted. It spills over and touches the people who dare to stand near."

That concept can seem so scary. To knowingly invite in brokenness. Isn't that completely against what we've been taught? Everything we do... from Kindergarten upwards... is to ensure you have a "comfortable"... "presentable" life.

Be well educated= go to college= get a good job with lotsa $$$
Surround yourself with good upstanding people = so other's don't pull you down
*certainly don't go to that side of town* etc...

It's true... "when we LOVE". Well, there it is. Do we really love?

We've found ourselves in the midst of many, many children that we love. And therefore, their mess has come our way.
Some messes are:
*kids showing up after being chased... and staying for a bit.
* Dealing with issues like: pornography, jealousy, and someone said "hyper individualism", poverty mindset, abusive parents, hunger, abandonment, etc.
*Crying for and with a mother whose 7 month old baby died of a preventable disease.

Just yesterday, we dropped a sick baby off at the clinic and my 4 year old said "Mom, why do they not go to our doctor?" (we attend the best doctor in town... it's expensive even for us... talk about a life lesson at the age of 4.)

It's kinda messy. It's inconvenient, and it certainly take energy! Often times Satan wants us to believe that it's not worth it... or we aren't making a bit of difference because these issues listed aren't resolving. The mess will never be contained this side of heaven. And their brokenness becomes yours if you dare to stand near.

Now... this isn't something that only Africa provides an opportunity for. Brokenness is everywhere. Are you daring to stand near?

(next post will be Living in the Mess... something we are trying to learn!)


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Often times, I hear others voices inside my head (no, I'm not talking mental health issues, don't pull out the DSM IV)... who sometimes try to convince me that Africa is somehow offering Less to my children than they deserve...need...or whatever...

If Africa is less... then less is more in my book...


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy Week + Real Life

Today, Maundy Thursday, of our Holy Week... The reflection of the KING as servant. And the anticipation of the worlds greatest need met. And yet, creation continues to groan for the return of our great King.

Today started out with great pain here on the farm. I have the privilege of seeing some amazing women work hard for their families each day, as our home is located smack dab in the middle of Lifesong's Strawberry Farm. When we first moved... I met a young woman with a 2 week old baby tied to her back! She was working in the fields. I grew to enjoy seeing the baby, and sometimes holding it and making her laugh (or scaring her with my white skin...haha) The baby has been sick off and on. Even last week she came to our home at lunch asking for some food for the baby. Just last night, her baby met Jesus. Everyone on the farm is grieving. Not just for the loss of a sweet life here, but for S... her mother. You see, S's husband died 2 months before the baby was born. So in the last year, she has lost her husband and her baby girl.

And creation groans.

We continued on with our end of term awards and party. Here is what I saw:

#1 student in grade 1: Searching for a parent to get his award, fighting back tears... alone.

2 boys close to my heart asking "who will get my certificate with me?"

The rawness of orphan life. Those who are "vulnerable" are the blessed ones today. Because today I saw children SEARCHING for someone to share in their achievement, someone to applaud them, someone to walk with them to get their awards. So, today... I was the "stand in" mom.

And while that is ok... creation groans.

I saw young men who live on campus, being abandoned by their families, receive awards... yet their distant relatives will come quickly to collect the awards with "pride" despite not seeing, visiting, nor caring for these children on a monthly basis... much less a daily one.

And creation groans.

I saw a boy who had been abandoned at a young age, finally achieve the #1 spot in his class... and with tears in his eyes... he proudly accepted the award with his elderly grandmother.

Now.. that... That is my SUNDAY!

While there is so much brokenness around us... as we groan through the "passion"... we must find the resurrection in this life... the new life He has given us... the HOPE for the next life to come. Redemption is here.