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Confessions

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When we moved to PNG 14 months ago, I thought I would never lack for blog topics or things to say. But this past year has been difficult to digest and even more difficult to discuss. I had expectations of what missionary work would be like. Those expectations have slowly given way to reality: the good and the bad. I tried to make sure I was as spiritually prepared as I could be, but cross-cultural living brings up more questions about God’s movement in the world than answers. In some ways, I feel further from God, but I also know that He disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6). Discipline doesn’t mean punishment, rather “teaching.” Though this year has not been what I expected and it has been one of grief and change, I am learning so much about myself, my family, God’s work in the world, and my place in it. So, for the sake of remembering some of the teaching God’s doing and (hopefully) learning that I’m doing, here’s a list of some of those things in a (sort of) confessional:

I tho…

Uncrossing Arms

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Uncrossing Arms
Deuteronomy 30:19 …I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life…
Before we came to PNG, I read several blogs about living overseas, missions, and culture shock. I read about what people had experienced when they lived as expats for the first time: the good, the bad, and the unmentionable. One of the things I read in several different blogs was that it takes a year before you really settle into a new place and begin to see it…Honestly, I didn’t believe it. I knew it would be a tough transition, but surely it wouldn’t take a year?! And suddenly, here we are at the end of 10 months and I’ve never been so wrong. As we close in on one year in PNG, I can say without a doubt that it really has taken me this long to begin to uncross my arms. Let me explain a bit.
The first couple of months here, we were surprised at the level of exhaustion we were experiencing. Every single night, we were ready for bed by 8:30 or 9. We seemed to have only en…

The March blog that never was

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This blog has started and been erased a half dozen times. It’s even saved in my computer as “blog March.” But now it’s April and that’s ok.
So, I don’t know about you, but I’m a forgetter. Each time some new crisis or unknown comes along, I get lost in the forest and I’m blinded by the trees. “There’s no way through THIS one,” I think. And the worry and stress take over. The need to change or fix or correct is strong with me. Mostly, it’s the now things: the state of the house, the fight with him, the things that never got done, she’s not eating enough protein, there’s no audiologist here, what if we have a major medical emergency, apathy toward things I should care about, her messy room, no exercise in three days, the laundry mountain hiding in the back, the pile of dishes mocking from the kitchen, the unwritten sermon…
And then, those lead into the bigger worries. Are we doing the right thing for our daughter by living in this country? Is she seeing Jesus in us? Will she grow up no…

Changing the way I think

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I am a feeler, through and through. Justin and I took the Strengths Finder test as part of our missionary orientation, and it became obvious on paper what we already knew: the analytic married the one who wears her heart on her sleeve. In 11 years of marriage, what we’ve discovered is that we have the capacity to complement each other well, but we also have the tendency to be like oil and water if we’re not careful.
So, after a tough month back in PNG after vacation, I was struck hard when I read the paraphrase of the verse above: Romans 12:2 says, “Let God transform you by changing the way you think.” But what about how I feel? Nope. The original says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your MIND.” I’m learning to own the feeler/relator that I am, but sometimes, I know that my feelings betray me. How? Feelings do not always equal truth. Just because I feel something in a moment, whether it is frustration, happiness, sadness, disappointment, or any other of a plethora of emotions, d…