Anyone newer to my blog may not yet know that it’s what I call a “mixed use” blog. I don’t think that’s an official term, but it’s what I call it. 🙂 It’s a place where I share both personal news or stories and information or articles related to my work in the natural and organic field and the home business field.
As such, I have a rather diverse audience – and I love that. Friends, family, new online friends from all over the place – and everyone from all sorts of different backgrounds and perspectives. Again, love that. And you’re always welcome to read what you want, and delete what you don’t. 🙂
This is a personal post. There are two pretty major things going on in my family this year. One, as you may know, is our anticipation of baby #5 in June and our decision to take the home birth journey this time around.
The other is the strong possibility of an overseas move in the next year or two.
For a while now, my hubby has been praying for an open door into more full-time or more formal ministry, and for years now we have both had a desire to serve overseas at some point in our journey through life together. You may recall that our trip to Ukraine last summer was both a “scouting trip” for possible future service and, in the end, a closed door. Shortly after the trip, we began poking around online to see what other opportunities there might be “out there.” We searched the website for Greater Europe Mission (GEM), with whom Fred did his Holland/Austria trip back in 1998, and found that there were a few options that appeared to be a potential fit. And so we began the application process to see if there might be an open door. A few weeks ago, we received our official invitation to become candidates for overseas service with GEM.
For all my dear readers who would not consider yourselves Christian in any way, a little bit of clarification might be in order, as I find many times there are some strong misunderstandings out there surrounding the word “missions.” And it’s totally understandable WHY these misconceptions are so prevalent. The past two thousand years, including people’s every day experiences right now, are riddled with horrid stories of misguided “Christians” carrying out their version of “evangelism” using force, coercion, manipulation, anger, hate, and violence…
I am certain that Jesus Himself weeps deeply over these stories, with great sorrow over how badly people have misunderstood His heart and plan.
And to be perfectly raw and honest, my own dark side rises up in these ways from time to time – most often nowadays when I’m frustrated with my kids over something or another. But each time it does come out, I’m quickly aware of a strong conviction in my heart to ask God to forgive and change me and to apologize to my kids for my wrong attitudes, words, and actions.
Following Jesus is not about somehow thinking you’re better than others or perfect and trying to force others to be “perfect” or “like you.” It’s about being honest and real about one’s own brokenness and wrong doings, confessing those things in grace-filled, loving humility to God and to each other, accepting His sacrificial payment for our sin (another commonly misunderstood and abused word – basically the icky bad stuff we all, if we’re honest, wrestle with in our hearts in various ways) so that we can be set free from the power of our own inner darkness, trusting and seeking Him daily in every area of our lives, and allowing God to work through us to create a world where honesty, humility, compassion, forgiveness, self-sacrificing love for everyone (including enemies), peace, and restoration reign as we all become more like Jesus in these heart-level ways – even if we may all look VERY different in so many outward ways (culture, vocation, personalities, passions, and more).
Thus, “missions” is NOT about forcing anyone to believe anything. It is about living out one’s faith in authentic, genuine, loving, and respectful ways, thereby giving people the opportunity to know and understand who Jesus really was and is – rather than what the media or often misguided church cultures have portrayed Him to be – and letting each person with whom we may interact make his/her own decisions. Ideally, this would happen in the context of real relationships and loving community all over the world.
But in some places in the world, it is very difficult to find the real Jesus represented anywhere. Thus He asks some people to go and be His hands and feet to other parts of the world where His hope for every kind of suffering is not so widely available. And to make a very long (18 year) story short, at this point in our journey, we feel a strong desire to leave our home in the land of “the American Dream” for the sake of sharing with others what we have found to be a far, far greater vision.
We’re eager to see what lies in store and how it will all come together logistically. So many pieces needing to come together still, but we’re sure it’ll all work out somehow. God is always amazing in his artistry and timing. Already, He has woven together so many pieces of the story in some pretty neat ways… As just one example, 10 years ago, we had no kids and thought we’d go and teach in an overseas school somewhere. Now, we have 4 (5 soon) kids, and our skills, passions, and interests “just happen” to have been changed to align so well with some particular needs to which we’re possibly being led… For Fred, it’s the arts, poetry readings, coffee house ministry type things, and for me it’s ethically run, socially and environmentally responsible business. It’s amazing to see how His timing has worked in all these things over the years, so we have no doubt He will continue to work out all the remaining logistics along the journey.
One day at a time. 🙂