Search

Modern Missionary Mamas

Because Christ is our all in all, all over the world.

Missionary Mamas Podcast?

jonathan-velasquez-160775

So ever since I posted my plea to have you send more submissions, I’ve been thinking: we want more wisdom from more women, right? So maybe I should just interview them. Would you gals be into a Missionary Mamas podcast? It probably wouldn’t be with any regularity (#momlife), but I’ve got a few ladies in mind who I think would make wonderful guests.

What would you want to ask them? Weigh in here!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/X2BCQSF

Photo by Jonathan Velasquez on Unsplash

Featured post

Transition! Change!

The Fine Line Between Expat Chaos and Rhythm

Four Ways Missionaries Can Leave Well For The Field

I know lots of you are in transition as you’re heading back overseas from a summer in your country of origin…these may hit home.

You’ve got this, mama.

Motherhood (is) Ministry

Do you ever want to give your younger self a good slap? I do. Often. But in particular, in the area of homemaking, I had it so wrong. I’m downright ashamed now.

Yes, someone else can make the beds and mop the floors, and for many of us, the people who do this are essential and they’re extremely grateful for the work. But there’s more to homemaking than just cleaning, right? God’s changing my heart on this. Especially overseas, making a space that feels comfortable and feels like home is a full-time job.

Did you catch that? It’s a full-time job. And if you can work outside the home and do two full-time jobs, I applaud you. But I can’t. And I remember the first time I judged a missionary mama who told me she was a homemaker. Man, I judged her so hard I’m amazed she didn’t fly across the room. What a waste; doesn’t she have house helpers?

Like I said, Former Me needed a good slap.

Nobody’s going to love this family like I do. Nobody’s going to drive all over town looking for backpacks for the first day of preschool or leave love notes on his keyboard. Nobody’s going to make pizza I can’t eat every Friday. Nobody else knows their great hates and secret loves and how to bless them in deeply authentic ways like you do, mama. No babysitter, no dishwasher, no chauffeur replaces your care and your influence, the calming effect your very presence can have. (Kids, keep it down, I’m trying to have a calming influence over here.)

Do not undervalue what you do.

noah-hinton-172343

But I get it: this is a hard job. Little children are especially tiring, and lots of days, I’m pretty sure I’m screwing them up so bad they won’t come to visit me in the missionary retirement home when I’m old and shriveled. Because they can’t. Because they haven’t gotten time off for good behavior.

This is when you need a mantra. A catchphrase. An anthem, if you will. Weed out any lies that are playing on repeat and replace it with something true. For a while, mine was “God knows what I am.” God knows what I am, and he still gave me these kids, this husband, this life. He still loves me. He still blesses me. He doesn’t condemn me.

And as goofy as it sounds, I have a playlist for days when I just can’t mother anyone without some stiff encouragement. (Coffee doesn’t do it for me.) So I’m sharing it with you. They’re not particularly special, but they help me get my warm fuzzy feelings back about my family. Except the first one. The first one is just for dancing. (Also, I didn’t watch the videos, I just know the songs. But how weird could they be, right? ….right? You were warned.)

Bulletproof by Citizen Way

John Harrison by The Brilliance

I get to be the one by JJ Heller

The Wine We Drink by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

Boat Song by JJ Heller

You’ll Always be my Girl by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

It’s Not Over Yet by For King and Country

One of my coworkers poured out her heart on her blog this week about this same topic, and I love the conclusion she’s coming to: “After two years of striving and pushing, I’ve come to a place of growth in my journey where I no longer want to strive to prove something; I simply want to be at rest as the woman God made me. I’m choosing to be Mary at rest at our Lord’s feet instead of Martha striving her hardest to win approval unsuccessfully. Later, if God makes it possible to start this ministry outside of me striving to get it done, then to Him be the glory; for now, I am going to rest at His feet and do the most important ministry He has already given me – our home and family.”

Bravo, mama. I’m right behind you.

Learning Faithfulness When My Missionary Story Went South

https://www.imb.org/2017/07/19/faithfulness-god-story-went-south/

I love this mama’s transparency. It’s so easy to focused on our own agenda and forget that God’s writing their story.

 

Another Missionary Mama blog!

Hey, they do what I do! And probably better, let’s face it.

http://moreformissionarymoms.blogspot.com/

Workarounds: Shipping Labels

Living overseas can be tricky. Especially when you just want to print a shipping label but the U.S. government knows you’re not in the United States, but what it doesn’t know is that your box is going to be carried to the United States tomorrow, and you don’t want to have to reimburse some kind acquaintance for an indeterminate amount of money and trust that they’re going to remember the address you gave them correctly.

This, mamas, requires what we call “a workaround.”

PayPal will let you print a USPS shipping label, and they don’t care where the heck you are. Pay for it, print it, affix to the package, DONE. That way, you can put it in your new friend’s hands, confident that the shrug you just spend two months knitting will actually get to your mom, as long as they don’t lose it or forget about it in their luggage.

The only hiccup might be that you have to also indicate the date you intend to ship it, and depending on how many stops your friend is making, it might be a while. Still, it’s probably better that entrusting it to whatever postal service might be available to you.

https://www.paypal.com/shiplabel/create/

No one wants to bag leaves alone

https://supportraisingsolutions.org/no-one-wants-to-bag-leaves-alone-the-vital-role-wives-play-in-support-raising/

Are you letting your husband run the show when it comes to support raising? Maybe re-think that…

 

Scrapbooks Not Required

Mamas, meet my friend Tina. We were in Bible study together here in Haiti, and her words have spoken comfort to my soul for many years now. And now, she’s graciously agreed to share some wisdom with you, too! Enjoy. 

When we came home for a year between stints in Niger, West Africa, I went to my best friend’s house where she showed me the beautifully detailed scrapbooks of her two girls. Each page had typical American experiences including July 4th parties, dressing up, T-ball, church retreats. Being a world away from enhancing your child’s memories with coordinated stickers, I started to feel weirdly disconnected until I started to cry. My poor friend was wondering what kind of strange I’d turned into when I blurted out, “My kids will NEVER have those kinds of experiences!”

jens-johnsson-121803.jpg

I thought about how hard it was just to get their clothes clean, how they had no idea about movies and concerts their stateside peers were watching, and the fact that instead of neat uniforms and baseball leagues, they played soccer with a duct-taped flat ball in the street.  Their Wodaabe peers were finding wives at 14 and their missionary kid friends were just as clueless about the states as they were.  My children were in a “youth group” made up of maybe 10 people ranging from 6-18 and I remember their Sunday nights together involving games of Sardines.

belle-maluf-285414.jpg

Would they ever be able to make it back in the States? Would they be impossibly out of touch?  Had I failed them?

My friend said something suitably comforting, and I moved on, but still struggled with doubts about our move to the Sahara with three sweet kids, and then later, to Haiti with my youngest, a girl of fourteen at the time.

The typical comment most missionaries say is, “They have a much richer life and perspective.  They will thank you for the differences later.”  I can agree with this, but like everything, it’s more complicated.  Sometimes, they felt isolated and didn’t understand why certain things were so important. “Why does it matter if I wear shoes here? I don’t understand why people won’t just say what they mean. Who cares if my pants are this length? What’s funny to them isn’t funny to me.”

Sometimes they felt superior or inferior or just weird. Helping them through that wasn’t always fun. Again, doubts. Did we let them down?

Fast forward to three married kids, one with his own children. The long view back over the years is a luxury I don’t take lightly.

My overwhelming sense now is simply that God helped them. He brought people along who taught them how to make the culture leap, interpreters and patient friends who could bridge the gap. He gave them a groundedness and faith that was vibrant enough to withstand the isolation. They became very insightful about American culture and good at navigating it while holding on to their early experiences.  And they became good friends to each other and to us.  And they DID end up able to enjoy July 4th celebrations, league baseball and dances.

The same one who called us, called and sustained our kids. As they allowed Him to direct and love them, they grew into beautiful whole people. I think about those days as a young mom and wish I could have patted my hand and said, “It’s truly going to be alright, scrapbooks or not.”

Consider your hand patted, mamas. Mine included. 

Village Visits

Village Visits: Five Realistic Expectations for Yourself

I don’t think this gal is a missionary (or even a mama!), but I love her perspective on crossing cultures. She unpacks her own cultural baggage so well. She finds ways to be helpful, even when being “like them” is impossible. She learns not to compare their abilities or experiences, but just be present. What a gift to herself! And her husband, too, I’m sure.

Happy Monday, ladies!

Jackpot!! Got this for FREE from a friend today. Get ready, mamas, because missionary motherhood was just as ridiculous in 1957 as it is today.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑