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Modern Missionary Mamas

Because your Redeemer lives.

My first devotional is here!

Hi mamas!

First of all, happy belated Resurrection Sunday. I hope you were able to celebrate and rest with your families, whatever that looked like for you. For us, it looked like deviled eggs (which my kids were just SURE were ‘doubled eggs’), plastic-egg-hiding, too much sugar, exuberant church sweating, significant sports-watching and kicking back to read. Good day.

Now, down to business: my first devotional is ready to be shared! I’m really excited about this. I’ve gotten some good feedback from a few people whom I’ve shared it with already, and I hope it’ll be a blessing to you.

In that vein, I’m going to go ahead and release it for free to you, dear mamas, for the rest of April. So spread the word! Re-post, blog it, tweet it, Instagram it, forward it on to a friend or colleague now! It’ll go up on Amazon after that, and while it won’t be expensive, free is better. (We know this, mamas. Free is always better.)

There’s three formats available:

  • Mobi: You can read this on a Kindle or in the Kindle app on your phone or computer.
  • Epub: This is what you want for any other e-reader (Nook, Kobo, etc.)
  • PDF: This is what you want if you just want to read it on your computer, most likely. It’s the most flexible, but not the prettiest way to read it. (Yes, I really just said that. I know. I know.)

Each day also has a link to a worship song, so it may be helpful to have a version that works on your phone or tablet, rather than an e-reader. Just something to keep in mind.

It’s also going to ask for your email–that’s just so that I can follow up with you and let you know if I do another one. It’ll be easy to unsubscribe if it gets annoying, and I’ll never give it out to anyone. I promise.

Here’s the link: BookHip.com/ZXRPHT

This was a labor of love for you, mamas. You’ve got this (book).

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MMM Podcast Episode 2: International Travel with Small Children

Here’s how to listen:

-Right in this post! Just click play. You can also download it from here. (Amazing, eh? I know your internet stinks, mamas; I’ve got your back.)

-On Soundcloud. They have a nice app for your phone and if you add to a playlist or a station, you’ll always see when a new one’s posted (I think). And please, if you like it, hit like and share it! Let’s spread the word.

And if you’ve got more questions for me, don’t miss out on our first Twitter chat! Here’s the post on that, in case you missed it. 

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Friendships on the Field: Ghosts

My house is haunted.

An old chair stacked with books and a plant sits next to a bed, with tea and a candle.
Photo by Viktoria Alipatova on Pexels.com

I’m sitting in Karen’s chair, writing this blog post. Amy’s fan is blowing on me, keeping me cool. Chris’s Kindle sits next on my desk. I look out the window at Liz’s plants, basking in the sunshine. Behind me, my daughter is sitting on the futon, which I actually bought new, but is now so old and funky that it requires extra padding to be sit-able. Ara made the padding when she crashed at our house while we were on furlough. The tiny kid chair I bought from Jennifer is acting as a table for her glass of milk.

Don’t get me started on all the books on my bookshelf…or the dishes and gadgets in my kitchen…or the clothes in my closet. Without even moving, I can touch things that have belonged to many, many friends, and this is a strange reality of missionary life: they leave, and you live on…with their stuff.

Some of it I’ve got because I wanted it (the piano, for sure). Some of it I’ve got because they needed it gone (spices. Always spices). But it all has some kind of attachment, some kind of significance. That’s what I mean by living with ghosts: most of the time, when I turn on the fan, I don’t think about the pressed, painful way Amy had to leave. But sometimes I do. Most of the time, I don’t think about how much I miss Liz when I put on my denim cargo pants. But sometimes I do.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I have no procedure, no plan for exorcising these ghosts. As far as I can tell, they’re not going anywhere. I share this as a warning only: if an object–a rocking chair, a rubber spatula, a book on the cross-cultural communication–is being offered/foisted/forced upon you and it is going to have a bad association for you, here is what you do:

“I’m sorry, I don’t have a space for that.”

You don’t have to explain yourself. You don’t have space for it: in your head, in your heart, in your house, in your life. That’s all. If she asks why, just shrug and smile. And if this is too hard, mama, I give you permission to throw it out when she’s gone. Even if she’ll find out. Even if she might visit. Burn it in the backyard if you need to. Don’t let yourself be haunted by anyone but those who loved you best. That’s hard enough to endure as it is.

This is my one consolation: I know they’ll never leave suitcases. 🙂

Happy Monday, mamas, if it’s still Monday where you are. Tell us about your ghosts if you’ve got time.

You’ve got this.

#momhack Monday: Meal stacking

Just a quick one for you that’s been a money and time saver for me: I call it stacking your meals.

This is my meal plan this week. I’m doing chicken soup and chili next to each other, because I always have leftover corn bread and it tends to get moldy if I don’t plan to eat it.

The leftover rice on Tuesday will go into the soup on Wednesday. I can’t eat pizza, so I’ll plan enough chili to have leftovers for me on Friday so I won’t feel deprived.

Does that make sense? Do you plan your meals? Is this a strategy you could use?

If you need a form to help you, I’ve got one for you here. (No, I didn’t use the form. Someone stole my wet erase pens. 🤨 And when I find out who…)

Travel hacks!

Some of these were pretty good–that hanging sweater thing that fits in your suitcase is *genius.* Although in my experience, that material disintegrates in the tropics, FYI.

Patagonia

Photo by Eric Carlson on Unsplash

Good news, mamas. I have decided to move to Patagonia.

It’s in Chile.

Why? Oh, you know. Haven’t you ever wanted to pick up and move somewhere serene? Picturesque? So isolated no telemarketer or creditor would ever find you? Don’t lie, mamas, I know you’ve thought about it.

My family? I haven’t decided yet. They can probably come. They’re pretty great, most of the time.

Photo by Hector Marquez on Unsplash

But here are some things that won’t be coming with me to Patagonia:

  • People who come over to show me the blood coming out of their ears, even after I said not to.
  • People who bang on my gate at 6 AM to pick up money that their former employer sent for them.
  • Anyone who calls with work during dinner.
  • Flaky electrical systems.
  • The domestic abusers living next door.
  • Headaches of all kinds.
  • Racism
  • Motorcycles
Photo by Leo Furiolo on Unsplash

When I was a little girl, Australia was my Patagonia. I was going to move there the first chance I got; I poured over maps, touching cities with names like Queensland and Adelaide. How foolish I was to think that it could ever compare. How foolish to think that Australia could hide me from my problems.

But Patagonia? I think Patagonia’s got what it takes.

Patagonia has penguins, mamas. It has penguins and mountains and hiking. Who could be depressed in Patagonia? It seems downright impossible.

Photo by guille pozzi on Unsplash

See? Even the stars shine brighter in Patagonia.

Resisting restoration

I don’t know about you, but I do my best thinking when I do menial tasks.

So this morning, while turning my compost, I got thinking about the idea of restoration.

In my country of origin, if something breaks, I usually throw it out and replace it. On the field, I fix it, mend it, tape it.

In my country of origin, if someone hurts my feelings, it is often easier to just avoid the person, ignore them. On the field, they’re probably my co-worker or one of my only friends. That’s harder to avoid.

And sharing the Gospel with anyone, anywhere, is ultimately an act of attempted restoration: “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Darling, we say, he wants you back so bad. You broke the relationship, He’s fixed it. Come home. Come back. 

You live in countries with broken governments, broken economies, broken families.

Even in my parenting, I see where a restoration mindset could help. Shift my thinking from “how do I get this kid to do what I want him to?” to instead “how I help this kid see his family and God accurately? Because his attitude says that he doesn’t. How do I restore the love in his heart, so that he wants to do right?”

letyourmindwander.

Maybe I can’t. It’s not all on me, these problems are complicated. But I think some of the resistance in my own heart to different facets of my ministry is really just a resistance to restoration. To the messy. To stripping off the old paint that doesn’t belong, to finding the original sprockets and gears, putting them back on, to get back this object’s, this person’s original glory. The glory that reflects the goodness of their Creator.

I’m going to try to yield to that this week…I’m going to try to ask God to restore broken things, in my own life, in the lives of those around me, instead of despairing or throwing up my hands or grumbling or running away. I have benefited from his commitment to restoration more than anyone…you wouldn’t recognize me, mamas, apart from my Savior. I can’t forget that.

Does this change your perspective? What’s God teaching you this week?

“I thought I’d be doing something amazing…”

“I thought I’d be doing something amazing…”

Another great article from A Life Overseas. Expectations can sink us…unless we learn to swim. 🙂

You’ve got this, mamas.

Out of reach

bruno-nascimento-255699-unsplash

I’ve been walking with some other mamas through tough roads lately. There’s always seasons of that, but this has been a particularly long one, and from every side, or so it feels. And there’s one thread that’s connected all these situations…

“I NEED X for my kid/nephew/sister…and it’s out of reach.”

Why isn’t God moving? Why am I being stymied at every turn? Why does it seem like the opposite of my prayers is happening; why does it feel like I’m only going backwards?

It’s hard to sing those songs about how God never lets us down in those seasons, isn’t it, without feeling like a hypocrite? Like a fake? Maybe you do feel let down, even if history will prove otherwise.

All I could say to comfort them was this:

“Someday, you will have a testimony, a story to share with this child. Someday, you will be able to tell him that you literally walked through hell to prove your love for him. And God gave you the grace and strength to do it, even if you didn’t to it perfectly.”

Valleys have their place. Walking through them sucks, but I urge you to find physical ways to remember that even when what you need is out of reach, your faith is not out of reach. I know, it’s stretched thin, but it’s there, and even paper-thin, it has an Author and a Finisher, and you can trust Him.

After all, He walked through hell for you, too, and came out the other side a High Priest who could empathize with any struggle. Talk to Him, mama. He hears you, I promise he does. The strongest women I know have figured out how to keep doing what God wants them to do, even when He’s not doing what they want Him to do. And you will, too.

You’ve got this.

The three wiser women

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