Free mental health evaluation

You’d get a physical check up for your body, right?

And you’d tune up your car? You know, change the oil, rotate the tires…

So getting a mental health check up is like that. Kick the tires of your mind a little and make sure you haven’t got a flat you didn’t know about.

To Her Own Master

I want to weigh my words here carefully. I can feel the landmines around this topic…and I like my feet the way they are. So I’ll try to tread carefully, but…bear with me here. We may blow something off.

A verse from Romans 14 has been running through my head lately:

Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master[a] that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

As part of the church, we are seen as a unit by God: we’re the bride of Christ, collectively. We have a group identity. And we’re supposed to hold each other accountable for walking with God with love in the front of our minds and hearts.

However, we’re also individuals who make choices. Some of you have made the choice or in process of making the choice of becoming missionaries. I couldn’t begin to tell you if it’s the right choice for you–it seems to be a very complex, multifaceted one for many women.

But I think back to a church presentation we did in northern Washington when we were just starting to raise support to go to Haiti…we’re up on stage, being introduced, and the pastor throws out his hand toward us, beaming, and says, “Now don’t we wish all our young people would become missionaries like these two?”

And my immediate thought was…”NO.”

This guy wanted to make me a success before I’d even done anything. Just on the virtue of me being willing to be a missionary. But being a missionary doesn’t make me a success, just as being a writer doesn’t. Or a mother. Or a daughter. Or a friend.

And I think this is where some of us get hung up when it’s time for us to leave the field. I’m not trying to say that being a missionary is like any other job–it’s not. It’s unique, not just because of the steep learning curve and the humility of needing financial support. But there’s a strong emotional component for most of us: “The love of Christ compels us.” We didn’t do this for ourselves; we did this for God.

So if we’re NOT doing it, who’s it for?

If I’m leaving the field for my physical health, my mental health, my spiritual health, my family’s needs…does that make me a failure?

I would like to gently suggest that since going to the field did not make you a success, leaving it does not make you a failure. Don’t ascribe too much value to other people’s opinions, supporter or otherwise. You served Christ in Botswana: great. You can serve him just as well in Cleveland, or Taiwan, or San Diego. Because your calling was never to a place: your calling is ultimately to Christ. He directed you there, but you needn’t stay there to honor Him. I’m not suggesting that you break your commitments, but I am suggesting that you not equate your commitment with loyalty to Christ. He is the Master to whom you stand and fall, and he sees you as righteous because of His sacrifice: let that be the yardstick of your success.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put strawberry toothpaste on someone’s toothbrush.

You’ve got this, mamas.

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).

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?

Out of reach

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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.

Wise Words Wednesday: 11:59

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And the Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen and troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude. They came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns, and some Hebrews crossed the fords of the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?”

A week is a long time to wait.

I’d have to be pretty darn desperate to hide in a tomb, but facing troops like the sand on the seashore? That’d do it.

Saul missed out on God’s blessing by minutes. By seconds.

This is your reminder to wait a little bit longer, because those final seconds on that ticking clock still belong to your God, not to you. Give Him latitude to act. Let Him have every opportunity, instead of snatching it away from Him when your feelings get hurt because He’s taking too long.

My friend J came to the gate. His mom died last year; his dad is not well. Needed money for school, and it hadn’t been sent yet. He knew he might not get to continue, and I hurt with him. I felt helpless. I gave him the gift of conversation, then remembered that I had some leftovers I could share with him. On the way in, I prayed for him. He drank the cold water I offered, handed back the tin cup. I sighed a lot. Then as I came back inside, David happened to check his email. “Oh, that school money came in.”

How fast do you think I can get to the gate? Well, when properly motivated by a perfect gift given at the perfect time for a young man who needed that perfection in his life, pretty darn fast. We laughed together, relieved. Joyful over the gift God gave because we asked. If I hadn’t stopped to grieve with him, hadn’t stopped to share, he would’ve been gone by the time it came in. Yes, he would’ve still gotten it…but it wouldn’t be the same.

I’ve been listening to Lauren Daigle’s new album on repeat lately. There’s a lot of battles being fought all around me, and I just need a reminder that God comes to the rescue. Not that he does my will, but that he cares.

He will show up for you, mamas.

In your kids’ educations.

In the transitions to a new program, a new home.

In your marriage.

In your friendships.

In your loneliness, in the losing.

Just wait. Don’t try to solve it yourself. Saul missed it by minutes, and as a result, he lost everything.

God will act when it’s obvious that only He could, when there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that all hope seems lost; that’s His moment. He does it to increase your faith, to give you a moment like a souvenir to touch when the next trial comes.

I love you, mamas. You’ve got this.

In the Word Wednesday: Your faith heals

18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. – Matthew 9:18-22

I find that a lot of missionary mamas I talk to have some sort of chronic health problems. It’s really prevalent, and I could speculate for a whole post about why that is…but it’s In the Word Wednesday, not Please, Bore us with Conjecture Wednesday.

She thought she had to steal her healing. She thought she had to sneak up on it, thought she wasn’t important enough for him to stop for her. And realistically? All the men gathered around Jesus would’ve thought so, too.

She still held out hope, after twelve years. I’ve been sick for ten years, and my sinful heart cries out “How?” How did she not give up hope? How did she not lay down and die, if only inwardly? I don’t know for a fact, but I suspect her hope ebbed and flowed. I’m sure she despaired many times.

I think that fact alone should inform us about the kind of person Jesus was, the kind of God he is, even now. Put yourself in his presence, and dead things will come back to life. Hearts of stone begin to beat again. Do you need hope today? For those you minister to, for your kids, for your marriage? Or even for yourself? You don’t have to steal it; you’re not bothering Jesus. You can look full in his wonderful face and ask Him, without shame, without guilt.

And that faith will heal the broken parts of your life; maybe not in the timing you wanted or the way you wanted. But you can believe it; your faith is not for show.

Father, please show this woman your compassionate love. Let her faith heal her, too. Grow it, fertilize it, water it, nourish it. Let her feel your pleasure when she seeks your attention. Let her know that you love to give it to her, that she is no burden to You.