Not as those without hope

In my last post I talked about how I have grieved since I’ve been on the mission field. I grieve the loss of lots of different things in my life, but mostly I grieve the loss of the idols of my heart. The idols of safety and security, materialism and greed, comfort…I could go on and on. The idolotry of focusing on the sacrifice and not the blessing,” the mess and not the miracle”  (I totally stole that quote from somebody) sometimes can almost consume me.

There’s so much beauty in the sacrifice. But it is still A Sacrifice.

Sanctification hurts. Dying to self hurts. Being a living sacrifice hurts. And I’m going to tell you I climb off of that altar Every. Single. Day and I grieve the loss when I lay my idols down.

But I don’t grieve as one without hope. (I Thessalonians 4:13)

It’s not just for missionaries or the military or pastors and evangelists. It’s for every single person purchased by the blood of the Lamb.

The grief is ours, but the hope is ours too.

After my last post, I had a dear friend send me a message saying that she was happy to hear that it wasn’t easy for me. It wasn’t because she was happy to see me struggle, but because she just didn’t understand why it was so hard for her when she wasn’t even living on the mission field. And she thought it was easy for us. You know, us “spiritual folk”…

And it made her feel…normal.

Nope, DYING to yourself isn’t going to be sunshine and roses. I would dare say that if you aren’t feeling the pain of taking up your cross DAILY then there just might be something wrong…

Because death just shouldn’t feel good.

Some days I struggle to lay my life down again because I keep crawling right off of that altar.  And I’m not doing anybody any favors by pretending like that isn’t the ugly truth. Those idols are near and dear to my heart and to unclench my tight fists takes a miracle from the Holy Spirit.

A straight miracle.

And sometimes I grieve the loss.

But do you know what all of that does for me? It makes me run to Him.

Sometimes I even run to Him with idols tightly in my hands.

Why?

Because His burden is light, y’all. (You can take the girl out of Mississippi, but…)

Because….And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Because the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Because the One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.

Because the Father is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch you out of the Father’s hand.

Because His love reaches to the heavens, His faithfulness to the skies.

And because whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Because He covers you with his feathers, and under his wings you find refuge.

Because His faithfulness is  your shield and rampart.

And you can say “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Say it. Say it out loud with hope.

He began the work. He will complete it. He doesn’t use us because we’re somehow “worthy”. No, He uses us in spite of ourselves.

Its okay to grieve the loss, but grieve with hope that only comes from the One who can trade beauty for ashes.

Because He is faithful.

 
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When she’s not the good missionary

The other day I was on facebook and saw a missionary friend’s status. It had a picture of her two little children being dropped off for their first day of preschool. The caption said “First day of Preschool. It was rough.” The part that struck me was a comment on the status that said something like, “Why was it rough? They will learn Spanish faster than you!” I haven’t been able to get this off my mind. This comment really bothered me and I’ve been trying to figure out exactly why.

I’m sure this person really meant to encourage or didn’t mean anything at all, but sometimes I think people just don’t get it.

I wanted to comment back to her and say, “It was rough because she has uprooted her children from everyone and everything that they have ever known. It was rough because they had to wave goodbye to their grandparents in the airport and now when anyone says the word “Bye” they burst into tears and she has to ask the person to please wave and say goodbye to them one more time. Or ten. And they still continue to sob. Even if it’s the pizza delivery man. It was rough because they had to say goodbye to their best friends that they will probably, literally, never see again. It was rough because she had to leave all of her friends, support systems, relatives, memories.

It was rough because, more than likely, she wouldn’t have chosen this life. It was chosen for her and everyday she has to submit herself to it.

It was rough because now she is taking her kids to a school where the children and teachers don’t speak English, where she’s afraid that her children might not be able to communicate their needs. And she has to leave them there even if everything inside of her screams to just take them home because she has to go to language school herself. Its rough because she realizes her kids will say painful goodbyes for the rest of their lives. It was rough because she knows they will struggle to fit into the culture in which they live and the culture in which they were born. It was rough because she realizes that they will see their grandparents faces on a computer screen more than they will feel their kisses on their cheeks. It was rough because she, herself, takes away her parents’ only grandchildren. It. Is. Rough.

It’s not a super cool adventure and she doesn’t really care that her children will learn Spanish more quickly than she will.”

Lets just say this post is not from the good missionary. But she’s honest.

Sometimes I don’t want people to tell me that I’m going on a great adventure or that I’m so lucky or brave. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel that way.  Sometimes I feel like I was dragged into this kicking and screaming, with big alligator tears, feeling like everything I have ever known or loved is being stripped away from me and my children.

Sometimes the thought of cheddar cheese can bring me to tears.

If you’ve ever had any love for me in your heart or cared for me at all, please don’t complain on facebook about the grocery cart at your walmart or post pictures of your girl scout cookies or mention chic-fil-a. Please. Ever.

If I’m just going to put it all out there. I grieve. Missionaries are grieving. When we say it’s rough, that’s because it is.  Missionaries grieve the loss of the life they had. Friendships. Family. Safety. Familiarity. English. Yes, even chic-fil-a and cheddar cheese.

I grieve, but mostly I grieve the loss of my idols. I’m not asking for a different life. I am convinced that right now, this is the life that I was called to. Usually it’s a really good life, especially when I think of other, harder fields. I have friends that are in such dangerous places that they can’t say that they’re missionaries. They risk their lives everyday for the sake of the Gospel. They rarely or never see their family. Then I realized how spoiled we are in Colombia.

I’m reminded of a letter that Adonirum Judson wrote to his fiance’s father. 

Then I feel a little spoiled, but right after that I get on pinterest or I see something on facebook and I grieve the losses all over.

Can you grieve the loss of food coloring? Why, yes, yes you can.

So, when you see her on facebook putting it all out there, just tell her you’re praying for her. Tell her you’re praying for her children. Be sure not to mention chic-fil-a…

…And when she’s not the good missionary you think she should be, give her grace…because today, maybe she got on pinterest.

Today it might just be a rough day.

Follow up post here.

The Kines Heart NYC

So, what’s up?

Lots of you know that we are attending a month long training in New York City.

That’s right. New York Cittaay.

We don’t stick out. We really don’t. There a lots of people that try to get on the subway with 4 children and 2 strollers. Lots.

There are also lots of people who walk into the corner grocery…

with all their chilluns…

and say,

“Jarsh. Look at that there cawfey. You grond it yurself. See. Tole ya. Shore did.”

Lots.

So, we’re lovin’ NYC. Mainly because we blend in.

The first thing I noticed was that New Yorkers are super friendly. I’m not being sarcastic. I can understand why it’s hard to take anything I say seriously. But, New Yorkers are super friendly.

For real.

I have yet to get on the subway (with our entire crew) and not have someone, or groups of people, smile and play with the kids and offer us their seat. Today there were two guys that were soooo too cool. They were trying so hard to stay serious, but could not keep from smiling at Matthew. He can crack the hardest shell. He will beat you at a staring contest. He will.

Trust me.

The first few days were really stressful. First time on the subway and we got separated. Josh had Jak and I had the other three on two separate cars. This would have been fine since we didn’t lose any kids …

Ahem. 

…but I didn’t know where to get off. So the first thing I did was pull out my cellphone to call Josh and find out where to get off. Cell phones don’t work in subways. But I know you knew that.

So, I sat down and started wracking my brain trying to remember the address of the school we were going to. Then I looked up and saw Josh motioning to me through the window into the next car. He was making a square with his hands and pointing to his watch. I just shook my head. I mean, seriously, I had no idea what time it was. Who cares. If we’re late we’re late. He kept waving at me and making motions.

Sounds like….Square….Watch….Square…..Time…..Cube….Time….Square.

Time Square!!!

We’re supposed to get off at Time Square!

Josh told me later that while all this was going on, he was sitting directly across from a man with the word Brooklyn tattooed on one arm and the word Outlaw tattooed on the other.

I didn’t even make that up. That’s really what happened.

Really.

So I was super stressed that first day. Getting around just seemed so hard. But we’ve gradually settled into our routine and getting on the subway is almost like jumping in my minivan. In the garage. Sort of.

Not really.

I was really wanting to subway surf, but I saw this sign. So I won’t.

Really glad I saw it in time.