Upwardly Dependent » walking the delicate balance of absolute truth and overwhelming grace.

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Allowing Our Hearts to Be Shepherded Abroad {Velvet Ashes}

I really can’t begin to tell you the amount of crazy that has been my life the month of March. I spent three weeks of intense research and writing as I prepared my Comprehensive Exams for my working degree. A load of stress and sixty pages later, I’m so happy to say that this phase of my schooling is complete!

I submitted my papers last Sunday morning at 3:30 AM, a few hours before my ENTIRE family flew in to visit us here in SE Asia. Wow! This week has been such a blast introducing my parents and siblings to the place I’ve called home for the last year. They have embraced this city and culture more than I could have ever dreamed. My cup is more than running over, it is a volcanic eruption of joy and peace and happiness.

So this is why my blog space has been quiet for a while! I have been jotting down notes and thoughts over the last few weeks, and I’m excited to spend April catching up with you here. I have continued to stay present at Velvet Ashes, though, and I’m writing over there again this week. I reallyhope you’ll read this post, because I think it’s an important one for all people who send and are sent out. Join me over there? Here’s a preview:

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The thing that used to scare me most about working overseas was the thought of answering to supporters back home.

I had heard the horror stories.

We had friends scraping the bottom of their budget to make ends meet each month.

We knew of overseas servants losing essential funding without a warning or an opportunity to raise more support.

We had heard about expats forced to come home when their sending fellowships weren’t pleased with their success.

Will this be my story? I thought. Will I have to continually defend myself and the work the Father has asked me to do? I don’t have the energy for that!

So at the first sign of misunderstanding between our supporters and us, I balked.

I’m telling you girls. This was not my most shining moment as a Superstar Christian.

I told my husband we didn’t need our sending fellowship or its money. I told him that the Father would provide somehow because it was obvious to me what He had asked us to do. Even if other people didn’t get it.

We got this, team, I said.
We’ll show them, I said.

We don’t need no inexperienced, uncultured committee to tell us how to do ministry.

That’s what I told my husband on Conflict Day 1. In a ghetto accent, mind you.

I’m confessing this to you, in this little corner of the Internet, because I think we’ve all felt threatened by the volatile relationship between our senders and us.

Sometimes it feels impractical that we answer to boards and overseers that have no idea what our daily lives look like.

They don’t understand our cultures like we do.
They don’t understand our ministry like we do.
They don’t understand our limitations like we do.

But it seems they want success stories. It seems they are only interested in a good return on their investment (i.e. our paychecks).

So we are tempted to embellish our reports. This little tightrope walk of clinging to our financial support is tricky business, you know.

Coffee outings with girlfriends become ‘ministry debriefings.’
Wet market runs are reported as ‘building relationships with nationals.’
Family Sabbaths are labeled ‘personal prayer and study time.’

We over-spiritualize and exaggerate the reality of the mundane in this life abroad. And while I totally understand this temptation, I believe it’s only driving a greater wedge between those who send and those who are sent.

Let me tell you the rest of my story…(click here).

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