Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dishwater Surrender

I have always firmly believed that when our Father calls a family He has a plan for the entire family in it. But I still don’t like to watch my children struggle. One morning recently I woke up groggy after not sleeping well. I’d been thinking about how one of my sons has been really struggling in his school situation, but there just doesn’t seem to be a good alternative right now. The fact that my oldest daughter will be leaving and going far away to university in less than a year was sinking in as well. While I think there is an awful lot of positive in the life of a Third Culture Kid, I was grieving about some of the ways our lifestyle was impacting our kids as well.
I boiled the electric kettle for hot water to do the morning dishes while a monologue ran inside my head. “I am willing to and I have already sacrificed a lot to do what we do, but I will NOT sacrifice my children. Doing what is best for them is a priority. After all they’ve been given to us to raise. I will NOT sacrifice them. It wouldn’t be right.”
I’ve had variations of this conversation with myself many times before, but this time a Still Small Voice firmly interrupted my thoughts, “………………….But what if I asked you to?” I felt like I’d been punched in the gut and I wept into the dishwater.
The night before at bedtime our 7 year-old had read me the story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac. In that moment at my kitchen sink I remembered that my Father had tested Abraham’s willingness to do the very thing I said I wouldn’t do.
I live in a city surrounded by literal, physical idols. While I know that there are idols of a different sort in my passport culture as well, seeing them where I live nails the point home of how ‘anti’ my Father they are and what a bondage they are to those who pay homage to them. I don’t want idols in my life.
But what if I’m making idols of my children? The thought hadn’t occurred to me before!
After a while I wiped my face with a sudsy hand and sorted my heart out with my Father.
I may have to keep watching my son flounder in his school situation for now. I will have to see my daughter who I’m not quite ready to let go leave and learn to fly. But while I'm not glorifying sacrifice for sacrifice's sake, when He calls I will put Him first, do what He asks, and trust that He will ‘provide the ram’ in their lives.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Things are going well lately. A team from Steve's home fellowship in NZ has been here this past week with more arriving today. We're enjoying them! The weather has cooled just a tad so it's not so intense. Lovely!

We have just switched from a language class to a tutor who we're hoping will help us take the structure that we learned in class and use it more fluently. We had our first session with her a couple of days ago.

On a page that she was making us read and respond to in the language was the word "dhOrmo" which literally translated means 'religion'. Our tutor explained that that's not the full meaning, however.

The real meaning is this, "That which holds you, that which makes you what you are." She told us that the religion here is not just about belief but it's how you live your life. Pretty insightful, huh? I agreed with her while adding things like, "In response to a relationship, from the inside out," in my head.

She felt that you can choose what it is that you w0rship as long as it gives you strength and means something to you. That's the point where I stopped nodding my head in agreement!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Adam, who will be 8 in 16 days (I know this because he's reminding us daily!) was told recently by his siblings that I have a folder of all of their early artwork somewhere in a box in the States and wanted to know where his folder was. Well, in all of the moves we've done in the past few years he didn't have one. But his mom quickly remedied that situation! Adam is actually quite the budding little artist helped along by big sister Rach who is quite the artist as well.

He wants the best of his artwork saved so he can remember it later. And show it to others, I'm sure. And now about once a week or so I get handed a paper folder worthy.

I was just reading the amazing chapters in Deut. before the people entered the Promised Land. I was struck by how many times in a list the word 'remember' was used. They were told to remember all of the amazing things that He had done! It was to carry them through the battles ahead of entering the land and then later meant to keep them from falling away from Him. (ch.7)

A couple of chapters later (ch.11) the words "They didn't see..." about their children is repeated ending with the words, "But you have seen the L perform all these mighty deeds with your own eyes."

What do I need to 'remember' today so that I continue to walk by faith into the future? Because He HAS done amazing things for me! What things do I need to pass along through my own eyes to those who 'didn't see' those things?

I want to store them up so I can pull them out later. To admire the 'artwork' of my Father in my life. And to 'show' others the things that He has done!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Another puja

Today is a 'puja' day to the goddess of this city. She's not very nice, really. First of all she's always bright blue (?) and scantily clad, but the real disturbing thing about her is that she usually is depicted as having her husband's decapitated head hanging by the hair from her hand. Often she has a bunch of bloody heads around her feet as well.

Like I said not pretty and not something that inspires worship in me!

But to her followers their perspective is that since she's the 'baddest' thing around that she would obviously be the one most likely to be able to protect them. So they worship.

It challenges my thinking about how to present a Relationship that is as tender as a mother to a child while not loosing focus of the fact that He is omnipotent as well!

It's two for one today as it's also the day to worship the goddess of prosperity.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I have oh so far to go in my language learning (!) but instead of just hearing static in the voices around me, my ears are starting to 'tune in' to the sounds better and understand some of what's going on around me randomly on the street. And sometimes I even hear phrases that I don't have to translate in my head before I understand them.

It's been really noisy outside lately even at night with another puja holiday coming this weekend. This one involves fireworks and chocolate bombs (think 'bomb'!) so it's added to the decibel level as well.

Last night I had just finally gotten to sleep when a yelling match erupted between a man and a woman right below our bedroom window. My first conscious thoughts were these words from the man (that my mind recognized without having to translate, YES!). "You are not from America, you are from ________ (our district in the city)." He was basically telling her to get off her high horse and to 'behave' because she was a local woman and shouldn't act like an American woman.

Hummmmm....................I'm really not sure how to respond to that. Was he saying that she didn't have the 'rights' of an American woman? Or was he holding up that type of woman as an undesirable example. Probably a bit of both.

I've been realizing lately that that's generally the perception of people here overall. Even when I'm clearly with my children I have advances made by local men because their perception is that 'American women divorce their husbands.' A local co-worker was talking with Aaron the other day and told him that he should marry a girl from here because 'she'll be more faithful than an American woman.'

Now most of this perception is from movies and TV so it's not based on factual experience, but that's what they think of my countrywomen. And since they see America's people as that, and since 'American' is 'Believing' to them........well, you can connect the train of thought as to what their perceptions are. Not good.

There are obviously heaps of things not right from my point of view as to what is expected of the woman here and how they are treated, but it was a good insight into the kind of mindset that we face.

Metro Musings

I spend a lot of time on the Metro. Since Steve is sick this week and I'm doing all of the school runs, between that and language class I'll spend over 3 hours on the train or waiting in a station today.

On the way to school this morning we got one of the two, brand new, air conditioned trains in the system. Third time this week! They are so much more quiet than the other trains, smoother ride, etc.

On the way back I got an old train, however, and was noticing how much louder and just less luxurious the ride was. It was empty enough that I actually got a seat, however, and I found myself watching the lady sitting directly across from me.

She was young and obviously on her way to work, but she didn't have the usual blank stare or look of stoic endurance that most people have as they ride the rails. Her eyes were shut and even though there were no earphones, her head was gently swaying to an inaudible tune, her face obviously responding to lyrics in her head. One finger and one foot were slowly tapping a beat as well. This lady had music in her heart and all of the outside noise and distractions were not keeping her from enjoying it.

"I have a Song inside as well!" I thought, and spent the rest of the ride putting aside the external things to focus on it. My train mate's song was probably a man made tune from a popular movie, but my Song is one that gives life, strength, joy and peace. Definitely a better use of my time to commune with Him than to blankly endure my ride.

I'll have to make better use of that time in the future as well!

Note: Steve and 2 visitors from NZ were on a train a few weeks back that the first 2 cars derailed on! There had never been an accident on the subway before so it was amazing that they happened to be on THAT train. No one was injured and the whole subway system quickly shut down. They got to walk the rails with hundreds of other passengers to the next station, though.