Dear Team, those who support our work here in SE Asia, in thought, word, and/or deed:
Some would say my family are heroes.
Heroes for “following the call” and “sacrificing” to move our family overseas.
Can I try to paint a bigger picture?
Firstly, I’m not saying we’re NOT following the call or that there wasn’t sacrifice involved. Absolutely, there was. There’s no usefulness in trying to downplay the extremeness of moving a family across the world, and false humility or pretending it was no big deal would not be authentic.
We’re doing what we love. Our hearts stirred with desire for a full decade before we came to the place we dreamed about (and it doesn’t look like my dreams, by the way, go figure…). We’re doing what we asked God for, countless countless times. Often I feel like I’m “living the dream” rather than sacrificing so much.
And yet again.
There were also years where we didn’t know what the CALL was. Confusing years, long-slow-waiting years, where we eventually redefined CALL, not as a particular job or location or ministry, not as something only “some” people “get to have”, but as loving the Lord well and loving the world around us well, something EVERYONE has access to! “Call” is not exclusive.
Are we (Brenden and I) following our call? In many respects yes. We feel like we’re where we were meant to be, doing what we feel our hearts come alive to do. That privilege is NOT lost on us.
If we had to go home (as in America home), 1. I’d be SO SAD. We don’t want to go anywhere anytime soon. We’re just getting started. Somewhere along the way, Chiang Mai has become home. But 2. I’d know (or I’d choose to believe) that there is still a purpose, a “call” on our life, if we’d have to leave. Because it wouldn’t change the fact that we long to leverage our lives, our best efforts, the short time we have here on this beautiful, struggling earth, in service of the High King. The All-Loving, All-Knowing One who invites us to be known and loved by Him, who invites us to demonstrate to others the same. So that our call would remain. To Love the Lord with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength. And to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (which also means learning to love ourselves well too: easier said than done, eh?)
I suppose that’s a long pre-amble to what I really wanted to share, which is this:
In the past month, here’s what’s been going on in my email inbox :
- dear family friends in the thick of transition with a newly adopted daughter
- TWO premature babies born, one with significant and potentially long-term complications
- a friend is facing the imminent death of his incredible mother
- a friend is going on her first date after losing her precious husband two years ago
- a friend may have found the long-awaited love-of-her-life
- a friend is finding much healing and freedom from childhood abuse through conferences she has boldly decided to attend
- and so many others sending updates about “unremarkable” life: no big huge life transitions. The day-in, day-out grinds, the joys, the irritations, the faithful tending to the regular rhythms.
I mean, do you even hear and see the gravity of even ONE of these bullet points?
Certainly, “I”M” not more of a hero!
My family? We got to CHOOSE to enter into the stressors of cross-cultural life, of massive transition 18 months ago. Others? They didn’t GET to choose. (Thankfully, we all DO get to choose our heart postures in response to these chosen or non-chosen life events.)
This month in particular, I’m humbled by the lives and ministries and characters and CALLS, if you will, of our friends and families and TEAM back home in America. Of the grace, and strength, and courage, and wisdom, and grit with which they (you) greet life and in particular–hardship, and I tell you, I’m not just making these words up to sound eloquent.
When we raised support, we said we wanted TEAM to be mutual. For our work, our “call” to not be more valuable than your work, your call. For what we’re doing to not be more important than what you’re doing. For our struggles to not appear harder than yours, and our joys to not be more worthy. Because I’m finding it’s HOW we do (fill in the blank), not WHAT we do, or WHAT title we hold, that shines to the world: living life with integrity, ethics, purity of heart, humility, faithfulness, a quieted heart and spirit.
And you, TEAM of friends, family, and even those we don’t know so well, you inspire us. You remind us. YOU paint that picture for US. YOUR lives impact US. WE learn from YOU. It IS mutual, and thank God for it.
I think the word “hero” comes with some pressure, wouldn’t you say?
Like somehow we’re different, stronger, set apart.
(I think the word missionary can too.)
So unless you’re ok with me saying you’re heroes too, please just think of me, of my family, as the Millers in Thailand, fellow sojourners also trying to seize hold of life, work through struggles, and love whole-heartedly.
I’m ok with saying we’re all awesome though. Somehow that doesn’t feel like so much pressure. 😉
Does that paint a bigger picture?