Monday, April 28, 2014

Who Are Your People?

Who are your people?

No, I don't mean your family, friends, and the ones that you call home.

I mean, who are the people that your heart aches for. That you strive to show love to even when it is not easy. Who are the people that you see with open eyes and a compassionate heart?

As believers in Christ we have all been giving a "calling." A purpose in our lives that is bigger that the day to day operations of normal womanhood. We have been asked to share the greatest gift we were ever given.

Matthew 28:19-20
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Mark 16:15
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

It is very clear what we have been asked to do. But what does it mean by "All of the nations?" and where do our family responsibilities come into play?

Recently I have been asked why I "waste," my time on a people that do not care about Christ. When talking about my calling to them, I was told by several people that their calling is to their family. That they are focusing on their children for the forseeable future and that they do not have time, nor see a reason to do otherwise.

My heart broke.

Not because I disagree. Our children are our "first disciples." They are our greatest responsibility to share the love of Christ with. After our relationship with Christ and with our husbands, our children should be our most important priority.

But do we not have room in our heart to love more than that? Does it really take much more energy? And is there time to waste and wait until our children are grown? Will we then say that our grandchildren are our only priority? How big will our effect be?

Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

I believe that Scripture shows us how big our heart should be.

To the ends of the earth.
That's alot of people.
That's alot of places.
That's alot of love.

I also believe that the three areas listed, Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, give a first hand example of what our circles should look like.

Our Jerusalem is our families. They are our children. Our parents. Our siblings. They are the people we see and interact with all day, every day. They are the ones we live amongst and share His love with by word and by being a living example of what a changed life looks like. This could also include your neighbors and work mates since you interact with them on a daily basis and live life with them.

Our Judea is our like peoples. They are your MOPS group, the youth group that you volunteer with, the house bound ministry you serve. They are the orphans and widows in your community. The college students at a local school. It is whomever you choose to pour your service time in with. It's important. Maybe you don't spend as much time with them as your family but your heart breaks for them and you search out ways to serve and share with them.

Our Samaria is far away. Think, really far. The stretch of Samaria meant it was several days travel and covered a large swath of linguistic and cultural differences. Where is your Samaria? What are the people that God has placed on your heart that is not nearby? I challenge you to think outside of US territory.

I have a heart for the nations. For every people on Earth. But, like many, God has placed a certain people on my heart.

It wasn't in a dream or in a chance encounter (though that happens for many people,) and it wasn't through my home church's international partnership. It was through time and prayer and me asking God to help me love the people I was among.

Maybe your Samaria has been on your heart for years. Maybe you are just looking for one now. If so, I encourage you to look up the Joshua Project and look through stats of the least reached people groups. Choose one that you and your family can pray for daily and that you could one day have contact with people from that country.

As a mom of young kids, I know how hard it is to give of yourself to so many different things. I know how stretching and tiring it is. And I know how easy it is to over commit. One of the easiest ways to keep our people group circles in the forefront of our lives is to pray for each circle over a meal or while you prepare it. I pray for my husband and kids and extended family at breakfast time, for the mom's that I lead in Bible study at lunch time or friends that I live life with, and for our people group at dinner. 

I'll be writing more about ways you can get involved in your different "circles," but if you have specific questions or want information on people groups that can be your "Samaria," please email me at

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On Miss Clavel and Dust Bunnies

It's been a settling in process here in Abu Dhabi. I have not had to deal with much of the "culture shock," side of things since I've had my go with that already, but just the unpacking, rearranging, hanging things on the wall, finding my balance type of settling in.

Grace has not handled it well.

Sweet girl.

She went the entire six months bouncing around from house to house, church to church in the States and even did well coming to Abu Dhabi for a week, then on to Jordan for a month, then back to Abu Dhabi in a hotel. But the day we moved into our house and she laid her eyes on her things and her bed, it all fell apart.

She has been just a glimmer of herself for the past six weeks.

It's rather heartbreaking. Sleep issues, waking up with nightmares, a complete rejection of Ian (since he is no longer working from home, we assume,) and a different demeanor entirely. It's so hard to see her grieve and handle the change. I stayed home for two weeks straight with her just to give her some semblance of stability and normalcy and that has helped a ton. We've laid down the law about bed time and reestablished lost routine. Slowly, surely, she is coming back to us.

There is still a part of her that is sassier, more disobedient, but I guess that is part of her testing the waters as a new three year old. Giving grace to Grace and extra snuggles has helped as well. Forehead to forehead, nose to nose, with her hot breath on me until she relaxes into sleep. I really do love those few minutes each day.

I've definitely had more and more "Miss Clavel," moments. You know the ones. Where she wakes up from her sleep and "knows something is not right," and takes off running down the hall? Yes, that has been me, several times a night when Grace wakes up screaming and disorientated. Nap time too. I've become a pro at taking our stairs 3 at a time in a maxi dress.

All the boxes are unpacked and everything is put away. Our living room needs more furniture and the house needs more carpets to help contain the sand and dust. For now, I sweep the entire house every day and I still get a dust pan full of dust bunnies.

And Sophia? She is our happy baby. Until you tell her "No." Then she is our screaming mad, inconsolable baby, with a perpetual state of diaper rash.

The summer is upon us, with temperatures touching 100 degrees each afternoon. And yet, I found myself with the doors open yesterday while the girls played outside in the water table because it felt comfortable.

That's where I am right now. That's what life looks like.That's my picture of motherhood, expat life as of today. I'm sure tomorrow could look entirely different. Or, perhaps, exactly the same.