16 May 2013


Sometimes things break your heart to build you up.

I am in the middle of writing our itinerary so I can staple it to Mark's jacket. We are leaving for Chicago for 16 days. 16 days of driving someone else's car, with Rory in someone else's car seat, sleeping in someone else's bed in someone else's house using someone else's kitchen... yikes. We are going to Chicago for "missionary training." I don't really know what that means, but apparently it's important in this process.

I wholeheartedly believe in the "drop your nets and follow me" version of mission work. But that isn't really the way things work anymore. Your heart isn't enough - the rest of you needs to be poked, prodded, and over analyzed in order to follow the Great Commission. Physicals, insurance, evaluations, "training" ... don't get me wrong, I understand the world we live in, I just wish we didn't - live this way, I mean. Always angling to get ahead so the church needs to protect against the very people it should be taking in. Deep sighs for days.

It isn't the fault of the ECC that we have all these hoops to jump through, it's just the reality of our broken world. We don't trust people because they've proven untrustworthy and we can't let just anyone represent us because sometimes they do it poorly. I mean, just think of the stigma being a Christian has. Anyone? Anyone? The second I use the word people shut down and shut off. The assumption is that I'm a judgmental bigot who believes my worth is superior to theirs due to my belief in God. And, to be perfectly honest? That is the same conclusion I jump to; as if I am some super breed of open-minded Christ follower that is above petty church hierarchy (which, I am, of course).

The truth is, I am just as judgmental toward the Westboro Baptists of the world as they are toward... well, everyone else. And you can make the argument that "they deserve it," but let's be fair, I don't get to make that call whether they "deserve it" or not. My job as a Christian is to love everyone and speak the truth in love. That means when someone makes a small minded belittlement on a friend that I'd like to berate them for or makes a comment on how I'm not "churchy enough" to effect my "churchiness," I'm supposed to love 'em like Jesus - yah, I pray a lot. I tend to embrace the coke-addicts and poor decision makers while soapboxing the gluttonous contented suburbanites. When Jesus said love everyone - did he actually mean everyone?


I'm getting off topic though. The point is: sometimes you jump through hoops. Other times? You set that hoop on fire and demand the ringmaster jump through his own damn hoop. Paperwork and missionary training? Are not flaming hoops. At least, not for me. Marko would burn each and every hoop then make the culprit snort the ashes, but that's why he married me.

Psalm 118 was all over everything today and it resonated.

"Oh! give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!" 118:1

I am ready for Mexico, but I don't know what it looks like. Being a missionary can sometimes be an excuse to live somewhere exotic on someone else's dime. I don't want that. Marko and I have thought extensively about going to do mission work abroad on our own, but we felt called to the ECC mission program. And we haven't agreed with every step, but it is important enough of a call to work through those issues (none of which were horrible cover-ups or scandals or anything).

Sometime people will ask why we don't just do mission work in Maple Valley or Hobart or close to home, don't those people need missionaries? The simple answer is yes. But Mark and I aren't those missionaries. There are churches on every block in our small suburbia and some of those people might be called to this area, but while we love our church and being involved in our community? This is not the place we are called to. And that is okay.

"I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation." 118:13-14

For a long time, I was told that I was only as "good" as I looked/sounded, and if I was ever struggling? I was to abide by the "fake it till you make it" rule. It makes me angry that such nonsense is permitted to be pushed onto the children of this area. But I have come to better understand that a "good" person rarely looks or sounds "good." Nice clothes and kept house might make your outside pretty, but it doesn't clean up what's under the surface. Using all the right "Christian language" might make you sound righteous, but it doesn't mean you know God. If you "fake it" ? You might come out of that, but you might just learn to have a surface level calm/love/hope/joy instead of one that penetrates.

"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." 118:22-24

This is Emily.
Cute, right?

You can read more about her here. She was all ready and set to be adopted when her mama-to-be found out she has breast cancer - which means Emily's would-be-family cannot adopt her due to China's adoption laws. How heart breaking to believe you are going home, where people want you, only to have those dreams crushed. And how heart breaking to know that this sweet girl you called your own, would never be that. So, Emily needs a home again - maybe it's with you?

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