• introvert in missions
    Faith

    Being an Introvert in Ministry

    There’s no question that I’m an introvert. Take me to a party, and within two hours I’ll either be doing dishes or making friends with the household cat. I love people, but I can only take so much socialization before I begin to feel exhausted and claustrophobic. To be honest, I like functioning this way. I like that I’m sensitive and that I know when to step away from the noise of life to process and recharge. I contribute differently than an extrovert, but have just as much to offer. Or so I like to think. In my field of work, introversion can seem like a disability. Ministry is often a parade of…

  • Faith,  Travel

    The View From France

    As I type, I can see cliffs and gardens out the window: Southern France in all her glory, bathed in blue skies and sunshine. We arrived here last week, and it’s still sinking in that this is our home now. I never imagined living somewhere so beautiful. A year ago, we were living in Kosovo, and I had just found out that I was pregnant. I remember feeling weak and afraid, looking out the window at the dusty minarets and the swarms of blackbirds. I couldn’t picture where we would live as a family, but I knew it wasn’t there. It had been a hard year for me, and I was…

  • Faith

    Long-Gone American Dream

    This week, my Facebook was inundated with friends in graduation robes, proudly adding letters to the ends of their names. They will go on to become professors, doctors, pastors, and artists. They’ll be successful, and I hope they’ll be happy too. As I look into their smiling faces, I can’t help but think that I could have been them. In fact, I would have been them, had God not intervened in my life plans. But here I am, far from the professional world, rocking a baby and fundraising my salary. I’ve walked so far away from the American dream, I probably won’t ever get it back.  My future holds no white picket…

  • Faith,  Motherhood

    Resurrection for Mamas

    Today is Easter Sunday. Today, Jesus rips out of the grave in a wham-bam display of divine power and love. It’s a day for big God gestures, the way men pull out all the stops to propose to their future wives. And the church, like a surprised bride, jumps up and down, says, Yes. But today, I’m staying home. Somewhere between planning car arrangements and thinking about how many people would try to touch my baby’s hands, I decided not to go to church. I simply wasn’t up for it. The big-gesture, big-response event sounded exhausting. Today, I don’t just want Jesus of the Easter resurrection. I want Jesus of the everyday…

  • When Reading the Bible Hurts
    Faith

    When Reading The Bible Hurts

    I read a lot of Christian blogs, from conservative evangelicals to liberal charismatics, and the one thing they all agree on is how much they love the Bible. They talk about it all the time—how important, how beautiful this book is to them. Sometimes it’s downright gushy. Confession: Rarely do I have romantic feelings towards my Bible. Sometimes, I even dislike it.  Raised in the Lutheran tradition of sola scriptura, I’ve spent the last twenty years of my life reading, memorizing, and listening to teachings about the Bible. I know this book better than any other. But some days, I just can’t bring myself to open it. If the other bloggers…

  • Faith,  Motherhood

    The Joy of the Unplanned

    In a gas station bathroom in Kosovo, I finally said what I’d suspected for weeks: I think I’m pregnant. It was the strangest confessional, with my friend in one stall and me holding back nausea in the other. She gasped at the words and came out beaming at me. Weeks before, she and I had been talking about birth control. She was planning a wedding and felt a little stuck when it came to her reproductive options. There seemed to be two basic paths: either avoid pregnancy like the plague or have babies right away. I told her how I’d felt roped into the same binary, and how I hadn’t wanted…

  • Faith,  Motherhood

    Pregnancy, Mystery, and God

    From the start of the pregnancy, my husband and I assumed we would find out the gender of our baby. My midwife doesn’t offer ultrasounds, so we started saving up to have one at a local clinic, and I anxiously awaited the weeks when Baby would make him or herself visible. This time just happened to fall during a month-long stay in a tiny French village. I shrugged it off, thinking I could be patient until we got back to the States. What I didn’t expect is that, by the time we got home, I didn’t want the ultrasound anymore. Somewhere between baguettes and the millionth person asking “Do you…