Just the Tip

While at a training for missionaries preparing to go on the field, I’ve had some time away from the regular demands of life and have been able to really process life. We are starting a big transition. We just sold our house. We’ve sold a lot of our possessions and plan to sell a whole lot more next month. We are getting ready to move over 6000 miles away from the family and friends that we love. We are going to be completely out of our comfort zones in nearly every imaginable way.

I am super sad about this move. I am really grieving the losses for myself and my kids. I am at this training for a few weeks, but then I will go back and really begin the hard work of saying goodbye to life as I’ve known and enjoyed it. Sometimes, I can barely breathe under the weight of it all. I am now only dealing with the tip of the iceberg; there is so much hidden beneath the surface.

iceberg An Iceberg (credits: Niyazz)

And yet, I am totally at peace. I’ve been doing the hard work to prepare mentally and physically and now I’m starting to really prepare emotionally as well. It isn’t all sunshine and roses, but it is all beautiful. Maybe even more beautiful in the deep sadness that is surrounding me as I reach out for help. God is my ever-present help (Ps 46) and so I need not be afraid.

Often for me the future is frocked in fear, but not this time. Don’t misunderstand, I do have some fears, but I am working to “go toward that!” I am learning to ask God to help me release whatever it is I’m afraid of losing or messing up or whatever. As I am letting God turn my heart toward Him instead of holding tighter to the things I want to control and figure out, I’m finding freedom and hope and great peace. It’s almost like there is some truth to Philippians 4:6-7. 😉

Even in the sadness, I can see God’s with me – his love quieting me, helping me to take the next step forward.



Our missions journey to date has been full of lots of waiting and unknowns. That is sure to continue.

We started to have a clearer picture of what the future might hold in November 2015 when we became members of Wycliffe Bible Translators. December marked the official invitation for us to go to Cameroon. And so, we ended the year with a lot more answers than we started with.

In January 2016, we attended the orientation course, Equip, in Orlando. We learned a lot. Among the lessons we learned that we can plan, but God has the ultimate plan, which may not match ours exactly. Then in February, our Partnership Development (PD) began. We sent out our very first newsletter and began to tell people about what we planned to do (because we finally knew some of those answers!)

Early in March, it became clear that we would have to go to France for language study and so we began researching and learning about that.

As we began to try to learn more in preparation for our move, we were connected with a family in Cameroon and got our buddies in April. (We really do wish this had happened much earlier, maybe if a full year earlier!)

We sent out another newsletter in May and reached the halfway point in our monthly financial partnership promises. This cleared the way for us to attend a required training in NC in the fall.

In June, we decided to attend language school in a small village in the French Alps. From the CCEF, we learned that our classes will start on January 3, 2017.

Now it is July and we are the missionaries of the month at our home church. That means that we are talking in front of the church one Sunday, doing a presentation with some families from our church and that we are being prayed for specifically each Wednesday at prayer.

August and September will be more PD work for us and hopefully our Wycliffe ministry will have a full partnership team. We will send out information to our prayer partners about a specific day to pray for each other each month. We’ve already been praying for each of our partners and this will help us to be more orderly about it. This is also when we will have a garage sale and possibly put our house on the market.

The Intercultural Communication Course (ICC) is another training for Brian and I. So, we will be going to JAARS in NC for the month of October (and one week of November) to study and learn as much as possible to help us in our transition. The plan for the kids is to stay in school and live with their grandparents while we are gone. Brian will likely leave his current job in October as we will be working full-time as missionaries (in training).

We will all need to go to Chicago for a visa interview in November. If all goes according to our plan, we will have our visas in time to leave for France at the end of December 2016. I am also going to try to make a last trip to LA to visit my sister and her new baby girl that should be born at the end of November!

So, January-June 2017, we will be studying French in France and then if everything works according to my plan, we will be fluent and ready to return to the US for a quick visit with family and friends in July 2017. Then we will move to Cameroon by August 2017 so that the kids can start the new school year in our new home.



I am a girl with many questions. I am also a girl who likes to have all the answers. Unfortunately, I am in a really uncomfortable place for me… a place with many unknowns and therefore lots of potential for growth or failure. Failure is my biggest fear. My husband and I have known for a while that God was calling us to go, to serve full-time in ministry. We have been following God’s lead, one step at a time. Last September, when I began the Revelation study with Bible Study Fellowship International (BSF), I was praying for a revelation of my own, where God would answer all my questions about the future. Well, God has made many things clear in this study of Revelation. For me, the biggest revelation has been Jesus! This study has been a Revelation of Jesus first and foremost.

If I have all the answers, I will rely on myself, but God has opened a huge door and called me, my husband and our three kids to go to Yaound̩, Cameroon Рfrancophone Africa. That was one question answered, but it led to so many more questions with so much potential to fail. Every moment, I have to make a choice: will I freak out because the circumstances around me are far beyond my abilities or will I look at Jesus and trust Him.

Revelation has made me focus on Jesus. Each week at BSF, I’ve learned lessons about God’s sovereignty and power to control everything. Jesus is worthy of praise and complete trust too, even in the midst of seeming chaos. Jesus is victorious, king, lamb, lion, sacrifice, worthy, faithful, true, mighty, perfect, bright morning star, holy, above all, reigning, powerful, just, merciful, living, gracious, beckoning… and so much more. As a children’s leader, each week we ask the kids questions after the story. The kids know that the answer is Jesus. We ask: Who is perfect? Jesus. Who judges rightly? Jesus. Who reigns in heaven? Jesus. Who is coming again? Jesus. This is what I needed to be able to understand the book of Revelation. It isn’t about all the symbols and judgement, though that is in there; it is about Jesus.

The very first week from lecture, I wrote down: “Follow God’s dreams, not mine. Don’t focus on what ‘seems’ to be, but on Jesus.” What seems to be is not always what is… It seems like I am in this awful place where I feel so lost and out of control. I am full of fear. I am overwhelmed and failing as a mother, wife, friend, missionary, children’s leader. I see how I am not measuring up and it seems so hopeless.

I am working hard at developing a partnership team and obeying God’s call, and I am tired, but in my weakest moments and when I keep messing it all up, God keeps picking me up and calling me back to Him. God wants me not to focus on me, but on Jesus. I dream of being perfect and having everything just so. God’s dreams will get me there one day, but His dreams are taking me a different way than I’m inclined to go.

So, the biggest lesson I’ve learned was stating succinctly in the intro to this study, and then repeated each week. “Keep your eyes on the Lamb!” When I have my Jesus in sight, my doubts and questions lead me to worship, not worry. With Jesus in His rightful, central place (Rev. 5:6), I say “Yes, Lord” no matter the cost and am able to take the next step forward in faith, not fear. I can see that the wild place (Rev. 12:6) may really be the safest place because that is where Jesus is.

It seems so hard at times. But then, I look at Jesus and I see all that He has done, eternally, for me and I see Him at work, here and now in the little details. My kids are sharing their deep thoughts openly and asking for prayer. My husband is talking to strangers and friends alike, confidently – if you know him, you understand that this is a huge God-act.

Our financially partnership team for our Wycliffe ministry is at over 60% and that is God’s work. I am humbled to be part of what He is doing. God has brought me from not knowing where or what He was asking me to do last September – to clearly calling me and my family to Cameroon in December, to providing what I need, at exactly the right moment for His glory now. I am often full of tears and fears, but God is so gracious and I’m learning to trust Him each moment and to focus on Jesus, following His dreams not mine.

I don’t like being in this uncomfortable place, not knowing all the answers with great risks, but I know Jesus and with Him, I can take the next baby step. I can be bold and look at Jesus. As I confess my self-focus and repent, my focus changes to Jesus. Jesus is the answer for life and for all my questions too!


What will you choose?

Sometimes there just aren’t words to describe how we feel.

Sometimes there just isn’t an adequate explanation for why.

Sometimes there just won’t be a way to make things better.

Always, there’s a choice of how we respond to the sometimes…

“This is the day the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

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What Can I Say?

I’ve been enjoying days, weeks, ok, months in the sun and warmth of summer. But, now, alas, fall is just about here. I can’t sum up all the great fun we’ve had this summer in one simple post. Nor can I highlight the many things we have in store this fall in a single post. Suffice it to say, I laugh, cry, dance and struggle through everyday and yet am blessed beyond measure; I look forward with great joy and trepidation to what lies ahead for our family and will try to share a bit of it (with the few readers I have – thanks for sticking with me and please forgive me for my long absence).


Jury Duty

Last Monday, I had jury duty.

It seems like everyone thinks this is tantamount to being buried alive. I got sympathetic sighs and sad head shakes as well as sorrowful tales of woe along with several apologetic phrases when I shared that I had this on my calendar. The last time I had jury duty I was less than thrilled to be going because of the dilemma it caused to me as a nursing mother.

This time, however, I had no reason not to look forward to this day out of the house, away from my normal responsibilities. I was actually really looking forward to a whole day to sit in a room and read. Well, it didn’t happen exactly like that. I did get a little reading in, but then spent most of the day hearing the trial of a young man and acting as a member of the jury of his peers who determined that he was indeed guilty of felony firearm. The trial was quick and straightforward. Yet, I was really afraid of getting it wrong. I really wanted him to be not guilty.

Despite having had jury duty several other times, this was the first time I have actually served on a jury. I found this service informative and sobering. I must also admit the judge’s reading the instructions was a bit long and repetitive, but it drove home the point of our task and the challenge we had to decide the outcome based on the facts with a presumption of innocence. I found the experience of deciding another’s culpability to be very daunting. While I think we made the right decision in this case, it is terribly sad to me. I am all for justice, but am ever more grateful that Another is the ultimate judge and jury in life and that he offers grace and mercy to those who believe that He came to save them and follow after Him. All of our choices have consequences. For this young man, he’ll be spending a minimum of 2 years in jail, but I hope that he will find the One there who can transform his future and that justice will lead to grace.


Crazy Lady

I mentioned today to some acquaintances that we are taking a family vacation soon and that I’m hoping that all three kids will sleep as we are taking a red-eye flight. The responses were many variations on the same theme. Some more sympathetic than others, but mostly just shock and horror at the prospect of flying overnight with three little ones. Maybe they are right and I really have fallen off my rocker, but it seems like a better plan that trying to entertain my wee bitty baby for five hours in my lap… Those older two will watch movies til their eyes fall out, so they should be fine no matter what, right? I pray these are not my famous last words.

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I love the idea of neighbors helping each other and people coming alongside to support one another. I just hate to be the one to need the help. More accurately, I hate to have to ask for that help. I don’t like to inconvenience people, but mostly I don’t like to talk to people that I don’t know really well. I especially don’t like to ask acquaintances for favors.

Today, though, I did it. TJ was sleeping and I really didn’t want to wake him up to take Eila to school. So, I ran over to my neighbors house and asked her to come over and stay at my house while I took Eila to school. She was more than happy to oblige and it was a huge blessing to me. Maybe she’ll be more inclined to ask a favor of me now… for some reason that would make me feel better.

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I have spent the better part of the past hour looking for some resources to help me in my continuing struggle in being a “good mom.” A friend of mine offered the following words of truth and encouragement – not directly intended for me (I don’t think), but God knew I’d read it today…

    I’m a child of God. All my other roles in this world are just extras.
    I’m not defined by my role as a mother. My identity is in Christ. Being a wife and a mother is important to me but it is not who I am. These are roles that I value and cherish and desire but they are not me. I can easily (and sometimes do) turn these roles into idols and that will always end in disappointment. I know we will experience pain… but I find a lot of comfort in knowing God has a plan better than mine.

ETA: I forgot to title this post and so it was aptly named for me as undefined. Maybe one day I’ll be more sure of who I am…

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Mommy, Help!

This is what Eila yelled to me a few minutes ago as she was watching Care Bears in the basement. I came up to figure out what to make for dinner and didn’t get very far when I heard her crying and hollering for help.

Since this is very uncharacteristic during TV time, I quickly checked on her to see that Professor Coldheart was up to no good and Eila was cowering, but unable to turn her eyes and look away from the screen. “Turn it off!” she demanded desperately so I obliged.

This was the second DVD I put in for her as the Disney Princess Party cartoon was far too frightening and it was just the first song. Needless to say, Eila is a little bit scared of many things right now including but not limited to cartoons (and wind – especially thunderstorms, but who can blame her after we were picnicking with several friends during a storm a few weeks ago where she went completely nuts with fear.)

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