When Cheese Sandwiches Make You Cry

I wrapped up homeschool and prepared lunch as the kids got things ready to head over to the MAF school to join classes for the afternoon. Hannah asked what was on the lunch menu and I answered, “Cheese sandwiches, apples, and Pringles.”  She gasped, “With sliced bread, real mayonnaise, and real cheese?” I nodded yes and the room erupted with whoops and hollers.

And I burst into tears.

What for me, as a child, was a mundane, boring lunch, was for my children the equivalent to a trip to Disneyland.  Really.  On our island, it is rare to have real cheese, good tasting mayonnaise, sliced bread, and the right flavor of Pringles all on the same day.  It didn’t matter that the electricity had been off for the last four hours, or that it would be off for another four.  They were thrilled and thought a cheese sandwich was the greatest thing, well, since sliced bread.

 I looked at their faces, my precious ones, and saw so many things. Thankfulness at precious souls that are thankful for the little things. But something else too.

Pain. Mine, not theirs.

They don’t know what they are missing.  They don’t know most American kids think cheese sandwiches are mundane at best.  They don’t know their own culture.  And my heart breaks.  What of all the little things they will never know?

My mind drifted to the story my MK {missionary kid} hubby told of returning to the US on furlough from Brazil and beginning first grade.  He told how he was given a test of pictures of men dressed up.  He stared at the paper, confused.  He had no idea what they were. The teacher collected the papers, laughed, and asked incredulously, “You didn’t answer the questions.  Don’t you know this is a fireman, a policeman, and a baker?” He was crushed and embarrassed, and the memory still stings.

And the sobs began again, for that little boy and for my own.

They call them “Third Culture Kids” because they will never fully fit into their home culture, but will never fully fit into the country where they live. They are an in-between species, a category unto themselves. What have I done to them?

Sure, there are lots of things they get to do, have seen, that others never will.  My mind searches as I think through all the blessings of their life. Jungle treks, ministry trips, exciting places and foods.

But what of the struggles they have had to face? Are facing? Living away from grandparents, being the entertainment and focus wherever they go, waking up every morning to the sound of the mosque, having so few American friends that really understand, the constant struggle of communicating in another language, the list goes on and on.

My mama heart cries for what they miss.

See the glass as half full, some will say. Yes, I know. And on a good day, one without physical pain and with electricity, I could. But today I am stripped bare and all I can do is to cling.

Cling desperately to Him.

 Life here, my third culture life, is a constant cycle: stripping of myself, choosing to cling to Him, rinse, and repeat. Because, really, I have no other choice.   And I’m thankful.

 Some days, choosing to cling means that all I can do is see the cup that is placed before me.  Not the one that could have been, not the one I think I want.  But the one that is there, right there, that has been lovingly given to me to drink.

My cup.

I see the cup that has been placed before me, and I drink. I cling. And, I will bring praise.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26

You will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock. Isaiah 26:3-4

This is my battle song {doing battle with fear and self-pity….join me?}

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides
This is my prayer in the fire
And weakness or trial or pain
There is faith proved more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the faith
I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and he is here…..
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

{Additional Scripture: Psalm 103:1, Ephesians 3:20, Psalm 77:13-14, John 15:4, Philippians 4:6}

What is your cheese sandwich moment? What is your cup, the one before you?

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  • Jennifer

    Oh, heavens, friend….I can totally and completely relate. Like, exactly. And that song…wow. Hadn’t heard that yet. Thank you. And thanks for making me start my day with the ugly cry. ;)

    • Joy

      Sorry to instigate the ugly cry! I am so thankful that we can join together and encourage each other even in the hard times. I am so thankful for you!

      • http://www.portmargot.blogspot.com/ Dr. Kris

        Thank you very much. I live both sides of the coin as an adult TCK as well as raising 2 in Haiti for the last 13 years. The balance of celebrating the positives while working though the pain of the negatives can be very hard to achieve. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us live and feel. Please don’t feel like you’re alone-you have heart sisters all over the world.

  • http://www.johninghana.blogspot.com/ Patty

    Dear Joy,
    The Lord used your words this morning to tell me exactly what I needed to hear. We are missionaries on furlough right now, and oh, how I’ve struggled. Struggled with how I feel, all that furlough entails, and how hard this has been on my kids. Fought with the fact that it’s hard to feel like a fish-out-of-water wherever we are. Tired of wishing this time away. Thinking that if we could just “get back to the field” at least we’d have some normalcy. Pretty much throwing myself a mental pity party instead of choosing thankfulness.
    Thank you for sharing your heart.
    Patty

    • Joy

      Easier said than done, isn’t it? Choosing thankfulness is a constant choice, huh?! I love hearing your heart about feeling like a fish out of water. I know exactly what you are saying and I’m thankful that we can encourage one another here!! Hang in there Patty!!

      • http://salaknlemonlade.blogspot.com/ Mrs.B

        CHOOSING is the key…every day.

  • http://www.athomewithkim.com/ Kim | At Home With Kim

    Thank you for sharing this. It touched my heart…. as an American raising my children in the suburbs and all the conveniences and things we want/need ~ I worry that we are so out of touch with the reality of this world. The exact opposite of your situation. Joy, I just prayed that the Lord will strengthen and encourage you ~ bringing you peace as you parent right where He has placed you and your family. And as He brings you to my heart, it will be my honor to continue to pray for you. Again, thank you for sharing this….

    • Joy

      Thank you Kim, for your gentle and sweet spirit and your prayer. Yes, as mamas we struggle wherever we are…I certainly don’t have the corner on the market! :) It’s good to know that we can be real with one another about our struggles and point each other to the cross! I love that!

  • http://fanciedfreedom.wordpress.com/ Kim

    This post is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes…thanks for putting things into perspective and I will pray for your sweet kiddos that one day they will see that their cup is full because of how you and your husband have faithfully served the Lord!

    • Joy

      Thank you Kim. God is so faithful.

  • Ameriah Sink

    What a beautiful post! It seems that no matter what we do as mothers, we will always feel guilty for what we didn’t. I am a typical American mom. I raised my daughter on my own for the first 7 years of her life and I live with tremendous guilt for that. Take a deep breath and know that you are where God placed/called you.

    • Joy

      Exactly. We all have those days and those struggles, no matter what our life looks like, huh? I am so sure that your daughter has such a full and blessed life, in spite of what you see as a trial, since she has such a loving mama!

  • Patty

    Wow….could I ever relate to this post. Thank you for sharing your heart, and for touching mine in the process.

    I admire you for drinking of the cup that the Lord has placed before you. Though it may not be the cup you would have chosen, you are honoring God and walking in faith by accepting it.

    God has been working in this messy heart of mine for a while now and has taught me new meaning to the phrase, “it is well with my soul”. Starting around the middle of last year, he began to walk me through depression, then onto premenopause, followed up by the death of my precious dad. Then this past January, much to our surprise, our 18 y/o daughter decided to walk out half way through her sr year of high school saying that she’s too old for authority in her life and she could make it on her own.
    As you can imagine, this has all been devastating, yet God has used these trials to bring my heart (and my husbands as well) to a place of utter dependence on God…..causing us to be able to say that whatever our lot, it is well with our soul.

    Thank you again for sharing this post, and may God continue to fill your cup and satisfy you with his goodness….

    • Joy

      Oh Patty. Wow. You put my meager, whiny problems to shame. What an amazing faith you have in an amazing God. I’m joining you, facing trial, devastation, and pain and declaring with you, “it is well with my soul.” Blessings to you, dear Patty. Thank you for being real and vulnerable in this space.

  • Melissa

    Thanks for this. We’re in Prague. Not the jungle, but not America either. Sometimes, in the face of, “Oh, but think of how great it’ll be for them, all the new things they’ll experience” etc, I want to say, “Well, if that’s true, why aren’t YOU doing it, too?” It’s the grandparents, and soccer teams, and backyards and libraries that my heart hurts for. But the Lord holds my tongue… and we keep moving! So, again, thanks!

    • Joy

      Ah yes….I have had to hold my tongue from saying the exact same thing Melissa. And, you are welcome. Thank you for sharing and joining so many of us here in the comments that are struggling with the exact same thing!

  • http://coolbeans3.blogspot.com/ Nancy

    Thank you for putting a voice to the inner feelings we all share on the overseas field. Sometimes I feel so guilty. Especially when my youngest begs me to just take him home now. He left so many friends behind, not to mention family, and has very few here.

    • Joy

      Nancy, I hear you. It’s funny, though, when I wrote this post, I debated for over a week as to whether or not to post it because I figured I was the only missionary mama who struggled like this. And, well, you know, pride keeps me from wanting to show the struggles….but hearing from so many missionary mamas from around the world in these comments and on FB has shown me that many of us deal with this. Thank you for sharing your heart, and I am praying for you and your precious son right now.

    • Kimberley

      Nancy, you are not alone. I have two little girls that beg me almost every day (after living in the field for almost 3 years) to go home to their big brother and sister. The other day my little Emma said, “Mommy, I just want you to know that I will not be happy until we move back to live with Bubba and Sissy”. (sigh) I don’t have any answers but I do know that our God is a great healer of hearts and I am praying for your family and mine:)

    • Kimberley

      Nancy, you are not alone. I have two little girls that beg me almost every day (after living in the field for almost 3 years) to go home to their big brother and sister. The other day my little Emma said, “Mommy, I just want you to know that I will not be happy until we move back to live with Bubba and Sissy”. (sigh) I don’t have any answers but I do know that our God is a great healer of hearts and I am praying for your family and mine:)

  • http://twitter.com/CDaigle31 Christine D

    Wow..you almost had me in tears! That was so beautiful and you are truly blessed. It’s on those days when you feel weary and hopeless that our awesome Savior is holding you tighter by the hand, telling you everything is going to be alright! You are such an inspiration to us and those around you! Be strong and never forget “Isaiah 26:4″ God Bless sister :)

  • http://www.joyfilleddays.wordpress.com Sarah Beals

    Dearest Joy, I wish I could give you a hug right now. I don’t fully understand the MK thing, but I have many friends who are missionaries and your kids are COGWK’s–Center Of God’s Will Kids.
    That’s where you are…hang in there. We ALL have days like this. And your kids sound amazing…and refreshing!
    Love you!

  • http://www.everydaytruth.net/ Lori

    What an amazing description of the “third culture life.” My heart aches for you in the moments of pain and rejoices in what you are doing. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Praying for you and your precious family.

  • Janelle

    Praying for you my sweet friend and sister servant!!!! When God calls one- he calls the entire family. There is no doubt God is blessing your children in ways my children would never be blessed by- my children don’t appreciate cheese sandwiches- they ask “where is the salami, Ma?!” This puts so much into perspective. You are leading such a Christ centered life Joy! Your children are so blessed to have you as a Mama!!! Beautiful post. Love you!!!! Nelle

  • Elizabeth Ours

    Joy,

    So glad you are back blogging!!! I loved your old blog Stay at Home Missionary and missed it when you quit blogging. Just discovered you here quite by “accident” yesterday! So grateful to be reconnected to your life!

    I must quickly confess that I know nothing of the sacrifices you are making and the life you are living, since I’ve never been a missionary or lived in a third world country. I can only imagine. However, I do think you can find many advantages. Culture is declining so quickly in America. Your kids are spared from much of that. They are learning many practical and survival skills that may serve them well in the future, perhaps even in America. They get to spend a lot of time with you and your husband, living life, being discipled in the process, just as Jesus did with the twelve. In America, your husband (and perhaps even you) might be consumed with a job in “corporate America” from morning ’til night. There, it seems you are living the “simple life” (which I’m sure is not so simple at all), and at least are there to invest in your children. Your family is being spared from so much of the lukewarm christianity that is prevalent in America, and tends to pull us all down. So — you see, you do have things to be grateful for even in the jungle! Also, I’d say that growing up in the jungle of Ecuador didn’t hurt Valerie (Eliiot) Shepard any! :) (Even though she swam and played with the natives wearing only her birthday suit! LOL)

    A mother of many can let her thoughts stray down the same path that you have. I know, because I’ve been there. We can think — Will my children regret being part of a large family that didn’t have as many material things, vacations, etc. as other kids? and didn’t get to participate in as many lessons and sports leagues, or whatever as their friends? Will they resent having to do more work and share time with their parents and share their rooms with 5 siblings???? Yes, whatever our cup is, we can wonder if our children are missing out on something. That is when we have to do as you have said and just Cling to Christ and TRUST HIM for our children. (I know you know this!)

    One more thing — you say your children will never really fit in to either culture — maybe this is a Plus as well — it will make it far easier for them to realize that this earth is not their home! They are just passing through, as their citizenship is/will be in heaven!!!!!!!

    I want to close the longest comment ever with a recent entry from my favorite devotional, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. Do you have that?? It is such a blessing to me!!

    “You need Me every moment. Your awareness of your constant need for me is your greatest strength. Your neediness, properly handled, is a link to My Presence. However, there are pitfalls that you must be on guard against: self-pity, self-preoccupation, giving up. Your inadequacy presents you with a continual choice – deep dependence on Me, or despair. The emptiness you feel within will be filled either with problems or with My Presence. Make Me central in your consciousness by praying continually: simple, short prayers flowing out of the present moment. Use My Name liberally, to remind you of My Presence. Keep on asking and you will receive, so that your gladness may be full and complete.”

    Blessings,
    Elizabeth
    http://yestheyareallours.com

  • Alicia

    oh this resonates with me! We’re missionaries as well and my 5 year old is really struggling with attachment issues with friends. We’ve had two close families leave, taken a 6 week furlough trip (so he’s had to stay a lot of good byes), plus we moved across town. For the last 2 months everywhere we go and everyone he sees he says “Will we ever come back to this place, will we ever see them again?” My heart just breaks for him. It’s one thing to deal with the loss myself, but a whole other thing to help my little one through it. So, I am right there with you, clinging to God’s sovereign plan for our lives. This song has long been my heart’s cry. Thanks for sharing.

  • MichelleH

    {{{Joy}}} All of us moms have that ‘I’m making the wrong choice’ thinking. We all wonder if what we’ve decided is best maybe isn’t. You’re certainly not alone in that. I hope it helps a bit to know we’re all on the second guessing road. And I know it helps to remember He is in charge and works all to His good.

  • Hilda

    Dear Joy, I have recently started reading your blog, and love your humble, Christ centered heart. Your writing encourages me! I never been a missionary but I felt like I can relate to what you said. I am just an average momma, who wants to give the best for my kids too and to think they might miss out on something makes me sad. Miss out on things I enjoyed as a child. See, I am from Hungary and life is quite different there than in the US. Not a third world country,but not like America either. I only moved to the US when got married 5 yrs ago. And I don’t want my kids to miss out on the simple stuff…I don’t want them getting caught up in this culture of constant wants…I want them to
    appreciate that we have an AC, two nice
    cars..restaurants to go to..and I could go on an on. Just compared to how I
    grew up, they have so much more now. I pray, that they will one day know
    and realize that. I have no idea of the hardships
    and emotional burdens that
    you face each day.I just wanted to encourage
    you,from what I do know, is that we struggle here
    to teach our kids what your kids learn by just living
    in that country. I am convinced that it will add such richness and value to their life,that you can’t even imagine right now. It is so refreshing to see that you cling to the Lord in the midst of your very normal, momma feelings. I pray He fills you with his peace in your every day life!

  • Joy Geaslen

    Oh, Joy, thanks for writing this post! It made me cry. I am already praying that Zoe won’t resent living in Indonesia and that God will help her as she grows up far from extended family and from some of the opportunities and luxuries that she would have in the US. As I am finishing language school I feel really sad about leaving Salatiga–I like it here! And I have friends here! As I indulged my sad feelings about transitions and moves I heard a voice in my head say that this is what I signed up for. True. And where would I rather be than following Jesus wherever he sends me? And where would it be better for my baby to be than with her loving parents in the places where they are sent to live? Even though I don’t know where we’ll be living a year from now (not yet assigned to a specific base in Papua) I choose to trust God and I know he’ll help us with all the transitions.

    Do you think it is harder for parents, feeling guilty about what our kids are missing, than it is for the kids themselves?

    Right now I’m grateful that we can remind each other to trust God with our children. And I’m grateful for the many wonderful things about living here.

    • Heidi Tunberg

      As an MK from Asia who now works with MKs from all over the world, I will say that raising your kids overseas (when you did not grow up there) is almost always harder than being raised overseas – that is, it’s harder for the parents than for the kids.

      It is natural to long to share with our own children the things we loved from our own childhoods. You have fond memories of things you enjoyed as a child that your kids are missing, and that brings guilt or sadness…or both. It is a loss for you not to be able to share those things with them. But usually, they don’t feel they are missing out – they are way too busy savoring the childhood joys of their overseas home.

      In fact, when your kids grow up to have kids of their own, they may struggle with that same sense of loss if they raise them in the U.S. (or wherever else their “home” country may be). When I talk to TCK parents doing that, so many say, “Is this REALLY all I can offer my kids?” We long for our kids to play on tropical beaches; explore cobblestone, European streets; go monkey-hunting with local friends; barter for treasures in open-air markets; and enjoy all the things we loved as children. But even more than that, we want them to experience the world first-hand; to know another culture intimately and love it deeply; to speak another language without a foreign accent; to develop confidence and cultural sensitivity and the ability to relate to people all over the world.

      Yes, there are hard things about being an MK. Goodbyes & separations from people and places we love are painful. Cultural awkwardness during re-entry can make for some miserable years. There are certainly MKs who wish they’d never gone overseas. But ask MKs if they would choose that childhood, and the vast majority would say, “Yes!! A thousand times, yes!”

      So while it is fine to grieve over what your children are missing, recognize that the loss is yours more than theirs. And be encouraged knowing that even as adults, they will likely remember cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise as sources of great delight.

  • Thecalmafterthestorm14

    Wow! What a humbling post to read first thing in the morning. As I complain about it raining, and my coffee is no longer hot. Little things. If my heart was more focused on Him maybe I wouldn’t be complaining so much? Thank you for this. For putting things into perspective. And for the work you do! Blessings and prayers!

  • http://web.me.com/jarodandjennifer/Site/Welcome.html Jennifer (Jordan) Ebenhack

    Hi Joy! Feeling for you today and praying for God’s grace to continue to fill you! After being in Haiti for 8 years, we’re now in Florida. Ironically, adoption paperwork that once confined us to Haiti with our kids, now keeps us out of Haiti! All my fears of never having my kids experience anything of life in the U.S. is completely reversed. It was all so miraculous, yet now my kids are TCK on this side. God has been SO gracious, and everyone has been adapting beautifully, despite the little bumps in the road. For the past 2 years, many tears have been shed as they’ve all experienced homesickness for Haiti, but everyone’s starting to stabilize. I have done so much reflecting on where we really belong, and of course, the conclusion is we’re just not home yet! Someday… someday we’ll get there! In the meantime, I’m so thankful that God meets us in each of our unique places, giving that moment-by-moment grace! Praying for rich peace and joy in your heart today!

  • Becky C.

    Joy, what an inspiration and encouragement God has allowed you to be! I know nothing of the MK side of things, but often wonder if homeschooling keeps my children from many opportunities. They miss sports, musical opportunities, friends and learning things I can’t teach them. But we just trust the Lord that we are doing the right thing, and that they will want to live their lives for Him most of all. Love to you all!

  • Heather

    Wow. Thank you for sharing. I can’t imagine how you feel at times. I can understand the feelings of your kids missing out. Will pray for you!

  • http://feminineadventures.com/ Anna@ Feminine Adventures

    Joy! What a beautiful post. Reminded me of Christ’s promise: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.”

    Even though we live in America, we live simply and avoid commercials, etc. It’s amazes me what will get my kids jumping in joy–like pancakes. :) Many of my cousins are MKs and I so know what you mean about the “not feeling at home in any culture.” Praying for you and your beautiful children today!

  • Searching4hiddentreasures

    Fantastic post!

    I’ve seen this before. My dad was military. We’d go out of country for years {5 was the longest – Panama – I loved it there!}. But when we came back we were NOT in style….and the cereal aisle was FLOODED with new kinds – it was whole new world!!

    I saw it at Bible college more. MKs that came and didn’t know the culture, but they loved God. They didn’t understand why we did certain things the way we did, but they knew doctrine and how to love people. One friend of mine didn’t hardly speak English – her own language! – but she did have a beautiful French accent and she did know how to lead people to her Saviour!

    I can only imagine how you must feel, as a mom. But, God has a plan and God is sooo Good!!

    I loved this post! It brought!

    ~Angela

  • Mommymarynn

    Joy, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for every word you write. I also want to tell you that you literally are living the life I thought I would have. I went to college to become the missionary I had dreamed of being since I was a little girl but got tripped up along the way and wound up in Southern California where I fell in love with the man I’ve been married to for over 10 years. We spent our first year being the leaders of an orphan choir (all the kids were from India, Burma, Nepal and the Philippines) which was the best of both worlds…American conveniences and luxuries alongside these precious children from another culture who were incredibly grateful and humble…I loved it! After that year though, my husband pursued his career and I became a SAHM in the suburbs. I’ve been so busy with little ones that I hadn’t stopped to take note of it, but recently I became painfully aware of the fact that I’m not living the life I always thought I would (seriously, I thought I would have 5 kids living in a remote place married to a missionary pilot or pastor). But God has shown me that THIS is where He needs me in order for me to become who He created me to be. I think it would have been easy for me to go and “hide” as a missionary and not face the challenges of living in this American (and Southern Californian) culture. So, the cup that is before me is being a SAHM mom to 2 amazing little girls, while waiting patiently for the Lord to open the doors of adoption, and finding purpose in my normal, not-missionary, life (though, I would say I’ve discovered that my mission field is my husband and kids, so in a way I’m a missionary). We are planning to begin homeschooling next year and I have you to thank for it…because of your post about Sally (well, many posts that include her name/books/conference info.), I went to the Mom Heart conference and my perspective of my children has been FOREVER changed, along with my view of how the Bible says we should educate them. Thank you for what you do Joy!!!

  • Kathi

    I will say a prayer for you in this time of trial. They whooped! at cheese sandwiches! The cup is half full! Most American kids will never know how blessed they TRULY are relative to the rest of the world. Uh hem, spoiled… I have seen families of 12 living in makeshift structures with cardboard roofs to keep out the 90 degree heat of the day and being thankful for water. Drinkable water. And, Your MK hubby soon learned what a policeman, fireman was AND had an amazing appreciation for life at a young age, I’m guessing as well. You and your children are in my prayers; the cup IS half full as you are walking with and FOR the King. The pastor in Iran; the children, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and siblings in Syria, Uganda…I will also pray for today. God bless you Joy!

  • Toni

    Joy, I don’t know you but would love to! I was introduced to you through Sarah Beal. My family went to the mission field of Kenya and then Zambia for 12 years. I remember feeling those exact feelings and thinking those same thoughts our first year on the field. We arrived to the field with a 1, 2, 3 year old and I was less than two months away from delivering our 4th child. Our first night in Nairobi I sobbed in bed after hearing a plane fly over head and listening to dogs barking and people screaming (we weren’t staying in a neighborhood the tourists see!). I wanted to get on the plane! Over a decade later the Lord brought us back to serve in a church in CO. I couldn’t believe the irony as I laid in my mosquito net covered bed in Kitwe, Zambia once again sobbing listening to the public transport mini buses hooting their horns and dogs barking while thinking I was not wanting to move back to the states! Amazing how time and the Lord make anywhere seem like home and obstacles actually become blessings. In pondering moving back to the states I had fears for raising my children in the homeland I had grown up in. When I moved to Africa I was sad that my children were missing out on Awana, Youth groups, parks that actually had equipment in them, libraries (before the days of easy internet access and kindle’s), and most importantly – grandparents hugs and kisses! side note: The church the Lord allowed us to start in Kenya actually has several AIM and MAF missionaries attend. I now have a son who would love to be in missionary aviation!

    While gearing up to move back to the land that has it all :) I was feeling sorry for my kids that they had to leave a ministry where they were so hands on, interacting with folks in a different culture, seeing first hand real life hard struggles of poverty and death, the joy of worshiping with believers in a different language, family readings by candlelight because once again the power has gone off, pulling drinking water from the pool (mission field isn’t all woo’s :)), boiling the water and filtering it because we had no water in the pipes. The list could go on. I did know in my heart and mind that the the Lord would use my children spending a good portion of their formative years on the mission field it was just my human brain “pondering” it all. Ps. 9:10 became a favorite our first term. “And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.” And then, Ps 37: 25, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” Your children will thrive because of where God has you. My kids still consider themselves MK’s. They read all those “You know you are a MK when” lists and laugh because they can relate! We have been stateside for 16 months. In many ways it feels like it is time to pack our bags because furlough is over yet I know this is where we are in the lovely home the Lord provided for us here. My husband still teaches missions and writes on it. The Lord is growing my children and they love being in the states though their hearts are in Africa in many ways. I really liked the Acroynm, COGWK’s – Center Of God’s will Kids that Sarah Beal coined. I’m going to remember that one! I see God’s hand in our move and I know that in years to come your kids taste buds may prefer the homemade mayo instead of the jarred. Maybe not… but it is a possibility. My prayers go out to you as a young mom who loves her kiddos. Can I bring my kids for a cheese sandwich :). Kindly, Toni Hafler

  • Shilo

    Joy, thanks for putting into words what so many of us missionary mamas feel and face. Your willingness to let the pain be the force that pushes you to Christ is so beautiful. You bless me, sister! BIG HUGS, Shilo

  • Johanna Hanson

    I can totally relate as I grew up as an MK. I loved it though and wouldn’t change anything. There are so many good things in every situation and your right it takes God’s grace to embrace it all!

  • http://www.ps67.blogspot.com/ Sarah

    Oh, Joy! I am crying – for you and with you. I can truly relate; I definitely have had these “cheese sandwich” moments while living here on the mission field. My heart cries for what my kids miss… for just how different their lives are growing up than what I, their own mommy, can relate to… for how even though they have lived here their whole lives, they’re still foreigners… for how when we are back in the States, they don’t fit in either… There are times when the pure joy of seeing them reach a new milestone is mixed with the sorrow that grandparents are missing it all. Oh, I know this part of the cup you carry.

    Some of my “cheese sandwich” moments: My son cheers when he turns on the faucet and water actually comes out. I cry. What American kid actually expects there NOT to be running water and is excited when there actually is? While home on furlough, I had to dash back inside in tears after witnessing the look of wonder on my son’s face when he saw the smallest flurries of snow for the first time. He had told me for a couple of years that he “reeaaally” wanted to see snow (it never snows in the tropics, does it?). And, I’ve been a little teary lately as I remember him waking up on his 3rd birthday asking for his grandma to be at his party… and I had to go close myself in the bedroom to cry… again. He’s been here since he was 3 months old and my daughter was born here; there won’t be many birthdays with grandparents present. Now, he’s turning 4 in a week and not only while grandma not be there; daddy will be gone on a project for our ministry.

    Yes, you are right; so often I see and focus on the amazing blessings our kids get to have growing up in a beautiful culture different from my own, learning another language, etc. But, there are still these moments that sneak up on us and bring on the tears… and, yes, they do seem to happen more often when we’re not feeling well or there’s no electricity!

    I cling to Psalm 16. “The Lord is my chosen portion and cup; You hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” It reminds me to cling to Him, to choose joy, to live in the pleasant places of His will for my life, to look forward to my beautiful inheritance.” Praying for missionary wives and mommies around the world that share this cup…

  • Kaitlin

    Thank you for this post and being so real! I lived overseas single and am now in the process of preparing to move with my husband and 1 yr old daughter. It is so different planning to move with a family. Just yesterday I was in tears over how we are supposed to pray for our daughter knowing we are putting here in a tough situation! So often all I can do is cry out to God and trust him to give me the strength.

  • http://closingtimeblog.com/ Erin

    My hubby and I were missionaries before we had kids. So I’ve never walked that road. But I’ve seen it traveled by dear friends working alongside us. I know it’s hard…so hard…

    But it also makes me think of the other side of the coin. I think of my kids who are growing up here. My heart aches that they’ve never seen what life is like for the majority of people in the world. They haven’t walked the dirt streets, seen the struggles, and shared the hope of Jesus with people who have never heard His name. They know life in America. Their life is good, and it’s the cup that God has for them for this season of their lives. But my heart’s desire is for them to experience the other side too, to know firsthand that life isn’t this “easy” for everyone. I want them to learn to cherish our blessings but not hold them too tightly. I pray that they grow up with eyes to see the world beyond the very tiny piece that we call home.

  • Rambo Meg

    Thanks Joy,
    This was good to read. My struggle as a mom to MKs is the fear of them always being on show. Like your pictures show, when we go to town or t for ministry our skin is quite white next to those around us. We stand out and can never blend in. I have taught my two little boys to wave and be friendly but somedays I feel like we are movie stars. I pray that I am not giving them a messed up view of themselves as more important than they are. I want them to be friendly and share Jesus’ love but I don’t want them learn to love the spot light.
    Praying with you for the MKs out there and for the mamas who are raising them.
    -Meg in Uganda

  • http://lifeofamissionarywife.blogspot.com/ Kaylee

    Thank you, Joy, for sharing your heart. I’ve had these moments. We moved to Bolivia a year ago but we are here for the long-term and we have three girls. Sometimes it hurts so much to think of what they will “miss.” It definitely seems harder to bear the ideal of the other culture on rough days when there’s no electricity, water, etc. and the reality of this culture is so much more the focus.

  • Jody Dake

    Yes! You certainly have a “reason to worship!” You may feel dry, hungry, and weak, but “our God is the God who provides,” who gives nourishment in times of need. His grace is sufficient. “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Cor. 12:9 Blessed are you for following God’s will and plan for your lives. Your concerns are valid in this day and time, but I am praising Him for all of the “American” things you don’t have to worry about, the attitudes we have, our “social” lives. What a joy to think a cheese sandwich is such a treat! Praising Him for you right now and praying you are covered by Grace today.
    Always Experiencing Him,
    Jody

  • Ashley Chaney

    First of all, thank you so much for all of the ways you encourage me with your humble openness and your quickness to cling to the gospel of grace. Your posts have blessed me time and time again.

    My husband and I have been walking through what it looks like to live missionally even though we’re in the US right now. He’s in the tech/corporate world in D.C. and he has a heart for missions even though it doesn’t seem like right now we’re supposed to be leaving the US. I’m not a MK. My world has always been small. I was a PK in a small church where we really didn’t know/interact with missionaries to the nations at all. Yet the Lord has been faithfully growing my heart for His mission, His glory. Two truths He’s really been pressing into my heart are that this is not our home, and that every lost person is someone’s child. I read about the lives of effective missionaries like Ann Judson or Hudson Taylor and I see that they were looking beyond the present moment and treasuring what would last an eternity. I think about how much I yearn for my child (and the little one on the way) to know the best thing… the joy and freedom of knowing and loving their Creator, their Savior, intimately as a friend. What about the ones who aren’t mine but who may never know Him? I know we can never do it all in this respect, but I have to ask, am I doing what I can? …All He’s called me to?

    I mourn that we are far from family here in MD (they’re in AZ.) It is still painful, but it helps to see that the world is so much bigger than me. Thank you for letting us all see your example, even when its raw and painful. You are doing a good and lasting thing! The Kingdom is richer and fuller because of the work that you and your family are throwing yourself into! You’re in my prayers.

    Ashley

  • Anna Wegner

    I’m raining TCKs of my own. Some of it I love- they are not bombarded with the negative aspects of American culture- they totally get that there are “starving kids in Africa” because they see them out their front door.

    But we miss family and friends. I’m sad when they can’t remember someone who is a vital part of our lives. I wish I could show them the good parts of MY culture.

    But lots of prayers and trusting God. :)

    Thanks for posting this.

  • http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com/2012/02/we-only-have-today.html Dionna

    I appreciate your honesty and as a fellow mom, sympathize with your mama’s heart. So many people don’t see this side – the sacrifices made.

  • http://www.larawilliams.org Lara Gibson Williams

    You precious woman of God. How He smiles over you, and over them. You walking faithful to His call means they are exactly where He wants them to be. Cheese or no cheese. Praying He graces you with glimpses of His future plans for their lives.

  • Gr8brady

    Howdy!
    Just an encouragement for you: most of what your kids are “missing” are things that it is good for them to miss! Not time with grandparents and cousins, obviously, but parents here in the States have a constant battle against the culture. And you know what? If your kids are good, godly, and strong in the Lord, they are TCKs, even if they grow up in the States. I know.

    My parents were missionaries, but we were based in the States for most of my life. Though we grew up surrounded by the culture we were foreigners in America because our values system was different. Instead of valuing hip-hop stars, drugs, alcohol, and premarital sex, we valued God, family, and purity. Before about age 20 I couldn’t identify any famous actors, singers, songs, or movies that most of my peers were discussing. I dressed differently, talked differently, thought differently than my peers.

    I know things are more drastic for your kids (I have cousins who grew up as MKs on a remote Pacific island and we heard a lot about their struggles when they came back for furloughs), but in so many ways it’s good that they will never feel fully at home in American culture because none of us should feel that way. We are not home. Our values and belief systems should match our true home culture, Heaven!

    • Louise

      I to was raised in The States but with a vastly different value system. I began the adjustments when I was dumped into public high school, and I began to give thanks for my alternative upbringing at that time. I’m 58, still coping with the laughs because I don’t know the cultural idioms, still learning how to be salt and light to the broken souls in a devastated moral landscape,and I’m still giving thanks. Three of my grandkids are third culture kids, I’ll pray for your kids too. God Bless You.

  • Lliheitak

    I am moved to tears remembering my own MK years and even worse, the first few after returning to the States as a 12 year old.
    You, like me, have found and will continue to find your comfort in the Lord, which is priceless. But I’d like to add encouragement from the other side: the kids may or may not end up “fitting in,” and they will almost certainly have difficulty returning to the States, but there is a whole wide world full of people like them. They have been displaced, removed, or sought refuge; they’ve emmigrated, wandered, adventured or just been an mk third-worlder, like me. :) But as the years move on, by the grace of God, the sting stings less and the confusion is gone. The hole remaining is a longing for the *simple* life of naivety and adventure that we lived in PNG. The kids *will* end up fitting somewhere, even if it is only in the world-wide sub-culture of third-worlders. I’ve got a billion of them that I’ve reconnected with on facebook; it is so fun to see how my former classmates and fellow MKs have grown up to be their own type of missionary, home country or otherwise.
    Thank you for your post today. I will remember to pass on these lessons to my own young kids today.

  • http://ourfamilyforhisglory.blogspot.com Our Family for His Glory

    Oh, sweet Joy- what a blessing you are to so many- including those little ones that grace your home! The sacrifices you have made bring such honor to God! I’m so thankful that you are clinging to Him- for your Mommy heart & for the hearts of your children! I’m praying for you & your beautiful family today!
    Jessica

  • Jennifer

    I am new to your blog, but have been enjoying your posts. Today’s post made my eyes well up with tears. You see, I’m a Missionary Kid. I lived in Mexico with my parents for my last 8 years at home, and then returned “home” to the US. But it was not my home. I can fully identify with your comments on being a third culture kid and having trouble fitting in everywhere. I attended a Mexican school and had almost exclusively Mexican friends. It was hard, and I still remember being made fun of or feeling like I was on the outside alot – both in Mexico and the US.
    BUT, having said that, I have to offer you some encouragement taken from my experience. Living in another country with my family was one of the best things that has happened to me. I am completely bilingual and my worldview is totally multicultural. Also, one of the best things that happened is the closeness of my family. My mom is my best friend, and my brother and I still share a closeness that not many do. Living as a third culture family “forced” us to become better friends with each other and rely on each other more than those outside of our family.
    I cherish the time I spent in Mexico…my parents prayed fervently for my brother and I to adjust to life there and in the US. I hope this comforts your heart as you think of your little ones today. Praying for you!
    Jennifer

  • Cvleuen

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I, too, love that song, though I’m familiar with the Hillsong version. I’m praying for you and your kids right now. I dreamed of being a missionary, but God has never opened that door for us. Ps. 16 reminds me that the boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me, and helps me to be more content where I am.

  • Rachel H

    Wow. Thank you so much for sharing. This is exactly what I have been going through. We live over here in Thailand, and right now I’m struggling so much with all that the sacrifices that we have had to make. Its hard to see your 8 yr old daughter without any friends. And then my own personal stripping and conflicts as I adjust to this culture. We have lived here for about 3 years, and already the children forget so much about America! Its amazing to me though…I think its harder for me than them! For me, this is foreign, abut for them, hot tropics has those comfortable cozy feelings of childhood! It is funny to see their surprise when I tell them about dishwashers and hot water faucets in America! Praying for you today…thank you again!

    • Rmajor35

      We are moving to Thailand this summer & this post definitely spoke to some of the things that make me sad about moving (though I am mostly happy). At least I won’t be alone!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Angela-Richter/1632533801 Angela Richter

    Love your heart sweet sister in Christ! I so admire what your family does to spread the gospel and hope of Jesus! Praying for you and your family as you live a life for HIM!

  • http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com womenlivingwell

    Oh goodness Joy – I had to fight the tears back as I read – my heart hurts for your mama pain. Thank you for putting it so beautifully…the one thing I know is that your children are beyond blessed to have you as their mother. Your tenderness and awareness of what they face is such a blessing and I know they will do well because of you (and God and your hubby :) )
    Love you girl!
    Courtney

  • http://www.onedaycloserblog.com/ Amy {One Day Closer}

    If third culture means their main culture is that of heaven – they are better off than the rest of us, as painful as that cross is..

    They feel, acutely, what we should. This place is not our home. It is a beautiful reminder to me, in my complacent-camel-walking-through-the-eye-of-a-needle life, of how I should live. How I shouldn’t fit in.

    I wish your kids would never know the pain of their position, only the beauty of the parable they have been chosen to live out.

    That a child has the honor of serving the Lord in sacrifice on that level… and I sit here in comfort at my computer that never turns off… I’m humbled, and a little bit ashamed.

  • Joyfulmom4

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us. – Lisa K.
    http://www.mommyministry.blogspot.com

  • Anonymous

    Oh sweetheart,

    this post makes my mama’s heart ache. I am tempted to think that your kids aren’t missing on anything, because all they really need his “Him” and where ever they are in the world, He will meet them there.

    But yet, here I am, in Canada, safe in my comfort zone. Near the people I love, with much more then I deserve, my heart can fully understand your pain.

    I try to focus on what I’m giving our little family, I know to the eyes of most we are missing on many things,because of our conviction, budget and other things. But I’m giving them imagination, a love to serve, a love for Him, no money can by this, no material things or experiences can compare to knowing Him, our Lord and saviour.

    But there are days, when my heart is discontent,when I think of how small our home is, how much work needs to be done, how I long for certain things that are not nessesities but I just want them, selfishly. On those days, i forget what I’m giving them, and focus on what I’m missing. On those days, our ship is not sailing on smooth seas, but in a tempest,it’s not pretty.

    Contentment is something that needs to be “learn” and I’m very much still learning

  • Lastrapesjessica

    Your story was really very on time for me… I could go on and on with details, but I won’t :) I too have battled hard with desiring a “different cup”. You have helped me to appreciate the cup I have been blessed with and confirmed for me what I’ve felt the Lord telling me here lately. Thank you so much! Be encouraged!!!

  • Vbfamily

    I was a missionary before getting married and having kids. I miss it oversees so much. I long for my kids to know what it’s like in other countries. There are good things culturally your children may be missing out on ( as you mentioned in your post). If it is any encouragement to you at all, there are also so many negative influences they will not have to struggle with as well. :-) I’m sure you already know this but just wanted to encourage you. Thank you for the sacrifice you and your family are making so others may know Christ and know Him more fully.

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  • Stacie

    Joy, thank you for sharing the “realness” of being a missionary mom. I have to admit that all of our dearest friends are missionary families. Not feeling called to missions at this time, we do have a heart for missionary families and love to get together with them whenever they are in the states. It’s like the time never passed and we are best of friends. We love their children and they have a special bond with our children. We homeschool and try to guard our kids from this wayward culture as much as possible. Getting together with missionary families is like a breath of fresh air. Your family is dearly loved, cherished and appreciated. Your sacrifice will not go unnoticed by the One who matters the most. “Consider it pure joy…”(James 1:2) I will be lifting you up in prayer. -Stacie

  • Jenny B

    Beautiful Mama!

  • Sonya Schroeder

    WOW Joy thank you for sharing your heart, it warmed my soul to hear this. My cheese sandwich moment was when the Lord had me walk away from a home based business that I was a part of for 6 years to the calling of wife/mommy! It was a huge change to the fact that life was good as long as WE were getting OUR ways. The Lord opened us up to a true life with Him without {material} things. It was hard at first however when your children ask you questions that help them to know their father more, every moment spent with them is worth it. Its about learning to lean on Him fully and know everything we go through as a family is for HIM! Hugs

  • K Stensaas

    So beautifully written! During this furlough, I have really noticed how my children cling to other MKs or foreigners. They have enjoyed our visit to the States, but they all long to go home to Uganda where they were born and have grown up. May this post be a reminder to all to pray more for missionaries and be understanding of the adjustments they have to make both in their field of service and in their land of citizenship.

  • Mrsbuckett

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s amazing how military families and missionaries can have something in common with moving and being “displaced” of sorts. We are in Italy currently with two under 5 and some days its a daily struggle and others it is not. Praying God continues to fill you and gives you much wisdom to share with others. :)

  • http://carriethinkstoomuch.blogspot.com/ Carrie

    Love this! I, with my five MK’s, have experienced similar.

    When we were on furlough last spring, our moment was at the Burger King and they gave us a handful of free ketchup packets. We didn’t use them all, but couldn’t bring ourselves to throw them away.

    My kids think of America as the land flowing with free ketchup and soda pop refills. It’s strange to them to wear shoes to church. To dress in a suit. To sit on hard pews or even chairs. To not have employees follow them around the store, watching for them to steal something.

    But I think they have a more open heart to diversity, and that makes me glad.

  • Anonymous

    My heart is blessed to read this post, friend. It’s interesting, but I’ve been so incredibly burdened for my kids, and I say the very thing you’ve said here, “What of all the little things they will never know?”…but about remaining in the US. We’ve always thought God would use us overseas, but so far, he’s chosen to make us fruitful in suburbia. There’s not a day that goes by that my hubby and I don’t speak of our longing for the kids to know another culture, the loss of electricity, and the privilege of eating real cheese sandwiches any day of the week. I pray for contentment here and now in my own life…and I pray for perseverance and renewal of strength in yours. Love and hugs…

  • Jeff and Robyn Lowe

    Hi Joy! We are missionaries, living in Zambia. We live about 10-11 hours outside of the capital, where we do our grocery shopping. I had almost the very same moment with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for my kids but can also completely relate to your cheese sandwich incident. I have to make our bread, so a sandwich in my house is a real treat. The jelly has to be sent from America and I hoard my peanut butter. The Pringles that are available in Lusaka come in flavors like Prawn, so we don’t usually get them. If we do happen to FIND Pringles AND they are plain, it is a celebration in my family. Now, to actually get them to my house down a very long, muddy and bumpy road is another matter. All this to say – I absolutely and completely relate. Honestly, been there done that. I’m in this with you, girl. :)

  • Ladams

    Glad to see that lots of MK’s responded. After 25 years back in the States, I see more of what I gained living in Mexico City from 3-15 than what I “missed”. Exposure to another culture, the language which helped on the SAT’s, a maturity my peers did not posess, a world view was what I gained. We fully immersed, that is, we did not hang out with fellow Americans as much as found life and friends within the culture. I think that helped. Comfortable, suburban, American life is overrated and boring compared to what I experienced as a kid. Yes, my faith was and is stronger.

  • Lori Jackson

    Joy, what an amazing faithful woman of God you have become. I love your honesty, especially on an issue that is so dear to your heart. Most will not fully understand what you are saying, unless they or someone they love has experienced it. Yes, there are amazing things that your kids are learning and yes they get to do things other kids will never do. Would we trade it? Most likely not. But the reality of our lives is just that, taking the cup the Lord puts in front of you. Just like the Lord did. If there is any other way please take this cup from me, but not my will but yours! Your are learning deep things from the cup of sacrifice. That is beautiful. But the sacrifice is just as real. Being “willing” doesn’t necessarily make it easier.

    I am on the other end where I will be sending my daughter back to “her home”, that is definitely not “home”. I am so grateful she is an MK. She will surely experience the “reverse culture shock”, which may even be worse than coming here. I know she will have to lean hard on the Lord, and He will meet her. I know it! I have often felt, and said, the exact same thing “what have I done to them”. And in the end the answer is “I have taught them to find their identity in Christ”, because no other identity fits.

    May God comfort you these days, as you will feel this many times over. May God meet you as you cling to him, and as you do that, you are teaching your kids to cling! That is beautiful.

  • Shannon Deterding

    I can definitely relate, and while my culture difference is not nearly as significant as yours it exists. I pretty much grew up horseback, and am currently not able to provide that for my children. They are just coming to the age of learning to ride and all other things horse-y.
    It seems silly – I am so blessed and have so much to be thankful for – to yearn for something like that. But I feel like it’s a huge part of who I am, and who my parents are.
    I remember feeling sorry for my cousins who visited us “from the city” who wore shorts and sandals and had never ridden in the back of a pickup, let alone on the back of a horse. We lived in boots and jeans and each had our own horse since we could walk.

    Now my kids are those “city kids”. I, too, am clinging.

    Thank you for expressing it for me so clearly. It will give my prayer focus and remind me that clinging and drinking the cup before me are the best choices to make.

    Mrs. Ding ( http://mrsdings.blogspot.com/)

  • http://www.domesticserenity.org/ Daniele @ Domestic Serenity

    Beautiful my friend, simply beautiful. May grace hold your heart in check and minister deeply to you… No MKs here, we have PKs :) – a journey you also understand. Thank you for sharing of yourself.

  • Anonymous

    Oh Joy my sweet sweet friend… If we are all being honest, we all have times when we feel ways that perhaps we think we should hide, but what I love about you is that you share your heart whether it is rejoicing or lamenting. I love you and I pray for you every single day.

  • Janedoe

    Please tell me that you are pregnant and that this is just a hormonal moment for you.

  • Mary’s APE blog

    Well said. I’m from Canada and live in the USA. It grieves my heart to know that my kids won’t know family the way I did growing up. But I keep my eyes on Christ too. Great battle song! I need to get one of my own!

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  • Donna Hogue

    This is just stunning to me. Thank you for baring your soul to us. Praying the Lord will give you the desires of your heart. I am so grateful for your love for our Lord and your service for Him and for those He wants to embrace.

  • MK

    hi
    just a word of encouragement
    i am an MK just recently left Africa and gone to america for education. i was born and raised in Africa and never knew the american culture.yes it was as shock when i returned but i realized what the important things in life actually are. it is not eating stale crackers and bugs,or not knowing what mcdonalds is that matters in life! growing up with the truth of Gods word; seeing the truth shown daily in my parents life, in their testimony; seeing the sacrifices made for the Lord and for his glory and the results; seeing the glowing face of a new convert, and knowing that the best thing in life is to be in the Lords will. this is what life is really about! the experiences you children will have in life will enrich them and prepare them for whatever the Lord has in mind. the less we fit in with this world the closer we get to the One who placed us here for a purpose!
    God bless!

  • Nadia Swearingen-Friesen

    This is a mindful, prayerful, beautifully painful post. Thank you. It benefits even us first world mommas to read these words. Thank you.

  • Rachel

    We’ve been in China for 8+ years, but the last three and a half since our children have been born have brought many cheese sandwich cries. Glad to know I’m not the only one…

  • Rakel Thurman

    Joy, I finally got around to read your blog about the cheese sandwiches….oh my heart both cries with you and laugh with you at the many, many memories of raising third culture kids….who are actually different from you and me…they are their own culture….stuck in between, or enriched in between. They will never be like us, they will always have a global perspective that we don’t have…and you now what, they will turn out beautiful….because it is actually what we do to them that will form them into who and what they are….and this is what you are doing Joy….and they will be the better for it. Look forward to having many more cross cultural talks when you get home next year….love and all the best. Rakel

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  • Lou Ann

    As a missionary wife with two grown children, I fully understand what you are talking about. My kids were definitely third culture, but it’s interesting that, even though all that they knew about the U.S.A. before college was the furlough experience, they really did okay in the long run. (I remember my kids talking about the U.S. as “Remember the church with the ugly carpet?” and “the church with the balcony,” etc. They didn’t see much besides the insides of churches!) In college, they each had a rough year when they felt they didn’t fit in. Each of them has a heart for missions and outreach to this day. Our daughter married an American man and teaches in a Christian school in the U.S. I don’t think she would have dreamed up this life for herself, but God did. She is happy, well-adjusted, and also carries with her the broad world view she got by growing up outside the States. Our son married a girl from another country, and they are ministering in yet another country in both English and Spanish.

    We found that God doesn’t waste life experiences, and He gives each child grace to handle being “different.” We taught our kids that they had the best of both worlds, and we and they are still convinced that’s right! :o)

    God bless you, dear sister!
    Lou Ann

  • Shannon Foster

    How I loved this post…I can well relate as we live in the Philippines. Sometimes, I cry too, especially in the fall when we miss apple cider and pumpkins! Believe me every can of pumpkin we get our hands on is TREASURED! It’s encouraging to know another mama is feeling what you feel, and choosing to rejoice and cling, praise through the tears, and live for the hope of eternity. My husband is also a MK, TCK, and I know well the struggles he has faced!

  • puamama

    We are not of this world~our citizenship is in heaven. PRAISE GOD they will never have to “identify” with a culture, social group or peers so to speak. They will be chosen for a special work that not require that. AND I’m rejoicing with you that their hearts are being sown with the JOY of the LORD for the simple, little things!
    Aloha in Christ,
    Denise B.

  • Anonymous

    Though I don’t understand what you and your family go through but I thank God that people like you take seriously the call to GO. Go into ALL of the world. If more of us would go, our kids would be just like your kids… and your kids wouldn’t be so “different”. What if the way your kids lived became the norm for Christian families? Just a thought…

  • Leanne

    Joy, I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now and have really enjoyed it. For some reason today I found this post and it just resonated with me. I’m an MK, technically from Canada but feel more at home in Mexico and now married and live in the US.:) Even though I’ve been away from Mexico for years it is still home to me and although the struggles were great not knowing my own culture or getting the three confused between Canada, Mexico and the US, I wouldn’t trade my upbringing for the world. The other missionaries in my life were incredible people, their influence better than any community I know of. Than there were my friends…some American, some Canadian and some Mexican…the world view an MK has is totally different than most but a great one as well. I wanted to encourage you that as your kids grow and “gasp” eventually leave home for college etc…that you have taught them well and though they may struggle in their actual culture they will be better for it all.

    I still don’t think I fit in.:) I’m 30 now, two kids and one more on the way and live quite far from my family and although I know this is the path God has me on it is crazy hard some days as we are a close family. However, God is always faithful and He carries me through. I love your tender mom heart and how you grieve for the things we may take for granted here or find mundane…brings great perspective to my life once again. So often I just want to return to the mission field!:) Maybe one day. I also think it vital that there be a ministry to kids coming off the field…depending on your mission you may have a good one! For me even though our mission has a good program for kids returning to the States they don’t have that same thing in Canada and I was lost for awhile but those harder years also helped shape who I am in Christ. I know my parents questioned their choices, questioned if they were doing the right thing and questioned how to help their children but they honestly did a lot right but just teaching us of Jesus, immersing us in another culture, talking and talking to us and praying their hearts out!

    Thank you for a glimpse in your life. I love reading your musings and thoughts on God.
    Leanne

  • Juli M

    Hi Joy,

    This touched my mama heart so deeply. While by no means even close to the sacrifices you and Dave have made to serve Jesus, I can empathize a small bit when it comes to how I feel about our choice to home school our children. Our oldest sees the school bus go by each day, but has no idea what it feels like to climb the stairs and look for a friend to sit next to. Field trips, sack lunches, cafeteria food, the joy of a teacher popping in an unexpected movie, these are all foreign to him. They have no eternal value at all. I know this deep down, but my heart and flesh asks me if some day he will resent our choices on his behalf. Will he feel left out when everyone else is joking about a common experience that he never had? I know we are where we are supposed to be. We prayed about it. So why the nagging whispers in my ears? Like your children, my kids don’t know what they don’t know. It’s me that knows. And isn’t even all good stuff that they are missing.

    Thank you for sharing this. For being open. For helping me to know I am not alone in the struggles I choose not to be share. Will be praying for you guys.

  • yakcheese

    We have to remember that God calls us all as a family and that includes the kids, to the work He has for us. It’s not something we are just dragging them into and along with, but they too have been called by the Lord to this work and ministry. Doesn’t make it easier on a day to day basis, but helps to put things in perspective, at least for me.

  • jen key

    this is exactly what I need to remember. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and wisdom, your transparent need for the Lord is such a blessing. I love to read your writing. we definitely all have our “cheese sandwich moments”. probably one of my biggest cheese sandwiches is grieving for my oldest son who has so many learning struggles that are a part of his High-Functioning Autism. It is not the social challenges, sensory integration that are the most heartbreaking instead it is his academic struggles that seem to be a wall we just cannot break through. He is very aware of them and it is heartbreaking. The what ifs and if I only’s can really be so heavy. I have to continual heave them at the foot of the cross (often lay at the foot of cross and let them roll off me:) and rest in God’s will, timing, purpose(even unseen), most of all His kindness and love. through the GMG Ephesians study I was really struck by how many times Paul talks about God’s kindness and the kind intention of His will. I spent a good bit of time growing up in Europe so I can relate a bit to the third culture experience although certainly not the same. So thankful for what your family is doing for the Lord! Hope you all are doing well! Again, thank you! Blessings, jen in al

  • Heather Allyce

    You are such an inspiration! I cannot tell you how much your blog has encouraged me with my ONE little guy. In many ways I envy your situation… to be away from the business and craziness of our culture in the states, and to be in a place where life is more simple. I am sure that there are many many inconveniences and I can hear the heartbreak in your voice in this post about your children. But let me encourage you that they will grow up so much more thankful than many kids in the US. Just thinking about myself and my husband and how ungrateful we are for what we have. Just the other day my husband was expressing his frustration that we only had cheese for a sandwich (I did not buy any deli meat at the store). And to hear that your kids are overjoyed with sliced bread, mayo and real cheese. It humbles me so much!! We complain far too much and thank God far too little for what we are given. Thank you so much for sharing this, and many other things about your life. You have encouraged me more than you know, all the way in New Hampshire. Keep up the awesome work serving your family and serving others!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bozarth Brian Rebecca Bozarth

    My husband’s family lived over in Hong Kong for 12 years… dad was running a resort and teaching tennis… the 3 kids were exactly what you call Third Culture Kids. Even now in their 30′s, I can hear the difference in their conversations and how they relate and what draws them. I often struggle to be in the mix and “get” this family. Somehow it draws me too (maybe we will live overseas some day) but also can feel alienated. Thanks for the post, helped me see in words what I’ve been trying to understand for the past 10 years.

  • Jmenold

    Joy, a friend forwarded me your blog. I am a mom of five serving in a very poor area of the Dominican Republic. They are 9,7,5,3,&1. We have been here for almost 10 months now and I think I have experienced the words you write of! It is so encouraging to me because in the ministry we are in I am surrounded by singles or married without children. Life with children on foreign soil IS different. Experiencing the discomforts, the pains physically, the spiritual battles …etc does put one through fire and prayfully a beautifully kilned clay pot. I am walking through this myself as a mom of 5, homeschooling, and a wife of a husband in ministry! Trying to find thankfulness as you write of. I am sure your busy but would love to contact you at some point and soak up wisdom ! Thanks for your honesty. http://Www.themenoldminutes.com. Jen

  • Jenny

    Here is another great song to sing in troubled times. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y56nxe5HeFI

  • kgirl

    I grew up as an MK too and am constantly reminded that this world is not our home. You never fully fit in anywhere but the good news is there are other military and mk kids out there that understand and what a better glimpse of the world the way Christ sees it. I wouldn’t trade my oddities for anything!

  • Becca

    ert

  • Becca

    What a blessing–to grow up in a different culture where they are being raised. Having grown up in a different culture (but, still in America), having never fit into one group or another, I must say, it’s going to be okay. You are giving them more than our culture is offering any child these days– the riches of life that are almost non-existent here. And children know what they live. And that’s all they need. Kids are happy–wherever they are. I battle our culture—every. single. day. And I feel like I’m losing the battle at times.

    I remember reading articles as a young teen/adult about not fitting in. Not in one culture, or another. Being in-between. How difficult it was, how uncomfortable and unfair it was to experience my experiences- the bigotry, hatred and humiliation. Of what? Life? What was the danger? I began to believe it.

    I pray for you as you struggle with this. I want these to be words of encouragement. Your babies will be okay. They will find joy in the simple things (as we all should), thankfulness for everything. I pray for your strength as a concerned mommy. We see the world through a different lens. I pray.

    In closing—I’m ‘sure someone will challenge my words and wonder “what about you?” So, (to those people) I kindly add, Worry about yourself. The Lord has “taken care” of me and my family. Believe me.

  • Vicki

    We were missionaries in Brazil for 23 years. Seven of our 10 children were born there. Even though we lived in a big city, we couldn’t get everything we were used to in the USA, but we sure did get a lot of good Brazilian food – including wonderful fruits and vegetables! We’ve been back in the USA for 6 years now. No, our kids don’t “fit in” but they are more mature than their peers. We are glad we raised our children on the mission field and wish we could have stayed until the younger children were older. God met all of our needs and many of our wants. He is good all the time!

  • Slayamot

    Joy!. I stumbled upon your blog by chance and really liked it. I am not an MK and don’t have any MKs in my surroundings.. but this post made my heart to respond in a different way. I was born and grew up in third world country and immigrated to the US with my family when I was 21. When I came here I started college from the scratch, learning English as ESL and all the way to bachelor degree. The feeling of not fitting in.. it’s the same.. but there are so many people who doesn’t fit in this culture…You can always find other people who doesn’t fit and have friends. I’m actually proud that i’m different. It makes me more interesting to other people. I grew up in christian family in the country that was under the communist regime. I’ve never fitted in with the kids in school in my own country..everyone knew I believe in God and they always were pointing at me… so this always not fitting in, it makes kids so much stronger than everyone else anywhere they go. It made me learn not to base my self value/self image in what others think or talk about them very early in life. It made me wiser and more mature compare to my piers and saved from a lot of troubles later. In some way it’s a blessing.
    Speaking about ‘cheese sandwich’..I find myself on the other side of the spectrum.. I expect my first child in November, and sometimes I think how will I manage to raise a kid that would be thankful and appreciative of the things we have here. I really don’t want my child to take all these blessings God provided us in the US for granted. I wish she could experience ‘simple’ as everyone calls it.. (which is in reality anything but simple) life in the third world country. Because that’s how 90% of the people in the world live like. So, I’m even thinking of sending my kids back to my country one day to live for some time with my relatives just make sure they know how much they have. .. So in some way it’s a blessing too, that you kids are excited about real cheese. Growing up, I was excited about it too. I don’t think it harmed me in any way, instead made me to appreciate things I have now so much more.

    Yuliya

  • http://thewilsonsjourney.wordpress.com/ Ajoyflower

    I’ve just found our blog. I love it! Thanks for sharing. I am (was?) a MK so this post made me chuckle over your kids reaction to cheese. We lived in a modern city in Asia but cheese just wasn’t common. We would have to go to the “american” store to get it and then it was expensive so we hardly ever had it. I do remember cheese slices being very special :)

  • Heather

    For some reason I am just now discovering your blog (where have I been all this time?!?) and I just wanted to tell you that even just reading some of your posts my heart is SO encouraged. My husband and I have been cross-cultural workers in Arabic-speaking N. Africa since January and I have struggled with many of the same thoughts that you have shared here. Learning to be content in all circumstances, learning to cling to Christ when I have been stripped bare and humbled to the dust, learning to trust our Father with the lives and futures of our little ones, and learning to fight for joy for the sake of my husband, kids, and for the praise and honor of my Savior are just some of the things that I have been grappling with lately. I pray that Father continues to pour out his grace on you as you press on by faith in the roles he has called you to for now. You are certainly a tremendous blessing to your family and many others around the world!

  • Anonymous

    I have just found your blog and have been blessed already.. What wisdom you have for a younger lady! I am a middle aged mom with only one son left at home. I can appriciate your concerns, but I think the things they are experiencing and witnessing are far mor valuable than REAL cheese everyday! If you are living your life in sincerity and without hipocracy, and a balance (family first) , which it seems like you are, your children will be able to sort thru the other things as they experience them. YOu are doing an honorable thing and God will honor you for that. Keep on! I know we all have our days when we can’t even see the glass, even here in the good ol” USA!

  • Cara Balogh

    I don’t know if you’ll ever read this comment, but I hope to encourage you as an adult that grew up an MK. :) My family traveled the world and my childhood was definitely unique. Even now, I find that I have a difficult time “fitting in”….BUT, it’s easy for me to see that God shaped who I am for a purpose. Because I’m different, my husband and I clicked instantly when we first met (he never felt he “fit in” either!). Because I’m unique, God uses me to meet unseen needs. I can see and understand things that few others do. I feel so blessed that I didn’t grow up spoiled by American television and popular culture. I have my own family now and am raising three kiddos of my own..in the USA. God’s love and truth…your love…that’s what your kiddos need..and want! They’re gonna be just fine :) As a side note, there is a wonderful program in Redding, CA called Gatehouse, that helps MK’s adjust to living in the US when they re-enter the country for college. Obviously something far in the future, but it’s sometimes brings peace of mind to know there are people out there who are prayerfully working to meet the needs your kids may one day have. :) God bless..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1368655714 Dana Miller

    Thanks so much for posting….your blog is a blessing…I need this encouragement. Remember God has a “cup”for your kids, and their mk experience fits right into His plan. :)

  • Krys

    I just now discovered your website, when a dear friend of mine sent me a link to this post….I’m a missionary kid myself, and your post made me cry. My experience as a third culture kid is very different from what your kids are experiencing and, in a way, is probably not quite as extreme; but, even growing up in the bush of Northwestern Ontario, my world-view is so very different from most of my friends’. I remember getting certain kinds of cereal and snacks when we went “home” to visit extended family, and feeling like it was Christmas. Now that my siblings and I are young adults we’ve had a lot of discussions as a family about the things that have shaped us as TCK’s….my mom brings up a lot of the questions that I hear you asking, “What have I done to you? What sort of struggles are you facing as a result of our decision to be missionaries?” And yes, there are days when I’m so tired of being different and just want to feel like I belong somewhere….but really, I would never, even on the worst of days, ever want to trade my rich, weird life for one that is normal and filled with cheese sandwiches and Pringles and trips to the library. =) So, mother dear…continue to cling, continue to do battle, and always remember that our God can take “deprived” childhoods and make them into rich, amazing adulthoods!

  • http://www.tulipgirl.com/ TulipGirl

    One of our indulgences on our recent maternity leave in the US was cheese sandwiches with yummy mayo. We had a lot of indulgences along those lines. My boys’ earliest memories were in Ukraine — there was a lot they needed to learn when we went back to Florida. I’m grateful for the five years we had in the US. . . especially now that we’re overseas again for the foreseeable future.

  • Tbrown

    This warmed my heart. You are an amazing mother and I am sure that God does not only have you in Indonesia for a reason, but your kids as well. Thank you for sharing this.

    http://stepstochangetheworld.wordpress.com/

  • Daehler B

    Very honest and touching post. I am a mother of 3 here in Texas. I have to admit that after our last short-term missions trip to the Dominican Republic this summer, I wanted to move all 3 kids and hubby there immediately. It wasn’t God’s will but my own…I am so overwhelmed with our American culture and how far from the Lord it has gone, that I find it exhausting to raise my children. I felt like even without AC and electricity I could sleep better there because my children weren’t immersed into our current culture. This year we took all of them out of school (It was one of the best public schools in the country) and I homeschooled my younger girls. We are now sending my middle school son to a private Christian school. I ask myself the same questions…what have I done by seperating them from their friends. They are not a big part of the community like they once were and we are all a bit lonely at times. I love how you tell everyone to cling to Him…that truly is all that any of us can do. I will pray for you, but please be encouraged that what you are giving your children is far greater than anything an American upbringing could give them.
    Your sacrifice will matter in their lives and the lives of so many over there.
    God bless you over there!!

  • Jeni

    My sister recently told me about your blog..I am enjoying it and “When cheese sandwiches make you cry” really hit home for me. We have been living in Chile and can really identify with the feelings and “guilt” that we sometimes have by taking our children away from Grandparents,cousins and all of the normal things that defined our own childhood.Thany you!

  • Dory

    As a family here in the US I find the same struggles as society cast off Jesus and there are many many many “luke warm” families rasing “luke warm” children…Sad but true!

    Loved the song – so good! Blessings to you and your delightful family

  • http://strangerinaforeigncountry.wordpress.com/ tmnord

    Joy – As a former MK, I offer you these words, perhaps not of comfort, but of truth. Obviously, your kids have so much to gain in their lives as MKs. I don’t think you need to be reminded of that. What struck me as I read your blog is more a confirmation of your pain. You are right, your kids will miss out. They will have to deal with that pain and loss in their own time and in their own way. They may experience it as your husband did, or it may not hit them until they are 25 and figuring out who they are.

    As a mom, it kills me that I cannot protect my children from the hurts of this world. As a woman, I know that the pain I experienced is part of what has made me who I am today. Were the losses I experienced as an MK painful? Deeply so and it took some grieving to heal from them. But, God has used them to shape me and make me into the woman he wants me to be.

    The truth is, if you were not a missionary, your children would still experience serious loss and pain, just with different roots. It’s part of life, this side of heaven. I think the most important thing you can do for your children is to help them feel free to express the loss and pain that they do feel. One of the hardest things about the pain of being a missionary kid is that sometimes, you don’t feel like it is ok to be hurt by the losses – after all, they are losses experienced in the name of doing God’s work. To a child, it can almost seem sinful to be hurt or angry at God. Give your children the freedom to question, doubt, and cry. Let them know that God is big enough to handle it and more importantly, He understands.

  • Lisa

    As a missionary mom in Zambia, Africa, I’d have to say that some of my “cheese sandwich moments” are
    -When my babies have malaria. “What am I doing to them? They didn’t ask for this!”
    -When they don’t have ANY Christian friends their age. Even at 5, my oldest feels the sting of not really fitting in.
    -Not really having a relationship with their grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins. I’m thankful for skype, but really… it’s not the same.

    I, too, struggle with wondering what kind of a life I’m giving my children. I feel as if they’re going to “miss out” on so much. No swimming lessons, no story time at the library, etc. But, like you, I’m learning this is the cup God has given us, and it’s my job to teach them to rejoice and praise the Lord through disappointments. Lately, I’ve become keenly aware that they could learn disappointments about their “lot in life” through my attitude. I need to guard my reactions and rather teach them that this life is the wonderful one God has called our family to.

    Every time our power is restored, my 3 year old shouts, “Pwaise the Yord!” :-)

  • Kimmyis

    I am an MK. I remember coming stateside when I was 14 and not know who the local sports team was or the pledge of allegiance. Now, 12 years later, I am so thankful for the experience of growing up abroad. Yes cheddar cheese was a treat for us as was peanut butter. To this day I treasure string cheese as something special. My life is fuller because of the difficulties I had. It was tough but it was incredible. You are giving them such a gift.

  • Victoria Rodney

    no words really. thank you for your transparency. Its healthy to have these moments, and offer encouragement for how to get through them. My hubby and I hope to be missionaries some day, we currently pastor a church and are headed in that direction. This really opened my eyes to some real struggles I will face! But that I can make it through! Enjoy your sandwiches! :)

  • Kelsey

    Hello!
    I love your blog! I noticed your battle song was Desert song which is originally sung by Hillsong if you’re interested in listening to the original version! :) natalie grant is awesome as well of course!

  • tascha.piatt

    as the WIFE of an mk.. a “third culture kid”, i have to say, it makes them such interesting adults :) i have learned things from him that i could NEVER have learned from a “only American” man. and someday, another besides family and the Lord will value their difference as much as you do. and no matter the culture they live in then, they will have so much to give, and they will thank YOU [and your dedication to the Lord] for it!

  • Jamie

    Wow! I was so encouraged to come across your blog and this post! Though my situation is slighty different (I am married to a Naga(Northeast Indian tribe) and living in India raising our daughter, I have had similar moments. Actually I’ve had many when-cheese-sandwiches-make-you-cry moments these days. For some reason my head is stuck in the missing moments instead of what I have right in front of me. Blessings to you and your family! May your tomorrow bring many more of the right-in-front-of-you moments.

  • Mindy

    I know that you wrote this post about 7 months ago now, but I just wanted to thank you. I think it’s amazing that your children are thankful for cheese. My biggest goal right now is to take my children on a mission trip somewhere so they will see how very blessed and spoiled they are growing up here in America. I want them to understand that we are richer than 99% of the rest of the world and nothing upsets me more than when they are being completely ungrateful.

    But, you also reminded me today to pick up the cup that God has given me. This place of ministry before me and go and do what he’s called me to do.
    SO, thank you very, very much!
    Almost 7 months later, this post has really struck a chord with me@!!

  • Sandra Ramos de Mast

    I’m new to your blog and just happened to see this post. I am not one to comment on strangers blogs but I felt compelled to leave a comment on this post. Maybe because I’m a third culture kid, or maybe because I’m newlywed and also read your advice for engaged or newlywed girls. Probably because both posts encouraged me. Thank you! Anyway, I just wanted to encourage you as your mother your third culture children… Though I don’t really know how. I am not a mother, but I am a daughter of a mother who went through similar struggles as you. My father is a native from EL Salvador so I, too, grew up tossed between 2 very different cultures and never really finding my place. Sometimes this is something I struggle with daily, other times I rest in the fact that this is “my cup” and therefore I will rejoice. Sadly, the first is more often on my plate than the latter. Everyone says “you have such an advantage” but the fact is it still hurts. But I just wanna say… Let your kids enjoy what they have. Someday, amid their swirling emotions as they try to find their place, they will see the advantage they had. the gift of enjoying simple things, for example. (loved the cheese sandwich story!) and in heaven we will finally find our place. we arent of this world anyway, praise the Lord!

    I don’t know if this made sense or not. But keep teaching your children to be thankful. You are giving them a big gift. I just say this because I’ve been there. And I do not regret what I learned growing up in that third culture. Someday we will find our place. In that Place where we will always fit right in.

  • spparish

    I absolutely love this– just stumbled across your page and onto this specific entry (which I think was a God-induced stumble). But I am a newlywed whose life plan–& now marriage plan–has been to raise kids oversees. This post was more encouraging than you know. I think missing out on a place in a specific culture is way worth knowing exactly where you stand with your Creator. They’re probably getting to do more than any other child here has ever even seen. Thank you so much for the encouragement! & for the song–it’s one I use all the time as a battle hymn. =)

  • MSL

    I just stumbled across your blog on Pinterest (my escape to all things beautiful while living in dusty, dirty Bolivia). I also have a third culture kid and this post resonates with me deeply. On the good days, it’s amazing. On the bad days, I cling. On some bad days, I forget to cling, and I complain. God bless you in your journey & in your obedience to Him. High fives for those of us who work through the hard times in another culture & try to show our kids another way of life. I’d buy you a starbucks if I could! :)

    • Joy

      Yes, you describe it so well. It is those bad days when I forget to cling that I too complain. :) Thanks for saying hello! It makes me happy knowing that you all the way across the world in Bolivia have many of the same feelings I do all the way over here!

      Blessings to you.
      Joy

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  • GBG

    My kids are living a different third culture kid experience-growing up in Europe. But right now when we didn’t have the money for our 19 yr. old (who is in the US) to be with us for Christmas, and I have another son who is a senior and a daughter in 10th grade, all I can see is being separated by thousands of miles from my children and my children being put in a difficult place of having to live in a place that is not home, not really having anywhere to go to in the States that is “home”. Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement! This upcoming loss is a part of missionary life that I had never bargained for as a young missionary 15 years ago!!

  • Thea

    I know this comment is late, but I just stumbled upon your blog today.

    This post made me cry, because of both pain and beauty. I am a TCK, 22 years old now, who returned to the US 11 years ago after living in Peru for about 4 years. Before that, my parents were missionaries in an American urban ghetto.

    I still miss Peru. I still grapple with people not understanding my longing for a foreign culture. It still frustrates me that others live in cultural isolation. My best childhood friend just got married and I had to congratulate her via Facebook.

    But I would never exchange it for the world. These experiences have given me a global perspective, cultural diversity and wisdom. I consider my current location to be my current mission field. I am not afraid of the unknown. And it is so fun to be able to draw from a wealth of “python” experiences to make conversation a little more interesting.

    Know that the Lord has plans, painful and beautiful, in store for your little ones. But they are only good because He is good and can be trusted. Your obedience to Christ is giving them tools to be all they are meant to be for His glory.

    Life is an amazing adventure.

  • Abbi

    This blog post broke my heart for you. Sweet woman, the childhood your children are living is so much better for them than any typical American grilled cheese childhood. They are cultivating a thankfulness for the small things, a contentedness when life gets rough. They are learning to depend on God every day for each small need. And when they do grow up and return to the States, their childhood will have blessed and prepared them in ways inconceivable. I grew up as a missionary kid in Thailand; we didn’t have a lot of things that typical American families would, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. My childhood taught me contentment, and gave me a rich backdrop of experiences that leave me hungering to share the gospel and to get more out of life than just a nice house or new car. Bless you for sharing His Word overseas.

  • http://twitter.com/mrsbigtopp mrs bigtopp

    thanks for this. We just arrived in the same place 6months ago – prob different island. MAF are great a real blessing to our lives!