Tuesday, May 24, 2022

9 Thoughts That Plague the Desolate Soul

Ever since the day I turned 13, I have been prone to depression - not the blues, not the grumps, but full-blown, full-scale depression. Here are some thoughts that oppress me during those times when my soul feels desolate:

  1. I'm inadequate to do what I'm expected to do.
  2. There's no purpose or enjoyment in any of this.
  3. I can't handle any of these changes in my life.
  4. I think it's too hard to make and keep friends, so I'm not going to try.
  5. Nobody could possibly understand my feelings, and I don't know how to put them in words anyway.
  6. My brain isn't processing well. I can't concentrate. I can't learn.
  7. I'm wasting my life. I'm not learning and doing as much as everyone else is.
  8. People are telling me I'm not smiling or talking. They're asking me what's wrong. That's strange.
  9. I don't want to make any decisions - especially not life-changing decisions.
"AND AMONG THESE NATIONS SHALT THOU FIND NO EASE, NEITHER SHALL THE SOLE OF THY FOOT HAVE REST: BUT THE LORD SHALL GIVE THEE THERE A TREMBLING HEART, AND FAILING OF EYES, AND SORROW OF MIND."

Missionary Kids’ Adjustment Difficulties: Guest Post by Becky Enterline

 

1. In Mourning—Often the loss of Christian friends, unsaved friends and home causes great sorrow, and time is not allotted for movement through the stages of grief.  Because of visa restrictions it is sometimes true that the college student will never be able to return to his childhood home again, or it will seem as though he never will.  Many MKs are grieving.

2. Using passive-aggressive behavior—Because many Christians believe that they should never express anger, they never verbalize their anger.  The numbers of losses MKs accumulate through their constant mobility can cause an anger that becomes internalized.  They may become self-destructive in various ways. See How to Really Love Your Teenager by Ross Campbell, M.D.

3. Expecting Special Treatment—Every time the MK has been in America, he has been treated with extra attention.  The church people ask questions about his mission country.  He gets special meals.  The MK receives gifts more often than other children.  He is often the center of attention.  In Sunday School class, the teacher may expect them to know all the answers, even when the child missed the story from the week before.  The MK must act like a small adult.  Often he can not run and play in front of the church people.  He doesn’t get the experience of long-term friendships because he is always going from place to place with his parents.

On the field he is often very different and may receive stares and special treatment constantly.  His family may never be accepted as part of the community.  He may have very little practice at long-term community living and be used to the life of a visitor/nomad only.  This contributes to a sense of rootlessness (“Where’s home?  Where do I belong?  Why don’t I seem to fit in anywhere?).

4. Little sense of self-identity—The MK’s identity is bound up in his parents’ ministry.  The father’s work is not separate from the family’s life. The child doesn’t feel himself to be an individual.  Some young teenagers will take on the role of adult missionary.  It is different from a child in America getting interested in church work.  It is a continuation of childhood pretending to be a grown-up and doesn’t allow for the necessary cognitive questioning work of the healthy teenage mind.  Most MK teens have no youth pastors or high school teachers who can lead them into applying the Bible to their own thinking.  They really can’t afford to think on their own because the everyday work of the Gospel ministry in the mission nation needs their time and attention.

5. Little opportunity to practice self-identity—Even if the MK does develop a sense of who he is as an individual in the mission country, he has to do it all over again when he re-establishes his life in the sending country.  The folks in the sending country do not expect there to be any difficulty, but there frequently is.  The MK may have made himself into a small adult to help on the field and may not have taken time to do all the play that is necessary for emotional and social development.  Of course, emotional and social development can be quite different in foreign countries.  The ways emotional and social needs are met is different.  Many cultures, for example, do not require the high level of independence that American culture requires of adults.

6. Pretending—Because the MK often perceives his parents’ ministry as dependent on his own behavior, he may continue pretending, the natural learning technique from childhood, into the teenage years.  Any misunderstandings he may have about Christianity or the Bible will be buried if this is the case.  Some of the young people only feel, or vaguely sense, their misunderstandings and cannot verbalize them.  They rebel against their confusion about God and Who He is.  Others may experience depression because their desire to please a just God clashes with injustices which they observe in everyday life, but they dare not openly voice such questions or uncertainties because of their parents’ ministry positions.  The MK teen who chooses to keep pretending may feel the need to lie or be deceitful.

7. Boundaries—Not only is the sense of personal boundaries different in each culture, but the MK experiences an unusual lack of boundaries when traveling from church to church.  He will stay in, perhaps, hundreds of different homes as a guest with his parents.  Americans will tell him to help himself and make himself at home.  Keeping his hands off of other people’s things will not be routine for him.  He will be used to people being delighted when he uses their stuff—which doesn’t go over well with college roommates.

8. Friendships—In deputation work, the missionary family have intimate discussions with their host families.  This intense relationship may continue just four days or less, and then they are off to other places.  Intimate and intense, but short-lived friendships are the norm for the MK.  As the MK matures and begins to develop his own personal relationships, he will sub-consciously continue what is to him the normal pattern of friendships.  Other people may not like that.  They may be hurt, possibly feeling like they have been deceived or taken advantage of (defrauded).

". . . REJOICING IN HOPE; PATIENT IN TRIBULATION; CONTINUING INSTANT IN PRAYER . . ."

Monday, May 23, 2022

Compassion: Guest Post by Mark Weaver

 October 7, 2004

Dear Mark,

          You're right, dating is a serious thing, not to be taken lightly.  And love is troublesome, but oh, so worth it.  I really thank God for all the guys I had crushes on, because I learned so much from how they responded to me.  They were all Christians, some more mature than others.  Some of the most encouraging words I ever heard from a guy were, "It's just a friend thing.  It's never going to be anything more than that."  Because I knew he was right, but I needed him to tell me that.  And then he said, "I hope you do find somebody."  Because he knew how much I wanted somebody.  And I said, "Thank you.  Just pray for me, OK?"  I expect he still is praying for me.

          I wonder, Mark,- and you don't need to answer this question - but I wonder, what kind of a woman would it take for you to ask her to marry you?  I feel sad when I think about you with a cold, petting the cats and drinking hot chocolate, with no one to talk to.  But our Heavenly Father knows best.

          In the words of the song, "Unfailing love flows from His heart and heals my soul.  In spite of who I am, He loves and makes me whole.  I almost can't believe it's true - unfailing love - and yet I know, He gave His life to give to me unfailing love."

          Your sister in Christ,

          Sharon Rose

October 7, 2004

Howdy, Sharon Rose!

          What a nice sentiment, that you feel sorry for me aaaallll alone at home.  I really do appreciate it.  I can't really say that I can remember a time when being alone was burdensome, but I can't say that I have ever really been alone, as even when the folks are away for months at a time, I know that they are planning on coming back.  I've always been somewhat of a hermit. 

          I don't think I have any requirements for "the" woman I would consider marrying.  I leave it entirely up to God to show me if and when I should get hitched.  I know for the majority of people, God has a wonderful companionship planned, and there are few greater feelings to me than seeing couples together raising kids and terribly in love.  I have tried to fit the norm and be romantically involved, but have found that that invariably leads to disastrous results.  So I say again that I am just going to try to be aware to where our Lord is leading me and not fight what He has in store. Thanks again for the great compassion you show!

          Your key-pal,

          Mark

"A FRIEND LOVETH AT ALL TIMES."

Sunday, April 17, 2022

33 Good Things to Do Without Working: A Sabbath Rest List


  1. Read your Bible.
  2. Study Bible knowledge.
  3. Memorize Scripture.
  4. Meditate on Scripture.
  5. Prepare gifts.
  6. Write thank-you letters.
  7. Eat without much preparation.
  8. Listen to sermons or Christian radio.
  9. Sing Christian songs.
  10. Practice music.
  11. Take a walk alone or as a family.
  12. Get extra sleep.
  13. Play with kids.
  14. Ride a bike.
  15. Swim.
  16. Play table games.
  17. Read blogs.
  18. Chat with family & friends.
  19. Visit a nursing home or a shut-in friend.
  20. Go to the playground.
  21. Have a friend over.
  22. Have family devotions.
  23. Scrapbook photos.
  24. Play chess.
  25. Pray for missionaries.
  26. Write to missionaries.
  27. Write to imprisoned believers.
  28. Draw pictures.
  29. Read poetry aloud.
  30. Memorize poems.
  31. Pray out loud.
  32. Count your blessings.
  33. Call up the far-off friends and relatives.
"FOR IN SIX DAYS THE LORD MADE HEAVEN AND EARTH, THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IN THEM IS, AND RESTED THE SEVENTH DAY: WHEREFORE THE LORD BLESSED THE SABBATH DAY, AND HALLOWED IT."

Friday, April 15, 2022

My Personal Life Goals


  • Keep my home and work space well-organized, pretty, and clean.
  • Maintain my body by exercising consistently, eating appropriately, pampering occasionally, and treating illnesses wisely.
  • Obey my God by reading His Word every day, praying about all my concerns, thanking Him for His role in my life, supporting other believers wholeheartedly, and boldly sharing my faith.
  • Invest in my social life by seeking out opportunities to make new friends and spend time with old friends.
  • Build my career by continuing to blog at lease once a month, posting my writing and lesson plans, and turning my life stories into books, as well as revising old favorites to be retold in today's English.
Well, readers, are your life goals similar to mine? 

I've heard it said: "Put your goals in concrete and your plans in sand."

"I PRESS TOWARD THE MARK FOR THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS."

Thursday, April 14, 2022

My Sample Gratitude Lists

TEN THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF

  1. I know God personally.
  2. I smile a lot.
  3. I'm good at writing.
  4. I'm good at arts and crafts.
  5. I care about my family and friends.
  6. I'm a Third Culture Kid (TCK).
  7. I pursue my dreams.
  8. I'm polite and kind.
  9. I have a strong memory.
  10. I have pretty hair.
TEN THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR FRIENDS
  1. Bonnie is sensible
  2. and creative.
  3. Veronica is sweet
  4. and relaxed.
  5. Andrea is friendly
  6. and cheerful.
  7. Boda is caring
  8. and prayerful.
  9. Laura is upbeat
  10. and available.
TEN THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR LIFE
  1. I'm married to James.
  2. I'm a mom to Annika, Timmy, and Heather.
  3. I have a close relationship with Papa, Nana, and Mimi.
  4. I can walk.
  5. I can see.
  6. I can hear.
  7. I can use my hands.
  8. I can eat.
  9. I can speak.
  10. English is my native language.
TEN THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR HOME
  1. Staircase
  2. Dishwasher
  3. Washing machine
  4. Dryer
  5. Shower
  6. Computers
  7. Books
  8. DVDs
  9. Food
  10. Beds
TEN THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY
  1. James is gentle
  2. and has integrity.
  3. Papa is kind
  4. and respectful of others.
  5. Mama is faithful
  6. and artistic.
  7. Annika is imaginative
  8. and gifted with language.
  9. Mimi is cheerful
  10. and has a great sense of humor.
TEN THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR GOD
  1. God loves me.
  2. God is good at teaching me.
  3. God shows mercy to me.
  4. God likes music.
  5. God made flowers.
  6. God made animals.
  7. God is very, very patient with me.
  8. God empowers me to do right.
  9. God gives me wonderful gifts.
  10. God challenges me to use my gifts wisely and well.
TEN THINGS YOU LOVE TO DO BY YOURSELF
  1. Take walks.
  2. Sing new songs.
  3. Sing old favorites.
  4. Take a hot shower.
  5. Write.
  6. Read psychology books.
  7. Read novels.
  8. Read Bible study books.
  9. Type.
  10. Eat.
"ENTER INTO HIS GATES WITH THANKSGIVING, AND INTO HIS COURTS WITH PRAISE: BE THANKFUL UNTO HIM, AND BLESS HIS NAME."

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Musical Language Study

Take a junior-high student who studies Romeo and Juliet and the American War for Independence and surround her with students who study Japanese calligraphy and haiku in the original language. Then expect the American girl to communicate with all the Japanese girls. That was my social situation as a missionary kid living in Japan. My Japanese speaking ability progressed slowly, and so I approached a barrier every time I tried to communicate with my peers.

I developed socially and linguistically through acting in musicals. The hardest part of acting was not getting in front of an audience or memorizing a script or harmonizing in song. The hardest part was interacting with the other cast members, even though they were girls my age and younger. I tried my best.

Speaking Japanese, I said to Yuki, “I went to camp last week.”

She replied apologetically, “No, I didn’t get to go to camp.”

Because of my inflection, my statement had become the question, “Did you go to camp last week?” My uncertainty was reflected in the tone of my voice.

In our dramatic productions, uncertainty was erased for a time. Those scripts stretched flat vocabulary into the shape of poetic dialogue. I learned my lines not by rote, but by meaning, even though it meant punching the buttons of an electronic dictionary to find out what those sounds conveyed to the audience. From the script of A Little Princess, I memorized the words “orphan,” “attic,” and “diamond mine” in Japanese. Grammar patterns fell into place as I sang out loud and clear. I always knew what words would be spoken next, because we had rehearsed it last time the same way.

The communication process offstage became simpler. Taking the words of the plays, I blurted them out in conversation. And that usually worked—except that certain characters’ lines did not represent the quiet young girl I truly was. 

At camp one summer, I smelled the barbecued noodles and whispered to a friend, “I’m hungry.” Problem was, I said I was hungry the way the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk spoke when he was hunting for Jack to be his tucker. The words of a mean, ugly giant tend to sound uncouth – but can I be blamed for making a mistake? After all, “Fee-fi-fo-fum” was not spoken by a true giant, but by a girl wearing platform shoes and face paint. I did know how to say, “I’m hungry,” like a normal person, but the giant’s lines were simply stuck in my head.

I learned to share life with my Japanese friends by reading, hearing, and speaking children’s stories acted out. After about the tenth production, our play director told us to arrange our chairs in pairs. All we had to do was talk to a partner for two minutes and then the outer circle would rotate. I remember how easily the words flowed out and how happy I felt just to be talking to my friends one-on-one. The way I made it to that point was by singing and acting.

"THEREFORE IS THE NAME OF [THE CITY] CALLED BABEL; BECAUSE THE LORD DID THERE CONFOUND THE LANGUAGE OF ALL THE EARTH: AND FROM THENCE DID THE LORD SCATTER THEM ABROAD UPON THE FACE OF ALL THE EARTH."

"SING YE TO THE LORD, FOR HE HATH TRIUMPHED GLORIOUSLY."