Marilyn Gardner

On Welcoming the Third Culture Kid

by Marilyn on July 9, 2018

We are in the midst of summer, but I am already hearing and feeling the groans and pangs of how quickly the summer has gone. Summer flies by, especially when you are in transition. Soon college towns will begin to see old students return and many new ones come in. Among those old and new […]

{ 1 comment }

I felt my face grow hot. I was in a small town shopping at a smaller store when a well-meaning woman stopped and asked me about the purse I had with me. “That’s a beautiful purse” she said brightly. “May I ask you where you got it?” “Oh” I said, a smile lighting up my […]

{ 0 comments }

  One of the best-known yet least known stories in the Gospel of John is about a woman known simply as the “Samaritan Woman.” The familiar story tells us that Jesus had left Judaea and was returning to Galilee. The trip took him through the region known as Samaria where, tired and thirsty, he sits […]

{ 0 comments }

Failed Missionaries and “But God…”

by Marilyn on April 9, 2018

When my husband and I left what was supposed to be a three-year missions commitment in Pakistan after one year, we were angry, hurt, and deeply wounded. We didn’t leave Pakistan, but we did leave a missions community that I had been a part of since birth. This community had raised me, loved me well, […]

{ 2 comments }

Honor the Grief, Honor the Goodbye

by Marilyn on March 8, 2018

“Make sure you say goodbye” I text these words to my youngest son, followed by “It’s important to say your goodbyes.” He is only leaving for the summer, he will be back on the same campus next year. But it is critical to me to say this to him. I want my children to be able […]

{ 1 comment }

Creating Place

by Marilyn on February 7, 2018

In recent years, authors have released a plethora of Christian books about home and place. From Jen Pollock Michel’s Keeping Place to Tish Oxenreider’s At Home in the World, many have a lot to say about roots, feeling at home, and stability. I read these books with both appreciation and cynicism. I’ve lived in 28 […]

{ 17 comments }

“Our missions work has lacked the diversity necessary for it to be as effective as it could be. There is a dearth of leaders of color, voices of people who are living in communities that are being ‘served.’ The intentions for most are rooted in a strong sense of call, but we have to correct […]

{ 3 comments }

There are some stories that remain in a family and become a part of our DNA. These stories are told year after year, but they never get old. Here is one of our stories that reminds me each year of the wonder of Christmas. My mom grew up in a small town in Massachusetts called […]

{ 0 comments }

”I’m pretty sure God loves Ann Voskamp more than he loves me.”  I wrote this to a friend recently. I don’t even know Ann Voskamp, but I was still convinced that when it came to actual love, I was in the dog house and Ann was in the castle on the hill. I mean, what’s […]

{ 7 comments }

Is Calling in our DNA?

by Marilyn on September 8, 2017

“So” said the kindly woman at the Baptist church. “You must want to be a missionary too when you grow up! Do you think God will call you too?”  I recoiled. I hoped she wouldn’t see the visible distress on my face. She was so kind. She was so excited about my potential. How could […]

{ 3 comments }

Every summer I begin thinking about change and transition, about reentry and culture shock. With the first warm breezes of the season, I am transported to places and times where this was my reality. And I begin to hear stories from others who are going through these transitions. The stories are told in photographs and […]

{ 7 comments }

June is the month of transition for overseas workers and their families. It’s the month where many make the decision to stay – or to leave.  Decisions to leave are not made lightly – I know this. They are made with butterfly filled stomachs, hurting hearts, and a lot of soul-searching tears. The decision to […]

{ 2 comments }