The time has come to write my last post here at A Life Overseas. I have very much enjoyed sharing with you over the last few years, always impressed by the quality of conversation we find. Thank you for that.
As I’ve mulled over these finishing thoughts, I found myself wishing we could talk face to face, to share these last moments in a more intimate way. Although I’ve not known you personally, the effects of your conversations here have been personal and both challenged and encouraged me greatly. I owe you a debt of gratitude for that.
In saying farewell, I’ll leave you with the three thoughts clambering around my head these days…
Our work is not our identity. Our work overseas certainly forms a part of who we are, but thank God it is not entirely who we are. We are valued in God’s kingdom whether at home or abroad simply because we are His dearly loved children. That identity, not our job title or the place we live, is where we must ground ourselves. You are deeply loved and known by God, whether you work overseas or not.
How we share our stories matters greatly. On the quality communication spectrum, the pull towards an advertising/hype type model in ministry pegs on the low end. I know it’s hard to find a balance. Churches and individuals financially support us, are interested in our work, and expect updates. This is right and good. I know at times we also face the perceived, or maybe very real, pressure to demonstrate ourselves as a worthy investment of prayer and money. But there is a difference between sharing stories and selling ourselves as world changers. We do not need to have the best, most exciting, most results driven ministry news. Faithfulness and vulnerability go farther. In our actions and in our communication we have a choice to be glossy and sensational, or humble and open.
Serving overseas is not a great sacrifice. Yes, serving overseas does involve sacrifice. I will not downplaying the hardships. But when we think about it, what transforming aspect of life doesn’t involve sacrifice? Consider marriage and children. We don’t frame conversations about our spouses and children as purely sacrificial (at least I hope not or we have other issues to deal with!). We give the pregnant woman our earnest congratulations not because parenting is easy, but because in the scheme of life we understand the preciousness and value of children. In serving overseas there are costs felt, some quite painfully so, but the experience ultimately gives far more than it takes away.
Thank you again, friends, for the space you’ve allowed for me to process and grow. I am still overseas, still learning along with you, and forever appreciating our many conversations.
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”