Marilyn Gardner

I can’t remember when Jonathan and Elizabeth Trotter first entered my online writing life. Perhaps it was when the former ALOS site founder and I were discussing one of their posts, perhaps it was before – no matter, at some point I realized that our online friendship had become one that I looked to for […]

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I work in public health. As opposed to being a nurse in an emergency room or intensive care unit where care is focused on an individual patient, as a public health nurse I look at whole populations and health projects that will ideally make entire communities healthier. Before moving to Kurdistan, I had the privilege of […]

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Success or Faithfulness?

by Marilyn on March 8, 2019

It has not been an easy week here in Kurdistan. From difficulty with websites to difficulty with people, there are times when I would like life to be easier. I’m sitting now at one of the two coffee shops in Rania, listening to Adele on repeat. Adele is easy on the ears, and I find […]

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A Prayer of Repentance

by Marilyn on February 9, 2019

To the women and girls of New Tribes Mission* Lord, we repent for the sins against children. We repent for having ears that were deaf and eyes that were blind. We repent for the loss of innocence and beauty – things that were stolen from children molested in the dark of night. We weep for […]

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Clenched Fists and Heart’s Desires

by Marilyn on January 9, 2019

It’s a New Year here at A Life Overseas and as I type I’m looking out at the barely visible mountains that surround our home here in Northern Iraq. On clear days, you can see the snow-covered mountains in Iran and they are beautiful. Today as I look, the entire area is covered in milky […]

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‘Tis the Season of Incongruity

by Marilyn on December 9, 2018

Deck the halls with calls for charity! Fa-la-la-la-laaa, la-la-la-la! ‘Tis the season of incongruity! Fa-la-la-la-laaa, la-la-la-la! #CottageChristmas or starving children? Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! My heart is caught and I cannot win this thing! Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-laa. I don’t know about you, but I can’t do this. The sense of incongruity is overwhelming me this Christmas. I go from essays […]

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Capable of Complexity

by Marilyn on November 11, 2018

I loved growing up overseas. I loved that I knew how to traverse the globe at a young age, that I grew up on curry and hot pakoras, that I could see some of the highest mountains in the world from the grounds of my boarding school. I loved the colorful stamps in my passport – […]

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Fictitious Billy and God’s Highest Calling

by Marilyn on August 9, 2018

Fictitious Billy grew up in Pakistan. He loved Pakistan with all his heart. He loved riding the trains and looking out dirty train windows at the passing scenery. The train would go from dry desert to lush, fertile areas in those long train rides. He loved going hiking in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountain […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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  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 […]

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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, […]

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