Have You Seen? {June 21st, 2020}

We know the importance of Sabbath, and here at Velvet Ashes we don’t want to just talk about it. We also want to be intentional about it. For the past six years, we have taken one week out of the year to be silent—no blog posts, social media updates or book club—and use this time for rest, refreshment and creating space to listen. We do this for you and with you. We want to give you a heads up that Sabbath week is coming, starting June 28 to July 4. Curious about our past conversations about Sabbath? Check out more HERE.

Last Week’s Theme: Arriving

The Process of Arriving by Jenny Erlinggson—”I was not as prepared as I thought for the process of moving my family from my passport country to the small nation of Iceland. The hardest part wasn’t necessarily the leaving or even the arrival. There was a measure of adrenaline, shock and maybe disbelief that cushioned the sharp edges of transition. Oh there were tears for sure, but the thoughts of what was to come were still tinged with a rosy glow as I looked to the future. Perhaps it’s been similar for you. But then one day, maybe you are sitting in the quiet of your new home, gazing in confusion at unfamiliar streets or like me, in the aisle at your community grocery store, vision blurring as you try to make out the labels written in Icelandic. Hoping that what you buy doesn’t include ingredients your kids are allergic to. Praying that you don’t embarrass yourself by crying over seasoning. Surrounded by language you don’t fully know and people who don’t look like you.”

Weapons Against Evil {Book Club} by Rachel Kahindi—”There is a similar sentiment famously expressed by C.S. Lewis: “Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.” Two authors I love and have read from childhood, and am still reading today, both agree here. It was a tough week when I read this section of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon to my kids, but it was also full of hope. Evil is being exposed in the world. Many refuse to look, as if not acknowledging it will make it cease to exist. But so many more are working together to bring light into the darkness. This section had the most frightening encounter yet in the book – the Great Green Tiger, who happens to be the spirit of that old villain, Magistrate Tiger himself! The bravery and audacity of Da-A-Fu was inspiring. They were funny and also remarkably strong and courageous, if a little foolish.”

Arriving As a Family by Lilly—”You packed your bags. And your kids. Now you’ve arrived to start a whole new way of life. If you find yourself thinking, “Man! Doing this with kids is HARD!”, no one else has. I personally love every minute of moving with our kids. Like when I come home dead tired after getting lost in a city I don’t know yet while running errands in a language I am still learning, only to find kids that need discipline. Or when I want to retreat in the downswing of culture shock to process all the change, but my kids are needing me to process their own emotions as they, too, go through change. Yah, it’s super sweet. Ha! No, but really. Going through change with young kids, especially cross culturally, IS hard. Arriving to a new country brings the constant demands of culture shock. Doing that while caring for them – as they too deal with culture shock and therefore might be extra needy – makes for a great deal of stress. We have done this whole gig without kids and it’s another story entirely (though admittedly, with its own set of hard).”

Changing the Goal: Transformation within Transition by Amber Taube—”My sister in transition, I feel the responsibility to give you permission to change the goal at this crucial time. You are grieving real losses and processing countless unknowns. It may not be prime time to submerge yourself in ministry, but it is prime time to submit yourself to the work of the Holy Spirit. Your first months —maybe year(s)! — of cross-cultural work may be better spent learning and serving in humility than teaching and training others. How long that period lasts and how deeply you invest in others through formal ministry is between you and the Lord. In the meantime, you will be wise to submit to local and organizational leadership while seeking opportunities to train for ministry. “

From Around the Web

Bittersweet from Raising TCKs

Don’t Lose Heart

The Culture Tree: Where are you planted?

New Podcast Episode: Taking Cultural Breaks

Finally, 50 Books by People of Color

And Now For Next Week

The theme is…

Is it time to say goodbye?

There might be emphatic nods all around, you and your teammates or family members knowing deep down that yes, it is time. That doesn’t mean your heart isn’t breaking into a million little pieces.

Your return might have been planned, or it might have started with the jolt of a denied visa or closed border. Your return might feel messy and hard and painful.

Re-entry is part of the cross-cultural worker journey and takes time, healing and community. Returning is an important part of the transition conversation, so let’s dive in together this week.

Just like we need the sisters who have gone before us to the field who share their wisdom and experience, we need friends on the returning journey who can share hope and advice. Have you returned to your passport country? What did the Father teach you in that transition? If you could sit with a sister just about to return, what would you share with her?

Pretend this is your table, grab a cup of coffee, and join the conversation in the blog comments this week as we talk about returning. Share your thoughts on social media with the hashtag #VelvetAshesReturning.

How do we process all the loss of this season? So many of us have lost plans, hope, structure, community, and even life of those around us or loved ones. This webinar, presented by licensed counselor Theresa Bonesteel of GRC, will help equip us with tools to process our grief and disappointment. Click on the button above to learn more and to register.

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