Have You Seen? {May 31st, 2020}

Last Week’s Theme: Disciple

Let It Be by Laura Cerbus—”In Mary’s answer, I hear her acceptance, without complaint or fear, of a difficult and unknown future. Surely a million and one questions must have been whirling around in her mind and heart. Surely she knew the stigma and reproach she was agreeing to, in becoming pregnant while not yet married. She was accepting a gift of favor, yes, but it would not come without pain or sorrow. I’m sure she knew the stories of her own ancestors well enough to know that God’s favor does not insulate one from deep suffering. And yet, she accepts the Lord’s will. Her words foreshadow Jesus’ own, when he instructs his disciples to pray: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” “On earth” is a very grand stage. Mary’s words remind us that our own hearts, minds, and bodies are the specific places on that stage that must first be given over to God’s will.”

Where Are You Choosing Joy? {Book Club} by Sarah Hilkemann—”My sister, her husband, and their two young children lived with my teammate and me for six weeks before they returned to the US after their first term in Cambodia. While my dreams for an idyllic time of all fun and games crashed and burned (a much longer story for another time), we did have the opportunity to share our meals together, go for walks, and enjoy doing life together for those days. There were long conversations after the kids went to bed, movie nights and devotions together. My nephew and niece enjoyed the dirt patch outside our door after two years living in the city in a 3rd story apartment. They drove toy cars out there, dug with a hammer that came from who knows where, and made up stories about the ants that marched to and fro. When it came time to take the 6-hour taxi ride back to the capital city to fly out, my sister took my 3 ½-year old nephew around to his favorite spots to say goodbye, including a farewell to our dirt patch. My heart broke and tears flowed, let me tell you (on my part at least).”

Science, Pandemic and Me by Joy Smalley—Has God ever revealed something to you suddenly? Have you ever felt a switch go off in your brain that resets your perspective? I have. New information, ideas and theories are some of my favorite things. I love to be struck with a new thought or to see a new correlation that will further inform how I interact with the world. However, I was not expecting to get one of those moments while learning about quantum physics. As a homeschool mom I have the opportunity to delve deeply into topics that I have no interest in, and science, as a general rule, is one of those topics. Primarily because I don’t understand it, but the history of science is something that I have enjoyed reading to my kids this year. Now, for the last two years, maybe three, our family life has been in upheaval. We’ve moved, we’ve left cross-cultural ministry, we’ve worked through mental health issues, processed through abusive leadership and our own failings. Then, just as we felt we were getting our feet under us, there happens to be a global pandemic.”

Pardon Your Servant, Lord by Alyson Rockhold—”When we were sent off to the field with the Great Commission ringing in our ears, I secretly assigned all of that disciple making business to my outgoing, theologian husband. I’m more of a behind-the-scenes kind of gal, I reasoned. Plus my medical training makes me better equipped for practical, hands-on kinds of ministries. I feel much more competent bandaging a festering wound than trying convince someone to become a Christian. My fear of making disciples has roots in the harmful history of colonization and the political overtones of evangelism in the U.S. In addition, I’m insecure about my lack of preaching abilities and have a deep aversion to confrontation. I remember an experienced cross cultural worker once told me that hungry people don’t need to hear the gospel, they just need to be fed. That resonated with me as I felt called by Jesus to meet the practical needs of His people overseas. I figured God would bring someone else along to preach the gospel. So imagine my surprise when my husband decided to use his COVID-supplied free time to write a Bible study series on evangelism! I tried to appear calm as he excitedly laid out his talking points. I was ashamed to tell him how terrifying this topic was to me. So, trying to be a good wife, I read his drafts and listened to his plans.”

From Around the Web

Check out these birth-abroad stories and share your own! 

Latest Taking Route podcast with our own Jenilee!

For the Long Haul

A Prayer When the Need is Overwhelming

MKs and Marriage

A lament for the griefs we don’t have time to grieve

Finally, Giving in to the Ache

And Now For Next Week

The theme is…

Photo by Caju Gomes on Unsplash

The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word cynical as “Negative or pessimistic, as from world-weariness.”

World-weariness. That feels fitting, doesn’t it? We don’t desire to become negative or pessimistic, but as we run this race, we see the depths of humanity. The despair of a broken world. The way human beings hurt each other. And we can grow weary of it all.

We don’t want to shy away from hard conversations here at Velvet Ashes, so let’s get real about cynicism! It can creep in and catch us unaware, so let this week be a soul check-in time. Where do you see yourself becoming cynical? What are you doing to combat the world-weariness?

Join us this week in the blog comments, and share on social media with the hashtag #VelvetAshesCynical.

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