Have You Seen? {September 25, 2016}

Welcome to Have You Seen? We’ll review last week and share other posts from around the web. Enjoy rest and renewal while you cozy up for some soul-food reading.

Last Week’s Theme: Gift

Redeeming Facebook through Connection Groups by M’Lynn Taylor—”What I’ve found is no matter where we’re living, we’re all fighting the good fight to follow hard after our Jesus. As each of us bring our individual trials to the group, the hardships seem to lose their power to overwhelm us as we all chime in and say ‘Yikes. That’s hard!’ or ‘Me, too!!’ Of course we always have a safe space to run to Jesus in prayer, but there are times when we need to have a place void of pretense and judgment where we can lay our burdens bare in the presence of other believers so they can pray and inspire us. Enter Velvet Ashes Connection Groups.

The Endless Overflowing of the Bible {Book Club} by Amy Young—Before we dive into chapter one, let’s talk about birds where you live. I remember when I first moved to China I went months without hearing a bird. There were no birds. How could this be? Well, a little study of history helped with that one (and now birds have returned almost everywhere!). Here I will out myself with my lack of knowledge. I’m trying to think what birds I’ve seen in China and am coming up with very descriptive words like ‘small ones.’ Oh my word. Amy, come on!”

The Commitment to Make When You’re Maxed Out on Commitments by Nancy Mauer—”2015 was a tough year for me. After a glorious Home Ministry Assignment the previous year celebrating our son’s graduation from college and recent engagement, I had a hard time returning to THE FIELD. During our time in the US, we felt the love and support of so many people, that I struggled with going back to the desert. The land where I give of myself and don’t often have people pouring back into me.”

The Blessing in the Burning by Joy Smalley—”I lost everything in that fire. All my toys. All my clothes. All my childhood memories, burned. A few months later we had our first family vacation in Asia and we took the trans-Siberian railroad from Mongolia, through Russia and Poland to Hamburg, Germany. During that trip us kids were allowed to choose one toy to take back with us and I chose a doll. I was too old for a doll, I didn’t play with dolls, but I wanted a doll that I could one day give to a daughter if I ever had one.”
The Gifts are Yours for the Taking! {The Grove: Gift} by Lauren Pinkson—”That’s why – at least for me – it is incredibly awkward when someone wants to give me something. I get some kind of sick high off of being the person that’s always giving. So when it’s time to receive, I stammer and resist and try my dang best to get out of someone buying my coffee.”

Instagram Highlight for #VelvetAshesGift


There were beautiful, fun, challenging, and humbling thoughts shared about gifts this week on Instagram. Check them all out with #velvetashesgift. Here’s a highlight from @kentextmom:

Giving is one of the hard things about being an American in Africa. I am from an Every Man for Himself (to a certain extent) culture, living in one which designates people as Givers or Receivers, based on their perceived financial means (actually I think most people are Receivers in some relationships and Givers in others, but Westerners are always only Givers). In this culture, it’s something of a compliment to be asked for money or a job. But for my culture, it can be exhausting to constantly field these requests.

Some days, I feel as if the entire county wants me to hire them and pay all of their bills, too. Having a husband from this culture helps because he knows how to respond appropriately, when to give, and how to say no, but I still feel drained from always being expected to give. On the other hand, people do give gifts, even to Givers. It was hard to receive at first because of my perception of their financial means (ironically, the same reason I am asked for money and jobs). But we are always taught that we have to accept what’s given to us – how degrading would it be to offer a gift and the person tell you that you can’t afford to give them that?

After only a few years of the draining status of being a Giver, I relish in receiving now. Some friends visited us and brought these 2 kgs of rice. Sometimes people bring us eggs or invite us to their place and kill a chicken for us. It may be more blessed to give than to receive, but receiving is also a blessing! #velvetashesgift #velvetashesafrica

From Around the Web

10 Lessons I’ve Learned From Raising TCKs.

Savvy Expat Traveler or Overconfident Traveling Idiot?

Little-h heroes.

When Home is a Foreign Country.

Writing in a Small Town.

Letting your heart rest.

How to Pass on Hispanic Heritage as an Expat.

Finally, Introversion as Gift, Not Liability?

And Now for Next Week

The theme is . . .


Can I invite you all to join me (Danielle) in a wrestling match this week?  Actually, chances are, you’re already involved in this wrestling match, so how about we all just do it together?

The wrestling opponents are “Sacrifice” and “Self Care.”  You know the tension, right?  What does it mean to die to self, to take up our cross, to follow Jesus AND find rest and sanity and sustainability for our souls?

What does Scripture really teach us about sacrifice?

Is there a time to throw in the towel and say, “This is too much sacrifice!”?

What sacrifices are weighing heaviest for you right now?  What sacrifices have become lighter?

We want to hear all your thoughts as we wrestle together with this tension. Share on Instagram this week with #VelvetAshesSacrifice and bring your blog posts to The Grove beginning Thursday 6pm EST.

This is a big topic that drastically affects how we live and the state of our hearts.  So we pray, “Jesus, give us your eyes this week.  We need your clarity and truth. Guide us as we seek your heart in this. Amen.”


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