How Our Childhoods Formed Us For The Field {Book Club}

When Kay and I started emailing in October about her book As Soon As I Fell she graciously sent me a discussion guide she had written to accompany the book. Though I’ll make it clear when it’s me writing and when it’s Kay, I wanted you to know from the get-go the basic outline we are going to follow and the vast majority of the questions are from Kay. Thank you Kay!

In the early sections of As Soon As I Fell, Kay shares from her childhood the ways in which she was formed that would (no big surprise here) follow her on to the field — both the good and the bad. I want to ensure we create space for the good as well as the bad. While it’s true our “problems” don’t stay at the borders and come along with us, it’s also true for our strengths and giftings.

From the Discussion Guide
When researchers design a study so that they confirm their hypothesis, and find exactly what they were looking for, we call that “confirmation bias.”

  • What was Kay’s hypothesis about herself in childhood?
  • How was that hypothesis formed?
  • How did she practice “confirmation bias” with God and other people?
  • Consider these statements: “Nobody likes me.” “I’m too weird.” “I’m too much.” “I’ll always be abandoned.”
  • Are these statements, or others like them, a hypothesis for you, about yourself?
  • How does “confirmation bias” work in your life today?
  • “God delights in you” (Zephaniah 3:17) disrupted the confirmation bias for Kay. How has scripture worked to change your heart and mind in significant ways?

******

There were bits of me (Amy) that made no sense when I was a child. I did not like to open birthday presents in front of people, I did not mind eating meat but I could NOT stand to cut it, and the smell of cheese? Enough said. Gross. When I arrived on the field, guess what? People told you what was in a gift when they handed it to you, most meat was cut in small pieces, and I never, ever had to special order food again (though I did have to listen to a lot of moaning from expats about cheese.). Bottom line, I wasn’t weird, I had been prepared in ways that amazed me.

Though they may all look small and silly, they were used as a form of confirmation bias in a good way. I was made for the place, so when the hard times came, I could point back to those birthdays of a girl, the revolting feeling of a knife slicing through cooked meat, and my visceral reaction to cottage cheese (my strongest reaction to a cheese) and say, “this place was ordained for me in ways I could not foresee as a child, so this hard time is not a big shocker to God.”

Oh and the bowling league I was on in elementary school? I see how God used that on the field as well. So as to get us discussing, I’ll wait and share in the comments!

Kay’s given us a lot to run with. Where would you like to dive in? Grab a cup or glass and jump on in to the chat of how your childhood formed you positively and negatively for the field.

See you in the comments :),

Amy

The plan for this month’s discussion:

  • Kay will be joining us and in particular the last week of January where we can “Ask an Author.”
  • January 13: How our childhood formed us
  • January 20: Ministry related issues
  • January 27: Marriage and family on the field

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Photo Credit : Unsplash

36 Comments

  1. Danielle Wheeler January 12, 2015

    Too bad I don’t have that same aversion to cheese, Amy. 🙂  I do look back and laugh though, because I think God used all my horseback riding experience as teenager to prepare me for driving a bike in Beijing traffic (our main form of transportation).  The parallels are more than you would think!

    Kay’s story struck a chord when she referred to how being a translator was the creme de la creme of the M world.  It made me once again think about my youth, about youth group and youth conferences and all these things that had a transformational impact on my life.  And yet also in all of this,  the Evangelical Hero Complex weaved it’s way into my heart and mind.  That God wants us to do BIG, RADICAL things for him, or it’s really not good enough.

    There’s the subtle lie that I swallowed, hook line and sinker, that says there’s a hierarchy to the kingdom, that those in ministry are at the top, those sacrificing and going overseas are at the very top, and with the M world, yes, those living in the bush, doing the work of translation, they are in fact the creme de la creme.

    So Kay’s story was another way that God is working to dismantle this thinking, to reveal the damage that is caused in our souls when we think this way.

    Maybe I’m jumping ahead to next week’s topic.  But the power of “God delights in you” always, regardless of your sacrifices and ministry accomplishments, that is a message I think needs preaching from the rooftops in our overseas communities.  Because so many of us grew up hearing at youth conferences that if we really love Jesus, we’ll do these BIG things for him.  And that leaves how many of us feeling never enough?

     

     

    1. Elizabeth January 13, 2015

      Wow, Danielle, really feeling that whole unworthiness complex lately. It’s funny though, i wonder if EVERYONE feels it. We’re in Chiang Mai right now for a much needed break (and i’ve already had several little breakdowns), and several people I’ve met have dropped little hints that they’re not “the real deal” for this reason or that reason. Maybe we all feel we don’t measure up in comparison to each other?? If that’s the case, then, who are we comparing ourselves to? Absolute Perfection??

       

      My husband is constantly amazed that when I meet new people, I come away from those conversations feeling yet again insignificant and unworthy. And he says, “Really? That’s what you got out of that conversation?” And I say, yes, you bet that’s what I got out of that conversation — more proof that I don’t measure up. Sometimes I think he just wants to throw his hands up at me, because I can’t seem to shake those feelings of inferiority, in every aspect of my life.

       

      But on a lighter note, yes, I do feel like I was made for this expatriate life, inferiority complex notwithstanding!

       

      And Amy, your aversion to cheese CRACKED me up! I adore cheese and am so thankful I can get it in my city. Not too long ago, that wasn’t quite the case.

      1. Amy Young January 13, 2015

        Oh Elizabeth I do think EVERYONE in some fashion feels it. Lately I’ve been losing supporters because I’m not a “real M” — and I understand and support those who want their money to go directly to a foreign land. It’s hard to live with the tension and find balance, isn’t it? I get frustrated with churches who only do foreign things (in part because it’s easier to be a world away from the messiness and in part because of the hierarchy) and in the process completely ignore their own backyard. BUT then the fellowships who only do things for their own backyard and completely ignore the greater body :)! You can imagine I spend more of my time annoyed with people who don’t do things they way I think they “should” than is how God would have me spend it!

        Elizabeth, you’re worthy and I, for one, can say you have greatly (yes, greatly) enhanced my life. And if we were near each other, I’d peel the cheese off of my sandwich and offer it to you 🙂

    2. Amy Young January 13, 2015

      Danielle I like picturing younger you on a horse and then slightly older you taking those skills and using them on the streets of Beijing!

      And you’re so right about the oft touted messages at/for youth (and older folks too!). As I watch my nieces — from my all knowing vantage point (ha!) #1 is not wired for overseas living and #2 has already declared she’s going to be a nurse in Africa. We all all working consciously to let them know both paths are valid! It’s not that the overseas path is more valid.

      But the “BIG” things … man, that’s one we need to confront again and again!

  2. Kim January 12, 2015

    All of my growing up I had an intense desire to be anywhere but the place I grew up. I longed for travel, particularly to England. In later years I had hoped I would live in England and even thought God was preparing us for Europe. When India came on the scene I balked. That seemed about as un-English as anything could be. Little did I realize how very connected India and England still are since they only gained their independence in the 40s. There are many things still retained in Indian culture that remind me of England.

    That’s just a small example– but I can definitely see some ways in which I am wired to live in the culture we have been placed in for this time even though all the adjustments I’ve had to make over the years here have not been easy or something I would have ever dreamed of!

    It’s fun now as we spend some time back in the US waiting for baby #5 to see our six year old daughter be drawn to the stories of Frances Hodgson Burnett because they feature young girls who lived in India and are forced to leave and return to their home culture. She has been crazy about them because, I imagine, something connects her to the characters deeply. God certainly has a way of preparing us in ways and drawing our hearts to things he has planned for us.

    1. Amy Young January 13, 2015

      Kim, I find myself wanting to say something “British” in a British accent (I know, you Brits another American to roll your eyes at :)!! Sorry.) But truthfully Kim, I just love hearing ways God has placed bread crumbs in our past. And did you know The Secret Garden was our June book! So cool — here’s one link if you have any interest: https://velvetashes.com/intro-to-the-secret-garden-book-club-and-interesting-facts/

      And happy gestating and birthing when it’s time :)!

  3. Becky January 13, 2015

    I really appreciate what you guys have shared about the hierarchy of the M world.  So many M’s, myself included, would really fall into the category of Christians working overseas.  I’m not an Evangelist or a Translator.  My life is rarely in any danger (outside of traffic!) I don’t live in a hut and I have some limited access to cheese (not enough though!). What I remind myself, and others that come over for short term trips and who basically end up doing all manner of chores for us, is that the great works that we hear about are generally accomplished by teams of people, each playing a small part in the machine that is the Kingdom.  Those ministries that feed 1,000 orphans every day…some one drives into town and buys rice, someone washes out the bowls, someone sings songs with the kids to keep them entertained while they wait to be fed…this is what I think about when I’m bored of spreadsheets and answering emails.

    I feel I should mention my childhood…I was a very quiet introverted child, enjoyed playing alone, a fussy eater,  and I work in a large team of young, energetic extroverts who exhaust me, working together in one tiny office, 12 of us round 2 desks some days.  I sometimes just have to skip lunch because I can’t quite face another lunch of cold fish heads that week. Yet, it totally feels like this is where I’m meant to be!  I think the grace of God is that He can also take us to a place that is so wrong for us on paper, but provide us with the coping mechanisms that we need to get the job done, and put a passion/patience in our hearts for things that would otherwise have left us cold at best.

    I’m not saying I live in a constant state of M bliss, I struggle with everything I have just mentioned…but the bigger picture makes it worth the sacrifice…most days! 😉

    1. Beth Everett January 13, 2015

      So cool to see and connect with you here Becky!! 🙂

    2. Amy Young January 13, 2015

      Becky, this comment tickles me! I bet you have some good one-line zingers that make your extroverted teammates crack up! One of the funniest people I know was an introverted teammate who’d mutter the most hilarious things under her breath :)!!

      I know what you mean about the holiness of spreadsheets or lack there of! Funny, how easy it is to rank. And yet, as you said, without these “less than holy” pieces, there would be no work done! I marvel again at the analogies of the body and how every part is necessary!!

  4. Brittany January 13, 2015

    Sometimes, I just have to think, “God what are you thinking?!”  I don’t see a whole lot in my childhood preparing me for this life.  I grew up with ROOTS.  I lived in the same house for the first 14 years of my life, and when we moved, it was just to a bigger house less than a half mile away!  I lived there until I got married!  Nothing much in my life ever changed.  Now, everything changes constantly, and I long so much to live some place longer than a year.  My parents did raise me in ministry and I was leading kids programs while in middle school and high school.  I also did quite a bit of travel (short trips…not *life* as the distinction was made in the book) in my teen years.  I have yet to see how God is going to use those things.  I’ve always been a social butterfly, involved in lots of different things, jumping in with both feet (as long as someone was jumping with me).  Life as a M so far (15 months) hasn’t seemed to use any of these qualities that I thought would have prepared me!  But I’m still so new at this.  We have no team and our current location is very temporary so I’m so lonely.  I miss my girlfriends so much!  And I have had a very hard time finding girlfriends here.  My days are so spent cooped up at home tackling the never dwindling pile of laundry and dishes.  Did I really come 6000mi to spend hours and hours each day staying on top of laundry and dishes?  Oh, with a little language study and lots of mothering thrown in there.

    So…all that to say…I don’t see much of how God prepared me in my childhood for what I’m doing now (maybe for future…we’ll see!).  BUT, I appreciate how hierarchy and worth have been brought into the discussion.  As you can see above, the accuser often tells me that my being here is pointless.  That God made me to be social and He wouldn’t want me to be lonely so I *need* to go back to where I was known and known well.  But my worth is not based on my job title.  Being a M is only a fancy title for “doing the same thing I was, just in a different location.”  Just like people with “regular” jobs back home, there are days I feel fulfilled and days I just want to quit.  There is the same propensity to live for myself/comfort here as there is in my passport country.  There is also the same drive to live in obedience at home as there is here.  Jesus is who defines me and HE is the one who determined my worth when He died for me.  Same as you.  We’re all on the same playing field whether it’s in N. America, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia…wherever!

    1. Amy Young January 13, 2015

      Brittany, your comment makes me smile 🙂 … if we were sitting around in a circle talking, I picture you waving your arms a bit to punctuate your points :). Maybe you’re not an arm waver at all! Ha! I have to fight again and again what I think brings worth to my life. I have to say, I did not envision being (now YIKES) latish 40’s and helping to regain control in my parents back yard/garden. It doesn’t seem exciting or BIG or leading. AND HELLO, like laundry, gardening is never ending. I weed (in the summer) and weed and pull this tree out and that one and there is always, always more to do and I wonder, does this matter? Is this kingdom significant? But you know what, God was very clear about honoring parents and for this stage, this is one of my most worthy callings. I think, God is using this season to remind me how very steeped in “worldly” thinking I am — how I buy the worlds idea of value more quickly than God’s. SO, my lonely sister, here’s to weeding and washing :). And I know that somehow God is going to use your ROOTS :)! Someday , somehow!

      1. Brittany January 13, 2015

        Haha, Amy, it’s true!  I’m a very emotive person…and it absolutely comes out in my speaking.  😉

        One of the things that I’ve gained from this book is I’m realizing how much I look to the next thing to be better.  Like, right now, I can’t wait to get moved into the village (hopefully October) where we expect to be settled for awhile, where I will have a DISHWASHER and I have friends there that I can see becoming intimate friends in the future.  The Lord keeps telling me over and over that I am here.  Now.  So embrace it.  Thanks for your encouragement.  The Lord uses you to reiterate His Word to me over and over.

        1. Amy Young January 15, 2015

          P.S. dishwashers ARE exciting :). I remember when I finally got hot running water (and glory be, in the kitchen too!) — I was so excited and felt guilty too 🙂

  5. Ellie January 13, 2015

    I haven’t read the book yet but I think I should by the sound of it!

    A wise man interviewing my husband for some training a while back said that there were “push factors” as well as “pull factors” in M work. Recognising the fact that for many of us there is an excitement about serving overseas and a joy of working with different people as a pull factor. However, the push factors he was talking about include some broken family circumstances.. that we don’t have the “pull” of those things keeping us home.

    I know that’s not the case for all of us but I am aware that has been part of the background for me and probably some others. So in some ways I’m reluctant to see that as God preparing me for the field because I wish I had that pull factor at home, and the pain of broken family is a constant when others wish they could go home for significant holidays but we don’t exactly have anywhere we’d rather be but don’t have close friends to celebrate with here because they are with their families. (Long-ish story but we don’t exactly have a team.) I guess I’m revealing a part of my heart that I now realise isn’t necessarily a “normal” part of every M’s heart and perhaps before I thought it was.. And it needs healing. (Wow this community brings out the truth in me!!)

    And this big part is making me struggle at the moment so it’s more in the ascendant than the part of me that loves speaking another language, likes exotic food, enjoys (mostly) a culture more direct than my own.. 😉

    1. Amy Young January 13, 2015

      Ellie what I love about your thoughts is they remind me there is no “normal” — we each come with a story and a different path. I think it’s easy to look at others stories and think they are “normal” and ours aren’t :). I can see why you’d long at holidays to be with those who are dear to you — whether family or team or whomever!

      I can see what you say about push and pull — and agree that saying “God prepared you for the field by giving you a crapy childhood” doesn’t sit right. How about this? God, in his infinite mercy, has brought threads of redemption in unexpected places?

    2. Brittany January 13, 2015

      You totally should read it.  I’ve not been able to put it down.  What an encouragement it’s been to my heart!

      I know what you mean about this community bringing out the truth in your heart.  These questions and topics are so thought provoking and then when you start writing comments, things just start flowing and the Lord reveals more and more.

      Thank you so much for sharing your heart!

  6. Laura January 13, 2015

    As a PK who became an M, the pressure to keep going and keep persevering “no matter what” can be intense. But growing up as a PK also made me much more aware of the difficulty of ministry and gave me insight into the in’s and out’s of the type of ministry I’m involved in. I can see how God used being a PK to prepare me for serving overseas. However, I was not the child anyone would have imagined moving overseas, let alone speaking in churches to raise funds. Nope, I was the quiet, studious one who liked to stay at home and read books. But looking back I can see how God used “insignificant” choices about which classes to take in high school to prepare me for traveling and speaking.

    1. Beth Everett January 13, 2015

      Laura, we should talk! I think we have a lot in common.

    2. Amy Young January 13, 2015

      Laura are you peeking into my brain :)! HAHA — I’ve been reading February’s book this week to get a sense of how to plan out the weeks for February’s book club and it invokes a bishop and his daughter(s). So, I’ve been thinking about PK’s today!

      1. Laura January 13, 2015

        Looking forward to February’s book now! 🙂

    3. T January 13, 2015

      me, too, to a lot of this stuff…always thankful that my dad modeled and explained how to make sure that rest was a part of life–he did the 3 segments of the day thing:  morning, afternoon, night.  if a meeting with a board was going to take all evening, he would’t work those hours in the morning or afternoon.  that single thing has really helped me not overdo!  and definite yes to knowing ahead of time what ministry looks like…and thankful for being a nerd, which has helped me be able to help my kids figure out their homework (not in english, nor our 2nd language’s dialect) sometimes when i didn’t have someone else around that i could ask.  one night, working on some sort of story problems, for 5th grade math, i came away with a tired, but well-pushed brain and thanked our Father for prepping me for this!

  7. Beth Everett January 13, 2015

    Growing up, I was a native minority.  I looked different from the majority of people around me, and that was normal for me. It was comfortable to be a minority. I guess this was good prep for living both in Ghana and later in China. [In fact, my greatest sense of ‘not fitting in’ came when I went to rural white Pennsylvania for college and felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb … classic case of ‘hidden immigrant’ feeling].
    One fun thing, when I went to Ghana, I remember the first morning waking up at the guest house where we were staying and seeing the national flower of my home country Barbados growing in the garden! In the middle of all the newness of just arriving, it gave a feeling of familiar.
    On the other hand, growing up in the tropics did not in any way help me prepare for the cold dark winters of China … and long underwear, oh my! I’ll never get comfortable or used to them … although I wouldn’t dare leave home without them in the dead of winter!

    1. Amy Young January 13, 2015

      Beth I absolutely LOVE hearing more of people’s stories. Isn’t it cool and comforting that comfort and assurance can come through small things like the flower? And it reminds me to be on the look out for the small and not just the “parting of the Red Sea” moments!

  8. VJ January 13, 2015

    Like Brittany I grew up with strong roots… born and raised in the same town …only lived in two houses between birth and college, same long time family friends, and strong extended family that still gets together (all 80ish of them…4 generations) multiple times a year.  I guess I could view those Roots as pulling me home, and I certainly feel that especially around the holidays, but it also feels likes a safe launching pad…. that no matter where this life takes us with all its twists and turns … there is a sense of security and stability in those roots knowing that whenever I do make it home ti visit there is an awful lot that never changes.  At least not in the things that really matter.

    I see ways God prepared me for this culture and the specific niche I have found within it. The conservative Southern culture i grew up in has unexpected similarities with our host culture such as the importance of hospitality, gender roles, putting forth your best, indirectness, etc.  I learned to cook from scratch at a young age which has served me well here where few processed foods or cooking helps are available, but even more than being able to care for my famiy… offering cooking classes has been an entry point for me into the lives of those around me. I also “just happen” to be the ideal shape and size for this culture… their clothes fit me and make me feel beautiful…. and never in my wildest dreams would I have expected that!

    I also resonate with what Becky is saying that God’s grace is sufficient when we find ourselves in situations or ministries that our upbringing, education, and experience did nothing to prepare us for! I definitely feel that with the extrovertedness of our host people, and the high expectations from relationships, and the constant stream of beggar boys knocking on my door. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

    1. Amy Young January 13, 2015

      VJ I love the ways you tease out and give life to the dance between preparation and faith. Preparation for the ways we can look back and see how God has been at work. And Faith for the ways that God keeps our eyes on Him :). Both are true in the same person. Love it! So fun to hear about your youth and the ways the culture you were raised in and your own interests and family have been, as you said, a launching pad!

  9. Lisette Lewis January 13, 2015

    I am not an MK, but love working with them. I wondered why I connected with them and finally realized that, as the only girl in a family all brothers, I had always felt like an outsider, too. Because of that, I think that their experiences resonated with me and I could relate. I love my brothers and we are close, but there were always things I liked and they didn’t or they liked and I didn’t.

    I have already finished the book–once I started, I couldn’t stop! It is so personal and honest and I see myself in some of the ways Kay thinks and deals with stress. That’s scary, but in a good way. I am definitely challenged to rethink many of my assumptions, as well.

    1. Amy Young January 13, 2015

      Lisette, I’m sure it warms others to read your blog and see how strongly you love MK/TCKs! And I agree, this book is so relatable! In her sharing, Kay has created a window where we see her and a mirror where we see ourselves 🙂

  10. Monica January 13, 2015

    I love all the comments above, and am so touched by each person’s personal story relating how their childhood formed them for ‘the field’- whether positively or negatively.  It’s only been in the last couple of months that I’ve really begun to realize some thing about myself in relation to my childhood and it’s connection to my ‘field work’.  At the age of eight I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis- and of course, everyone thought well, ‘that’s what old people have’!   I couldn’t walk, I had swollen knees, and went from being ‘normal’ to ‘disabled’.  After the diagnosis, I was on lots of meds, and had to try all forms of therapy so that I could walk without pain. I was not allowed to participate in certain childhood activities, or sports.  I couldn’t eat certain foods.  There were restrictions that kept me on the fringe.  The way my parents handled my arthritis (sadness with a tinge of embarrassment) led me to believe that if I could ‘perform well’ I would then be ‘acceptable’. Thankfully, I discovered I could do some things- like play piano, swim, and excel in academics. Somewhere in my little girl brain a switch turned on and it said, “If you excel in these other things no one will notice the arthritis…. no one will leave you out, no one will say you aren’t good enough.”  I tried to hide my arthritic pain, and became an over-achiever in whatever else I could…. this spilled over into my spiritual life.  Although genuinely drawn to overseas work as a teenager (I truly was passionate about it), it seemed like being an M would be the ultimate sacrifice.  It wasn’t a response out of guilt or obligation- but I think there was some achievement stuff going on too. Anyway, for so many years, much of my drive in ministry was “If excel in this… no one will notice this other weakness in me (anger, anxiety, etc).”  I pushed myself to the edges- to the some of the remotest places, hardest languages, most difficult assignments in an attempt to not just be used, but ‘approved’.  In the end, I just ended up a lonely, angry and broken woman. Although I’ve thought about these things over the years, it hasn’t been until this Sabbatical year (after 15 years of being labeled ‘hardcore’ M’s), that the Father has led me on a journey of healing and freedom from living a performance-based life.  I am thankful for my arthritis because it helps me identify with people in pain, and I know what it feels like to be ‘put on the sidelines’.  It’s why I became a nurse.  Now, when I feel an ache or have a swollen joint (my remission only lasted 15 years)- I try to praise Him for creating me the way He did and using my arthritis to remind me that He loves ME for who I am…. not what I do.  

    1. Amy Young January 14, 2015

      Monica! And now you’ve added to the richness of our conversation :). Thank you for sharing a part of your story and the ways you’ve been formed by it. I’m consistently surprised how interwoven positive and negative can be 🙂 — if I’m so consistently surprised it might beg the question if I’m a slow learner!!!

      Being left out is … words seem inadequate — hard, painful, alienating? I can see why your young heart vowed to find ways to make sure that wouldn’t happen to you and in doing so, tricked you into some not-so-helpful coping mechanism. Amen and Amen for being loved for just being YOU and not for anything you do! (Though we need to preach this message to each other again and again :))

      1. Lisette January 14, 2015

        Shortly after my first return to the US, after living through a particularly unstable time in Kenya, I picked up a copy of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. I won’t endorse the entire book because a lot of his writing is pretty weird and new agey–and I even won’t go into the weird psychosexual surrealist illustrations– but he wrote a chapter “On Joy and Sorrow” that spoke about the connections between the two. It was very moving and true– and really helped me process some of things that had happened.

      2. Monica January 14, 2015

        Thank you Amy.  This sabbatical year has been so healing and helpful to me- and Velvet Ashes has been part of that.  It’s awesome to know I’m not alone, and that we all need to keep preaching to each other His love and acceptance.  Feeling grateful!

    2. T January 14, 2015

      thanks for sharing this here, monica!  after reading the comments, i just think–we are all so complex, aren’t we!  no wonder we often don’t understand ourselves until later.  feeling ponderous now…

  11. Ruth January 14, 2015

    I think the funniest way my childhood prepared me for China was a game my sisters and I used to play called “almost but not quite.”  We would zoom around our bicycles, “almost but not quite” bumping into each other and swerving away at just the last minute.  So – just like biking in China!!

    When I was a child, a nearby Chinese restaurant closed and the owner gave my parents a giant vat of rice.  I hated rice and was pretty sure my life was over.  Even years later when I moved to China, I was a little nervous about the Chinese food, but I quickly discovered that I loved it – even rice!  I guess sometimes life surprises us.

    And I do think that everyone struggles with the comparison and not quite measuring up, especially in our line of work.  That’s one of the things I loved about reading this book.  It was so real and honest and didn’t perpetuate the “cross cultural worker as spiritual superhero” myth.  How powerful to realize that God uses us and is pleased with us despite and because of all our crazy weakness.

    1. Amy Young January 15, 2015

      Ruth!!! What a game 🙂 … I can almost picture God standing there smiling as you and your sisters and thinking, “if you only knew.” What fun :).

      And I agree that we need to read these kind of books and have these kind of discussions again and again because, well, just because :).

  12. Denise January 18, 2015

    I am a little late to this discussion. It was a busy week. We came into M work in our 40’s, so I had not only my childhood, but much of my adulthood to prepare me. I loved China from a young age, but never dreamed I would live here. I have always loved my bike and the freedom it gave me. Then when I went to college I majored in Home economics. (Do they even have that degree any more?) But knowing how to cook from scratch and even sew has helped me here too. We also choose to homeschool before it was popular. And having done that before we got here made homeschooling so much easier.
    It is amazing how God weaves so much of our experiences and desires into our now, our today.
    This was a fun discussion.

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