Women from every culture and every age have asked that question. Am I the ONLY one? I think because we are scattered around the world and may not see others like ourselves very often, we may be prone to ask this question more often than our sisters at home.
- Am I the only one who cannot seem to speak in this language so others can understand me?
- Am I the only one who cannot stop grieving for a family member whose funeral came and went without me?
- Am I the only one whose husband started well, but ended up in the arms of a local woman?
- Am I the only one to get angry when every time I have a moment alone I am interrupted?
- Am I the only one with a child I cannot seem to homeschool?
- Am I the only one who cannot breastfeed her baby?
- Am I the only one who thought she knew what she was doing when she left home, but has experienced devastating disappointments?
The list could go on and on. Many of the ways we feel like we are the only one, are things that are common to womanhood. But we don’t hear others talk about them. Other expat team members may have gone through that particular loneliness, but it never comes up in conversation. So you don’t know that they felt that way too. The local women don’t talk about these feelings of aloneness to you. They think you would never understand. So we go on, day after day with an aching aloneness that could be comforted if we would open up and risk being vulnerable. Continue reading 'Am I the ONLY One?'»
Do you feel called by God to do what you are doing, right now, in the place you are doing it? Most cross cultural workers have some understanding of their calling. But in this edition of Peter’s Wife, I’d like to encourage you and maybe help you understand a little bit more about your calling.
We are among those called to belong to Jesus and to be saints. (Rom. 1:6,7) Thankfully, God empowers us to live a life worthy of our calling: being humble, gentle, patient, bearing with one another, and making every effort to maintain unity. This is our calling as children of God. (Eph. 4:1-3)
So every believer has a call. But most of us living overseas believe we also have a more specific calling to service. And as we all know, serving cross culturally is no easy calling.
Continue reading 'Our Calling'»
We call ourselves frogs, my husband and I. It all started with the international symbol for TCKs (Third Culture Kids). That symbol is a blue circle that overlaps a yellow circle with green between. Kermit the Frog used to sing, “It’s not that easy being green. . . ” That led us to think of frogs. They are green and can live on land or in the water.
Personally, I don’t think it is only TCKs who feel they are a blend of cultures, not really one or another.
We tell people we are from our passport country. But just get us back there for a week and we see just how much we are like our host country. Some of the customs, thought patterns, and life-style of both places have gotten all mixed up in us.
Continue reading 'Frogs of the World, Unite!'»
Recently we had a chance to talk to some folks just preparing to go out as cross-culture workers. What a joy it was to have a part in preparing them for what they would face on the field. That made me think about what some of their greatest challenges would be. As we all know, there are few things more challenging than learning to live and serve effectively in a host culture. Just thinking back to our early years and first posting can give us the shakes! How did we ever manage? And how did our new friends tolerate us? Ultimately it was, and is Father’s faithfulness.
Some years ago I did a little informal survey of some PWs. Their answers fell into nine categories. I thought it might be a good time to take another look at these challenges. Keep in mind as you look at them, that many of these are stresses we, as workers, cannot change. We find ways to adapt and adjust our expectations. This isn’t bad, but it takes work on our part and grace from our Father- lots of it. Continue reading 'Our Greatest Challenges'»
Have you ever felt like a tea kettle building steam, about to blow its whistle? Pressure adds up gradually, then blows suddenly. The expectations of others and our own expectations from within begin the process. People who depend on us and promises we’ve made add stress. Then just when we think things are under control, the unexpected happens. Add to this any illness or sleepless nights and we become brittle.
Living cross culturally adds to normal tension. Trying to make ourselves understood and understanding others is stressful. Climate, traffic, and a different work load take their toll. Social norms that are vastly different from where we grew up means a lot of re-evaluation for every decision. And there are a million decisions! With a lack of support systems, it is a wonder any of us function normally.
Continue reading 'Stress and a Friend'»