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?'»
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!'»
“You will find rest for your soul!” A bit of scripture. A declaration. A promise. This kept popping out from hiding in the corners of my mind.
My latest reading is Thomas Wingfold, Curate, by George MacDonald. One of the very first sermons this curate preached after beginning his real search for God was on the text in Matt. 11: 28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (ESV)
We need rest for our souls when we are tired from carrying heavy loads. Cross-cultural workers have a lot of those. We can get exhausted from work, fretting, or disappointments. A heart-deadening load settles on us when someone we love rejects the God we love so much. We compare abundance and abject poverty and wonder how to make sense of it all. Even our spiritual service deadens us when it becomes heartless spiritual activity.
Continue reading 'Quiet Soul'»
It was a frigid February morning as I arose and watched my breath hanging in the air before my eyes. I knew today’s priority had to be finding kerosene to heat my apartment. Oil delivery to Armenia had been limited this winter making kerosene purchases an exhausting hide-n-seek game. As I ate my chilly goat cheese and flatbread a host of thoughts joined me at the breakfast table; I really don’t like eating alone. Does anyone know my struggle? What if I freeze to death? Must I always be brave? Why do I have to do this alone? Who can help me? Where are my students when I need them? Why don’t I have a husband? Why won’t Thomas ask me out? Suddenly I was astounded at how a simple lack of kerosene led to utter loneliness and sadness.
Serving single on the foreign field has numerous benefits of ease, simplicity, flexibility, time and exciting adventurous possibilities. Singles tend to learn new languages, develop national friends and adapt to culture, more quickly and smoothly. Housing and travel options tend to be greater and expenses fewer.
But as in most things in life many pluses often include minuses. The solo servant needs to be aware of and prepared for periods of emotional and spiritual loneliness. I believe for many of us single workers, loneliness is not a constant state of being but more a feeling which comes in seasons and waves.
Continue reading 'Must Singles be Lonely?'»
Allyson shared the results of her survey of single women(SW) serving or preparing to serve overseas. Many who read Peter’s Wife could benefit from these insights. The largest group are the wives and mothers who are serving overseas with SW on their team. They can probably do the most to help SW with their particular struggles. Agency directors may not be aware of some of the special stresses single women on the field face and what they could do to help. And finally there are some from home churches who could do much to help SW serving overseas.
Many of the problems that the SW mentioned are common to anyone serving outside their culture. The lack of communication with people at home, the glazed over looks when we share our stories, the expectation that those serving overseas need much less money to live on and really should live on a lower standard than others, and the fear of loss of support when we are “out of sight.”
Continue reading 'Challenges of Single Women'»