For the last few years, my updates have become less personal and more update-y. They have been full of happy people, empowered people, ministry successes and milestones. They have been true- honest and real updates. I haven’t made anything up. But, I also have left so much out.
You see, its difficult to see a ministry moving forward, to see your dreams and hopes coming alive before your eyes. It’s difficult because it’s humbling; it proves the existence of God you have sometimes come to doubt; it displays your small and shaky faith. It’s hard to explain these updates fully- because while there are so many amazing things happening, there is also so much behind the scenes.
There is failure, loss or change of relationships, weird interactions with other people working on the island, changing the way we do things and more. There is the faith aspect, the one that so readily rises to the top when talking with certain people that feels fake and forced. There are the questions…all the questions. There are thoughts and feelings and judgements that pop into the mind.
There is the toll that this takes on other parts of life. There is the part of me that can no longer make excuses for people willingly doing the wrong thing for their own personal gain- be it photos or a pat on the back or more money. There is the part of me that remembers how important people are and who literally cannot be anywhere on time now, and how honestly I don’t want to change that about myself now. There are the nights spent talking with my husband about the complexities of poverty instead of casually laughing and watching tv. There is this question of balance and if our lives will ever feel more put together than they are right now and yet there’s the temptation to convince everyone that we are holy, put together and need nothing from anyone. That is such an incredible lie that it makes me cringe.
Did I mention the questioning? The questions that are too hard to handle, so I stick them in my heart for another day. The things I was taught about faith through Christian culture that have so many holes in them I don’t know where to start. The questions about who God is in the face of extreme injustice and poverty basically never stop. As I dive more into my graduate studies, I have more questions and less understanding. This is not to say I don’t have faith, as quite often it feels as it is all I have. It’s just that my faith now allows me to have far more questions than answers, to squeemishly excuse myself when people start talking in absolutes and to find my comfort among the marginalized.
So, this is a new season for me. One of being transparent and honest and diving into what it means to be a believer in an age where Christian culture is so…weird. Where people who seem most loving are found outside of the church; where the impoverished are more ignored and exploited than before; where hope somehow exists still. I will be updating on this blog the weird/fun/awesome things happening in our life in cross-cultural ministry, but I will also be blogging over at stephwritesstuff.weebly.com. Mostly because I really don’t want to ignore my own stories and questions any longer.
I have no idea how often I will write on either one of these blogs, but I felt led to share this all with you.