In Which I Blog About the Things I’m Not Going to Blog About

by Elizabeth

A good friend asked me when I’m going to blog again. My answer to her was: I don’t know. I’ve jotted down things to blog about for months. Light-hearted stuff about third culture kids, Cambodian traffic, or the educational differences between America and Cambodia. But I didn’t feel strongly enough about those topics to make myself blog about them.

I could have blogged about watching parents of TCK’s say goodbye to their high school graduates, and how sad that makes me. But I just blogged about sad stuff, and I wasn’t prepared to do that to myself or my readers so soon after my last downer series.

I considered writing any number of parts about my testimony – a more detailed story of my eating disorder journey, how God taught me to battle worry and anxiety, what I’ve learned about ministry and relationships from my doula training, or how God has used Caring for the Heart counseling in my life. I wasn’t sure they were directly related to a missionary-in-Cambodia blog, though, and I do try to keep my blogging focused – well, most of the time, anyway.

I’ve been thinking about the orphanage situation in Cambodia for months, and I do feel strongly about it. But I didn’t think I could blog about it. I’m not an expert on orphanages, and I thought I might feel a bit sheepish discussing something about which I know so very little. I am, however, an expert on how I think and feel about orphanages, now that I’ve lived next to one for 18 months, and have seen the good, the bad, and ugly. But my neighbors are real people with whom I have real relationships, and I didn’t want to demean their lives by blogging about them, despite the intensity of my frustration toward institutionalized care. I was also afraid it would be too controversial, and I just don’t have the emotional stamina for controversy.

Meanwhile, this summer, my mom visited me for two wonderful weeks. My husband left the country for two lonely weeks, and when he returned, he brought me a massive load of homeschool books to organize. I’ve spent a lot of time planning and preparing for our next school year this summer, and I also re-started Khmer language lessons.

Now, I could have blogged about language, but believe me, that situation wasn’t pretty. I doubted my role as a missionary wife. I wondered if my life had any purpose if I couldn’t speak this language very well. (While it’s true that I can’t speak this language very well, it’s also true that I don’t have much time to devote to it either. See above paragraph for explanation.) Fortunately, my despondency was short-lived, and I came to terms with my place in the missions world after about two weeks of distress — quite long enough to inflict an unhappy wife on my wonderful husband.

So how do I answer the question of when I am going to blog again? Well, today, I’m answering it by blogging about the things I’m not going to blog about, plus one thing I am going to blog about. Earlier this summer, I wanted to write about my love-hate relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the fathers of our faith. I hesitated because I wasn’t sure if it was missionary-blog-worthy . . . but talking about the Bible can’t be that off-topic, can it?? When you’ve finished reading my thoughts, I hope you’ll reply with some of your own favorite Bible stories and characters. (Why would I ask for a reply? Because I love talking about Bible stories, and because I’m a homeschool mom, and I don’t get out much. See above paragraph.)

Ok? Here goes.

Abraham:                                                                                  

High points – That God promised to bless all peoples on earth through him, and even though that’s really about God and not about Abraham, it’s one of my favorite Bible passages, thanks mostly to the Kairos course we took with Team Expansion (Genesis 12:3). His faith in, and friendship with, God (James 2:23). His willingness to leave his homeland (Genesis 12:4).

Low points – Lying about his wife to save his own skin (Genesis 12:13). Lying about his wife to save his own skin, again (Genesis 20:2). Taking his wife’s advice to try to force God’s promise (Genesis 16:2). Letting his wife be cruel to Hagar (Genesis 16:6).

Isaac:

High points – Walking and meditating in the fields in the evening (Genesis 24:63). Finding special comfort in his wife after the death of his mother (Genesis 24:67).

Low Points – Loving one son more than the other (Genesis 25:28). Like his father before him, lying about his wife to save his own skin (Genesis 26:7).

Jacob:

High point – His willingness to do anything for the woman he loved (Genesis 29:18).

Low points – Cheating his brother out of his inheritance (Genesis 25:31, Genesis 27). In the beginning, only loving and serving God conditionally (Genesis 28:20-21). Showing favoritism in his family, like his father before him (Genesis 29:31, 37:3, 42:38). Following in his grandfather’s footsteps and listening to his wife’s family advice (Genesis 30).

Now it’s your turn. Please pretty please? Because Bible stories make me happy? Thanks 🙂

10 thoughts on “In Which I Blog About the Things I’m Not Going to Blog About

  1. I have always wanted to be Enoch…for he walked with God and was no more. Now that’s dreaming for me. I want to go that way; but I won’t. My heart is Peter. Peter tasted Hell when he denied his love for God; and he no longer found good within his own soul. Yet God works with the spirit of man. No matter when or how you fail He continues to see and know what remains in our heart. We would be done with Peter…knowing that he went to far. Yet, God saw ahead of time what was truly in the heart and spirit of his Peter. What happened to Peter shows us how important it is for us to learn, grow, and go forward. We must never let our mistakes keep us from God. Often these things we hate about ourselves lead us to become as God wants us to be. Humble pie can be a good desert.

    • First you made me laugh with your comment about Enoch. Then you shared such a beautiful thought. You’re right, the things we hate about ourselves drive us to God. Thanks Deb 🙂

  2. hey don’t be afraid to blog about stuff like orphanages, poverty, elections, whatever! we’re not experts, but we do have our own perspective on all these things, having lived here – and that makes us more of an expert than people back home, who want to understand this country we’re living in. i wrote a two-part blog on garment factories in cambodia and ethical fashion – i am definitely NOT an expert on those topics, but it was a way for me to work out my thoughts and beliefs, and it ended up challenging people back home too. it’s always worth the effort!

  3. Thanks for the encouragement, Whitney. It’s really hard for me to discern what is appropriate to write about, and what isn’t. I want to be respectful towards the people I live among, yet the things I see here, in my daily life, do affect me, and change the way I see the world. I know that my changing opinions about some of these things, like orphanages and short-term missions, are not too popular, and it’s hard for me to work up the courage to say something that might make people angry. You’ve given me some things to ponder though 🙂

  4. My favourite book/character is Hosea. I mean, can you IMAGINE getting that message from God? “Go marry someone who will cheat on you, and then love them faithfully like God.” Sure. No biggie. I admire the conviction and faithfulness of that guy. And then, most of all, I am so thankful for the message he then received and recorded (especially chapter 2). This is the story that encourages me over and over – that God wants genuine relationship, not blind obedience. That God is willing to put thornbushes between me and the unhealthy things I can’t help but run after. That when I seem to be lacking things it’s part of God’s method of getting my attention so that’s I’ll remember who really loves me. And that my turning back to him isn’t the END of the story – it’s just the beginning. AFTER that God speaks, God woos, God betrothes, God promises. And the continuing of our romance is dependent on HIS faithfulness, not mine. Good thing, too!

  5. I just finished a 7 week bible study on Gideon. It was awesome! So much packed into only 3 chapters in Judges. So encouraged when timid, doubting Gideon rises to the call if Mighty Warrior. He’s still cautious @ first doing things like tearing down the Baal idol & Aseroth pole at night so no one would see and needing to know that God was good on his word to give the Midianites over to him in battle w/the fleece experiments. Not once but TWICE he asked God to perform a “sign” w/fleece. Yet after all of this he marched into battle w/300 men carrying only torches, and jars!! They took the Midianites God prevailed and Gideon was a Mighty Warrior indeed!! However, the story doesn’t have a happy learned from their pagan past ending. 😦 after all of this Gideon returned to his pagan ways. Yikes!! Those idols were and ARE still today everywhere and our human nature is to bow down and worship them!! We have to continually stay in the word and walk w/our Father. Guard our hearts & minds against our fleshly bodies. ;). So much in so few chapters. Walk over to Judges 6,7,&8 for a read. It’s worth it, I promise!!! ;).

    • Thanks for sharing, Pam. I do like the Gideon story. I especially like that he didn’t have enough faith to just follow, and he asked for not 1, but 2 (!) confirmations. The fact that God didn’t get upset about his needing 2 confirmations is my favorite part, that God is so patient with us 🙂 I think you touched on the love-hate part here (not hating the people, but hating some of the things they did). And it seems you feel that way toward Gideon’s behavior, the same way I feel toward Abraham’s, Isaac’s, and Jacob’s behaviors on occasion!!

  6. Never thought about those Bible people in that love/hate way you described, Elizabeth, but I can say that I very much do not like nearly all of Judges, and at time would use the word hate that book. There are of course a few what seems to me redeeming people/stories.

    One of my favorite people/story is of course Joseph, but in reading your blog the one that popped into my head was Jacob and his 20+ year journey to finally reaching out to God. He begins his journey to his uncle’s, receives an incredible dream from God with the vision of the stairway to heaven and words of God’s blessing and prophesy. The next morning he knew God visited him and set up a monument/altar for God and then says: “IF God…… then I’ll give him a tenth.” And he pretty much lived that way for most of those 20+ years, perhaps because he was able to fend for himself much of the time and worked things out by his strength and cunning.

    And then after 20 years, two wives and their two maid servants, 12 children (Dinah’s part of this group, not Benjamin), multiple livestock and probably servants, he’s faced with his Brother Esau who as amassed much more than him and HE IS AFRAID. He knows that if Esau comes after him with what he’s got, then him and his family cannot possibly survive.

    And then he prays to God to save him from his brother Esau. I think this is the first mention in the bible of Jacob turning to God and praying. When he wrestles with “The Angel of God” later that evening and can’t overpower him (he’s used to doing that, you see), he begs for his blessing. The wrestling match ends with Jacob’s hip being wrenched out of socket by the Angel of the Lord (who by the way I believe is the preincarnate Jesus) and HIS WALK IS NEVER THE SAME AGAIN, ALWAYS HAD THAT KINK IN THE HIPto help him remember with each step of who’s who!

    20+ years of wrestling with God, not really wanting to do things God’s way, though God continued to watch over him and bless him, and finally he realizes how much God has done for him and how very much he needs him. He was a different man, now dependent upon God.

    This really blesses me in knowing how patient and loving God is towards me and others. I wonder how differently I would live and think each day if with each physical step it would remind me of who God is and who I am?

    • You’re right Mom, this is actually a wonderful part of the story. I think Jacob just bugs me so much of the time (he’s my least favorite patriarch, I like Abraham and Isaac much more) that when I look at his IF approach to serving God, it irritates me. I’m irritated by Jacob, but you’re right, it actually shows how amazing and merciful God is, just like with Gideon needing the extra fleece’s in order to obey. His mercy is infinitely greater than we deserve! And so much of the time I forget that. 🙂

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