You are loved. Cherished, even.
Not because you were brave enough to move overseas “alone.”
Not because you ignored the caring relatives who asked, “How in the world will you find a husband over there?”
You are loved. Adored, even.
Not because you’re an independent thinker, a strong person.
Not because you’ve sacrificed.
You are loved. Anticipated, even.
Because of Him.
You are loved by the eternal God, your Harbor.
You are loved by a Dad who wraps you up in his everlasting arms.
You are loved by the One who knows the true depths of loneliness and the rich intimacy of friendships.
Indeed, you are loved.
You are valuable.
And you are needed. Our churches, our teams, and our families need you.
You probably know that already. You probably feel that already. But just in case you don’t, as a brother, father, husband, team leader, pastor, and friend, let me remind you how much we value you and need you.
We don’t need you to be a wonderful Christian woman. We need you to be a wonderful Christian human, unique because of your personhood, not just because of your womanhood. We need you to love people uniquely, heartily, and with passion.
You see the woman caught in adultery differently. We need your eyes. You are more aware of the emotional needs behind the physical needs. We need your awareness. We need your heart.
We need you to lead. Your perspective is valuable, your needs valid, your abilities real. You see problems and solutions differently. We need your intellect.
We need you to support us. Not like a cook supports the troops, but like a soldier supports a comrade. We serve side by side in this thing.
My kids need you. And not as a babysitter.
My sons need you to show them what a strong woman looks like. Teach them that a woman’s value does not come from the fact that she’s got a body, or a husband, or kids.
My daughters need you. They need to see a woman who’s willing to follow God’s call regardless of who joins her. They need to see a woman who pursues God on her own, enjoying her own relationship with him.
You are not half a unit. Some stray ingredient that I guess we’ll mix in with the “real” ingredients of teams and churches and potlucks.
You are not leftovers.
Without single women serving abroad, there would be a gaping hole in the Church and in the history of modern missions. And in my own life.
Growing up, the names (and books) of Amy Carmichael, Gladys Aylward, Corrie ten Boom, and Elisabeth Elliot taught and inspired and coached me. I read their books, listened to their stories, and learned from their faith.
Single women still teach, inspire and coach me. I am grateful for ladies like Amy, Sara, Yvonne, Tanya, Christina, Rhoda, Ann, Jenny, Sue, Sarah, Mary, Sovannara, Emma, and so many more. I listen to them speak, I read what they write, I watch them love people, I observe their journey through Facebook status updates, and I am grateful.
I need them. The Church needs them.
And Jesus loves them. And he loves you too. Not because you’re awesome or beautiful or perfect. Not because you’re really good with Instagram filters. But because you are part of his Bride, his people. Immensely valuable.
Every day, Elisabeth Elliot began her radio program with this reminder, “You are loved with an everlasting love – that’s what the Bible says – and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
May you remember his everlasting love,
May you rest in his everlasting arms,
Today, tomorrow, and everyday.
With deep appreciation and gratitude, your friend,
*This article originally appeared on Velvet Ashes.
Used with permission
We’ve compiled over 50 of our short essays into a new book. The book covers topics like transition, TCKs, grief and loss, conflict, marriage on the field, and more. The Kindle version is $1.99 and is available here.
Here’s what Elizabeth has to say about the print edition:
What I like about the paper copy is that it’s in 8 1/2 X 11 inch format, so it has lots of white space and (ahem) margin to make your own notes, to sort of journal through it, as it were. A lot of our posts really are like journal entries of what God is taking us through, so having a hard copy allows you to journal through those issues on your own, too. Hopefully that’s a blessing to someone!
We are ordering a bunch to have with us here in Phnom Penh, so if you’re local and you’d like a hard copy, check back with us in a couple of weeks. Thanks so much for all your support along the way.
all for ONE,
Marriage can really be a drain on missions. Marriage on the field can be a constant source of distraction, discouragement, and pain.
But I hope it’s not.
I’ve written before about marriage and its purpose, but today I’d like to take a step back and speak directly to husbands: my brothers.
This advice is carefully given, and with no slight hesitation. After all, if you want people to argue with you (and I don’t particularly enjoy it), then write about marriage. Even so, I will write. Because it matters. And because I hope the men who marry my sisters will do these things. I hope the men who pursue my daughters (in the very far distant future) will do these things. I hope my sons will do these things. Because marriage is important. It’s also really complicated.
Marriage is a complex thing (2 into 1) entered into by complex people (humans) who have to do complex stuff (live).
And you all know this already, but missions is a hard gig for marriages. You’ve got sky-high stress levels, extreme temperatures, lots of broken things, financial tightness, the fishbowl of fundraising, and a rewarding but very hard job. Sounds like fun, right? Well, if you add all of that to an unhappy marriage, I can tell you the one thing you certainly won’t be having is fun.
So, onward! What are three things you can do to care for the heart of your wife?
Continue reading over at A Life Overseas…
Purchase the Kindle version of A-41 here.
Purchase the print edition here.
Here’s what Elizabeth has to say about the print edition:
“What I like about the paper copy is that it’s in 8 1/2 X 11 inch format, so it has lots of white space and (ahem) margin to make your own notes, to sort of journal through it, as it were. A lot of our posts really are like journal entries of what God is taking us through, so having a hard copy allows you to journal through those issues on your own, too. Hopefully that’s a blessing to someone!”
If you want to save a couple bucks and you don’t mind clicking a ton of links, most of the content can be read by clicking the various links below. Merry Christmas!
Thanks for stopping by!
all for ONE,
Parenthood & Third Culture Kids
– On Your High School Graduation: A Letter to My Third Culture Kid
– What I Want to Give My TCKs
– A Prayer for My Third Culture Kids
– 3 Ways to Care for the Heart of Your Third Culture Kid
– 3 Ways to Care for the Heart of Your Missionary Kid
– The Little Word That Frees Us
– Particle Physics Finally Explains Third Culture Kids!
– The Purpose of Marriage is NOT to Make You Holy
– Our Journey to Finding Joy in Marriage (and the things we lost along the way)
– Open letter to trailing spouses (and the people they’re married to)
– Trailing Spouse: He Heard, “Go!” and I Said, “No!”
– 3 Ways to Care for the Heart of Your Wife
– A Letter to Singles
On Grief, Loss, and Being Really Sad
– Outlawed Grief, a Curse Disguised
– Grief on a Spindle (a poem)
– Don’t be afraid of me, please (and other lessons from the valley)
– A Lonely Birthday
– For the times when you hold back the tears
– When Grief Bleeds
– When Friends Do the Next Right Thing
– A Sorrow Sandwich
– Heaven and Human Trafficking
Deeper Musings on Missions and “The Call”
– Why Are We Here?
– The Idolatry of Missions
– Before You Cry “Demon!”
– Demon and Divine
– What If I Fall Apart on the Mission Field?
– How Do You Write Your Name in the Land?
Lists (because they’re fun)
– 10 Reasons You Should Be a Missionary
– 10 Things Flying Taught Me About Missions
– 6 Reasons Furloughs are Awesome (sort of)
– 10 Ways to Survive Your First Year Overseas
On making decisions with your head and your heart and Him
– Navigating the Night (3 things to do when you have no idea what to do)
– When the Straight & Narrow Isn’t
– To the ones who think they’ve failed
– Distractions and the Voice of Jesus
Things you should probably be aware of if you’re even slightly interested in missions, serving somewhere in the Church, or just living in general
– Four Tools of Spiritual Manipulators
– How to Communicate so People Will Care
– Facebook lies and other truths
– margin: the wasted space we desperately need
– Please Stop Running
– I’m Not Supposed to Have Needs
– How to Transition to the Foreign Field and not Croak: Six Essential Steps
– Women are Scary (and other lessons modesty culture teaches men)
– What To Do About Women’s Roles
– Jesus Loves Me This I Sometimes Know
– The Journey To Feel Starts Small