2019 Year-End Update from Carrie
I don’t think I ever intended to assume the condescending “Parent Voice.” Maybe the constant repetition wears a person down?
“Put your shoes on. Put your shoes on.
Where are your shoes? Did you find them?
Put your SHOES on.
Can I get an ‘Okay, Mom?’ so that things can go well for you today?
Put down Darth Vader and the Scotch tape, so you can put your shoes on.
Did you hear me? You need your shoes to go to the park.
Can you put YOUR shoes on, please?
No, you cannot have gum today. You did not put your shoes on.
When Mama said ‘Put your shoes on,’ did you obey or disobey? Did that go well or not well?”
I suppose it’s to be expected. Parenting is all about trajectory — movement along a path toward a desired end. There is no shortage of tactics: Coaxing and coaching. Pushing and pulling. Incentives and ultimatums. Subtle appeals and complex manipulations.
But all tactics are not created equal, and lately, I’m hearing my “Parent Voice” spill over into my interaction with adults, with limited success in either sphere.
“Trajectory,” by definition, implies propulsion, and that’s the problem, isn’t it? Human beings (unlike missiles or baseballs) are quite hard to propel. Furthermore, humans also have a pesky tendency of being alive and prone to change along the way. That said, trying to set a human heart in motion or redirect its inertia — my own included — is the fast track to burnout.
In the realm of the people-y work of both parenting and missions, it’s far too easy to believe that nothing will happen, and no one will do anything unless I make it happen. Disobedience seems ingrained in the fabric of the world. Darkness can seem like the default. So I revisit Psalm 50 regularly:
“The Mighty One, God the LORD,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.”
It turns out, I do not serve a passive God who sits back and reads the paper while I clean his house and cook his dinner. I serve the Mighty One, God the LORD – a speaking, summoning God whose commands carry in them the very power to obey! (It only took me the first ten years of marriage to realize that mine, unfortunately, do not.) Every beast of the forest, the world and its fullness are his! He is an active, living, hands-on God. When he speaks, the sun in the sky is propelled on a trajectory of his choice. Whether he speaks, “Let there be light!” into a formless void, or “Be holy as I am holy!” into a human heart, his words always evoke a response.
What would ministry to my kids, neighbors, and friends look like if I really believed that the voice of the Lord (not mine) sets change in motion and creates the path before me? What would life with Jesus look like if I trusted him to deal with the Lazarus situations around me (John 11)? How long until I grasp that Psalm 29 has a clear protagonist, and I am not him?
As you may have gathered, the Lord has us on a trajectory as well. In many ways, the year has been full of unexpected blessings — like the sound arrival of a new family member! On the other hand, this year has also had its share of heartbreaking disappointment and frustration. And the Lord is in the thick of it all, moving mountains in our hearts. I’m sure you can relate.
We’re so thankful for all the big and small ways you come alongside us in the journey. As we close out the year, we find ourselves about $4,000 behind in our finances due to medical bills related to Mae’s birth and some minor surgery for Cai.
If the Lord would lead you to give a special gift toward our continued work with the Jesus Film, it would help us immensely going into the new year. In any case, we appreciate your partnership in the gospel and your prayers that the Lord would keep our eyes fixed on him as we follow his lead.
We’re so thankful for all the big and small ways you come alongside us in the journey. We appreciate your partnership in the gospel and your prayers that the Lord would keep our eyes fixed on him as we follow his lead.
Much love from all of us,
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