Our USA Furlough Trip


Ten thousand blogs could be written about our furlough trip, but since my brother-in-law enlightened me that “you’re dramatic”, it’s probably more like 100 blog posts. For now, I’ll give you one. The one I’ve got in me. The one I’ve got left. The words itching to be shared. 

I’d be dishonest if I said I always look forward to our trips “home” to America. Anyone who’s lived overseas will be nodding. My NGO/missionary/volunteer peeps might say a double “amen.” It’s incredibly complicated to explain, but also infinitely simple to share. 

Going home is hard. Home is no longer the only home. You leave your new home and friends and perhaps language, where you’re probably comfortable if it’s been 1-2 years since you moved there. And everyone assumes furlough is “vacation”, but it. Is. Not. Sometimes it’s more exhausting than the life you paused to come and visit “home”. 

And when you get to this place that you were born in, everything is different. It’s odd and you’re not hip on the lingo (see?! I don’t even know what I need to say there). You don’t know what your sister means when she talks about “the dab”. And people ask …. Interesting questions. 

Oh the questions. First, I know I’m going to repeating myself 100 times. It’s all good. I’m prepared for that, but it still gets hard to with-enthusiasm describe my house, or our work, the next project, and “what Africa is like” (as if I’m an expert! ūüė≥). Second, sometimes the questions are odd. Lol I won’t even go there. But trust me. Sometimes I’m like how does a person seriously answer the question about THAT. 

It’s really, really good to talk about our work. To hear about the lives of our inspiring friends and family who are making great changes in the world. It’s incredible and humbling to hear them say “you’re doing so well” and “we’re proud of you.” I mean, how amazing is it to hear that?! 

We’ve become skilled and gracious (I hope!) at accepting gifts from people we think can’t afford them. Or people we don’t know well. Or new faces and old ones. It’s pretty incredible to hear people say, “I believe in what you do. I’d like to donate this money towards your doula project.” I mean, how crazy does it get, folks?! How much do people spur me on to love and good deeds. 

Let’s go back to vacation. Furlough isnt exactly vacation. As in, it’s NOT  at all. Sure we see family. Yup, I might sleep in til 7, but there’s 1,000 people to see (check out Sean’s Facebook post of all the people we saw), 150 internet tasks to accomplish- like taxes and administrative goodies; emails and projects people come up with for us to do. For an extrovert like Sean, it’s a hay day. Amazing. Pretty good stuff. For an extroverted introvert whose really turned more introvert lately, it’s a lot of work

Furlough was a lot of intentional practice to declare my boundaries, ask others to respect them and demand I respect and hold them as well. There were more meltdowns in America than I’ve probably had in the last 12 months. It wasn’t all easy. It’s tough living out of a suitcase, being really ill in other people’s spaces (even though my family is awesome and gracious and super helpful, I still felt like I was killing people with my cough and probably contributed to my nephew’s hospitalization ūüė©), and having to schedule time to be “The Boehrig Three”. 

I don’t write this post for a pity party. In fact, if we hadn’t have gotten I’ll, I would have counted it a HUGE success. With the illnesses, it was just a success! ūüėČ this was the best trip home we’ve had, and I’ve had 4, so I think I’m getting better at it. … or changing my expectations. So don’t feel bad for me. Don’t hear me complaining. I’m really stating facts and aim to paint a picture. That, like everything we humans experience, there’s more going on than we assume is going on. In order to understand, let’s ask lots of questions. 

And thank you, especially to the people who get it. Who encouraged us to say “no”, to rest, to have family time, to sleep in. To the people who asked the real questions, who dug deep into our hearts and shared theirs. Who were forgiving and gracious when we couldn’t see them, and didn’t doubt our love for them because our time was limited. Thank you

Now that’s blog 1 of 100 posts, but I’m pretty sure I won’t get around to 98 o them, so make the most of this one. 

Sala kahle, America! (Stay well) 

Categories: Family Life, Swaziland Updates | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

2015 in review


Obviously becoming a mom drastically reduced my blog production, but hey, I’m okay with that. I love looking at these reviews because the wildest part to me is¬†how many countries my blog was read in. Any guesses? ūüė≥

 

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 55 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: just for fun | Leave a comment

Turning . . . and Refreshment


It’s our furlough. We’re on a long trip. Sometimes it feels like vacation. Other¬†times it’s just plain exhausting and weird. Yet, here we are. With a bit of desperation and hope we search for refreshment. We reflect with wisdom (we hope!) and tell our story and wait for others – and God – to speak words of challenge . . . affirmation . . . acceptance. . . encouragement . . .

But, ultimately. We search for refreshment. We long for the eyes of our hearts to be bright and eager.

“The Lord will guide you always, he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land, and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

Isaiah 58:11 had become a hallmark for our furlough. A prayer. A heart’s cry. A proclamation that if we sought His guidance, we would be satisfied. That if we trusted his hand, we would be strengthened and refreshed. Because, friends, everyone needs some refreshing. The Lord created Sabbath for man to rest. He instituted years of Jubilee and times for land to lie fallow because even ole Mother Creation needs rest. Needs time to pour in nourishment and put¬†nothing out.

So imagine my surprise and bit of turmoil when I ran across this scripture in my morning Lent reading (not too late to join me! 43 days more!).

Image-1

So, I really, really, really want the “seasons of refreshing” that “may come from the presence of the Lord”. I mean doesn’t that sound¬†goooood.¬†Soulful, rich, deep, and satisfying. Doesn’t that feel like the earth sighing when it finally rains? Or sleeping in Saturday morning, only to ease out of bed, wrap your hands around a warm drink and sit on the front porch in stillness? Just repeating the words soothes my mind . . .and spirit . . .and muscles . . .

Seasons . . . of . .. refreshing. . . .

Times. . .. .of. . … . refreshment … . and rest. .. .and restoration . .. and rejuvenation¬†

which comes . .. . from . . . the Presence of the Lord. 

It is from meeting Him. Seeing the Holy. Grazing the elbow of the Divine that I might glimpse refreshment. But there’s that one other bit . . .

But first, before that other bit, we must examine the reputation of “re”.

re-

prefix\
1.indicating return to a previous condition,restoration, withdrawal, etc: rebuild, renew,retrace, reunite
2. indicating repetition of an action: recopy, remarry

To be made fresh . . . again. To be juvenant and juvenile in energy and dreams . .. again. To return to a previous condition of grace and peace and vitality and wholeness. It is this expectation that it will happen over and over. It’s not a once-off return. It’s not a one-time energy boost. In the essence of these words, there is a root of the acknowledgment that¬†often and always we will need to get back to the root. We will need to connect to The Source. We will need to tap into the True Vine . ¬†. . because we forget, or work really hard. We spend ourselves for the poor and neglect the selves in front of us ¬†– inside of us. We get swept up in the beauty of doing, that we eek less and less time out for being.

Life is hard. Ministry is hard. Loving people is really, really hard. Loving ourselves is really, really hard. The hard shouldn’t make us avoidant, but make us ready. That we might prepare ourselves. Arm ourselves for the struggle of it. Be equipped and prepared. Knowing the wounds in ourselves, so that we might heal and help offer water to the others suffering.

But there’s that other bit . . .

“Therefore¬†repent¬†and¬†turn back, so that¬†your sins may be wiped out. . .”

There’s still something in me that cringes at that last bit of language. Too ¬†many years of hearing about a God who was scary and wanted to smite me, instead of a God who’s gracious and just. But let’s just go with it. Let’s roll with the language and accept it for Who it is.

The repentance. The returning to truths. The Recommitment to goodness. Again with the “re”. The knowledge that this will always need to happen. We will need to return again . . .

. . .. and again . . ..

. . . .and again . . .. forevermore.

Because I get swept in the busy of doing, and forget the critical nature of being. I get selfish and self-important, believing I can toil with my own strength. That I can love with my own heart. That I can serve with my own hands. That I have enough. That I, alone, am enough to save the world. And that begets suffering. It creates sin. It is sin. And not in this nasty, hellfire and brimstone way. But it a way that separates us from God. Because of His perfection we cannot sit with in (for long) in our filth. His very presence calls us to be clean. To BE WHOLE, friends. To be good, again. Because we are. We are enough. We are whole. We are good. But it is only in Him that we find that completion. That Oneness.

But I forget. And need reminded. And need repentance – to confess my I-Can-Do-It-All spirit. My self-important ways. Because it is only through this confession that I turn from my twisted ways back to A Source of Joy, and Peace, and Light that can only come from Christ. It my returning to him, I’m reminded of¬†who I¬†truly am. How this faith I have can move a mountain. How this Well of¬†Life I know will never run dry. How this Manna I eat will¬†always fill my belly. How I will be satisfied in a sun-scorched land and be like a well-watered garden.¬†

And so, this time of Lent is of stripping it down. Of laying it all bare. Before myself. Before My King. Before His Throne. Lent is a declaration of my inability and nondesire to BE ALL AND DO ALL ON MY OWN.

 

Categories: Public Confession, Swaziland Updates | 1 Comment

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