6.18.2012

Who do you think you aren't?

I accidentally believed I was useful for a minute the other day.

Like that one part, in the post I wrote on Friday, where I was all, “Yeah, you guys, I’ve got somethin’ important to say to the U.S. church! And God is gonna use me in the suburbs! And blah, blah, blah, I have a purpose!”

I believed it when I said it. I wrote it with confidence. …But five minutes later I found myself across from a mirror and when I saw myself I remembered that I am so perfectly ordinary, those things couldn’t possibly be true. Looking at my own face, a familiar mantra crept into my head; a whisper I’ve heard a million times over, the mocking voice of Doubt, arriving to ask me a question…

 “Who do you think you are?”

It’s the same voice I hear when I write…
Who do you think you are? Do you think you’re a writer? Ha! Why would anyone care what you have to say?!

It’s the same voice I hear when I parent…
Who do you think you are? Do you think they don’t see what a hypocrite you are? Seriously. Why should they listen to you?!

It’s the same voice I hear when I rest my head on my husband’s chest…
Who do you think you are? Do you think you’re enough? Why should he even love you?!

It followed me through the weekend, that same small question, chipping away at my spirit - a pick-ax to my soul. It ate away at my resolve to happily pack and sort and clean in preparation for our next bold step. It tore at my faltering confidence with claws and teeth, and I finally went to bed last night, defeated, with that sure but quiet voice still resonating in my head…

Who do you think you are… that God could use you?!

I woke at 3 am, reminded by the impressive state of disarray in my bedroom that I’m moving in three weeks. Reminded by dust bunnies the size of your face that I am an epically bad housekeeper. Reminded by stacks of papers “to be filed” that I am insanely disorganized. Reminded by this self-created chaos that I’m not cut out for much of anything worth a damn. Reminded, indeed, that I’m kind of a loser.

In the dark, I asked God, “What am I doing? Who do I think I am?!”

And His answer came to me, as it always does, like a deep breath rising from within, to pour into the broken places and shore up the weak spots. With a gentle revival, and a better question, He answered me…

…Who do you think you aren’t?

Do you think you aren’t a daughter of the Most High King?

You’re called to lean into the talents I’ve given you, guide the children I’ve gifted you, love the husband who cleaves to you, and rise up when I call you to rise.

No more. No less. The God who uses the old, the weak, the whore, and the drunk, will use whom he sees fit to use. All you have to do is show up.

So ask yourself, Baby Girl…

Who do you think you aren’t?

Do you think you aren’t mine? 


....        .....       ....


It's a question for us all. Who do you think you aren't?

6.15.2012

Starting over again. Again.


The madness of packing, cleaning, selling, sorting, and stuffing our lives into a few fat duffle bags is well under way.


25 days. That’s it, folks.

In 25 days we start over again…again.

I find myself feeling overwhelmed, like there’s no freaking way this can all work out, and I need to be reminded that I’ve been here before. I’ve been 25 days from an international move. I’ve been 25 days from owning almost nothing. I’ve been 25 days from flying away from home in hopes of finding a new one.

Remember? I did all this five years ago.

But five years ago was different.

Five years ago, we took 6 months to sell it all, and we had a million friends to buy it all.

We literally opened our doors, cupboards, drawers, and closets to everyone we knew, plus everyone they knew, and then we held a cheerful silent auction ~accompanied by flowing booze and tasty bites~ where the people loved us madly, and wildly wrote checks in silly amounts for ridiculous things; $22.37 for a rubber spatula, $301.99 for a book on cultivating Bonsai, $1000 for a scummy fish bowl.

We were leveled by love, floored by the generosity of our friends, family, neighbors, and strangers. I cried myself to sleep that night, knowing that we were cared for and believed in by so many.

But five years ago was different.

The economy was different, our circumstances were different, and our environment was different. We were able to raise enough money in six months to start over in a foreign land, and now we’re headed home in less than one, with almost nothing…just a few clothes, a couple of dogs, and a super evil kitty. 

And I'm kinda scared. But we're moving forward, getting rid of stuff that can't come with us whenever and however we can.

Happily, we learned of some families in need and have been able to give some things away freely and easily. (If there’s one thing we learned at our silent auction, it’s that wine opens checkbooks…. No. It’s that generosity of spirit is a deeply admirable quality, one we want to fully embody. Sometimes giving things away just feels right.) Slowly but surely, we’re selling the rest of our stuff - furniture, appliances, books, games, clothes – it’s all going for pennies on the dollar. Even a penny helps when you’re starting over again, again.

In extra happy news, we unloaded our car (an epic piece of shit) for a quarter of what we paid for it, not including the gazillion dollars we dumped into it in repairs. A gazillion dollars, no lie. Even so, having it sold is a huge relief, and the little bit of change it brought to our moving fund is even better.

So that’s good…

And… um….hmmm….

*ahem*

…So….. Let's just sit here in awkward silence for a minute while I gather my balls….


Ok.

All of my vast and extensive missionary training tells me I should be asking you for help.

I hate asking for help. Truly. The part of being a missionary where you go around asking people to give you money is, like, the woooorst.

And this situation feels even uglier because I know that it’s way more exciting to help a missionary go out into the world (where there are monkeys and tarantulas and they can’t flush toilet paper) than it is to bring a missionary back to the lame, stupid, boring suburbs. I totally get that.

But. I really, truly, and honestly believe that God has been grooming my family to bring a message of Faith, Hope, and Love to North American. I really, truly, and honestly believe that we have been gifted to encourage and guide people in a deepening of Faith in the suburbs and beyond. I really, truly, and honestly believe that we are being directed back home to call bullshit on some of the bad missions practices of the U.S. Church. And I really, truly, and honestly believe that this is the most worthwhile “mission” God has ever laid upon my spirit.

And I guess I’m asking if you want to be part of that?

I’m asking, first, if you will pray for me, for El Chupacabra, and for our children as we make this insane transition? Cause we’re freaking out, y’know, a little, and we desperately need your prayer.

And I’m asking if you’ll consider helping us out along the way with a financial gift?

Ugh! Even as I feel super confident about why we’re going back and what we’re going to do, asking for help still sucks. Perhaps I need to remind myself of what I witnessed five years ago through the generosity of the people who surrounded us that night; That this is the loveliness of the Body of Christ; to care for one another in our need, to lift each other up, to give from our abundance, and to share in the journey.

I’ll admit, clicking a PayPal button is not nearly as much fun as clinking our wine glasses together and marveling over $175 for a droopy potted plant, but in this strange bloggy world of internet friendship, we must find communion in other ways. We may be vast in number and spread out across the whole world, but we're still the Body of Christ, so all that loveliness and goodness still applies. 
  
And to be sure, I want to share in your journey, too. Just tell me, tell us, how we can come alongside you…

.....

Things to pray for:

Pray that our house would be empty/available by July10th! 
Pray for a smoooooooth transition! (Cool weather for our traveling pets, seamless flights, miraculously light baggage, and a happy homecoming for our kids.) 
Pray for El Chupacabra's continued recovery from recent knee surgery!
Pray that no one loses their mind, murders anyone, or says anything terribly regrettable during the stress of the move. (This is a biggie!)

Ways to give:

There's a handy dandy PayPal button on the right hand side of my blog. ☞ 
See it? 
(If you get these posts by email, I think you have to click through to my actual blog to get to the PayPal button.)

OR...

Many, many stores offer E-gift cards, including Home Depot, Target, and Walmart , and tons of others. You just click the link, choose the card and the amount, and send it to "Steve and Jamie Wright" at theveryworstmissionary@gmail.com 

Every PENNY helps.  =) 

...Thanks for journeying with me. You are loved. 



6.05.2012

Flame on.


For a minute, I thought I was going to shut down The Very Worst Missionary.

After I made the big announcement that we’re leaving the mission field, I thought it might be a cool little wrap-up to our five years here - just write a goodbye post and leave all of this in Costa Rica, where it started. It could be a poignant end to the internet saga of me running around Central America trying to do something worth a crap. I even imagined I’d write a post about some of the stuff God has taught me. Y’know? Like all the lessons I learned from dealing with mind numbing amounts of rainfall and taxicabs and diarrhea.

But the more I’ve thought about it, the more it’s sunk in that this story didn’t really start here.

When I was a little girl, I thought God looked like a tumbleweed. I had heard the account of Moses talking to a burning bush in the desert, then slipping out of his shoes on hallowed ground and having a chat with the God of the Universe. I got it stuck between my pigtails that this same God rolled and bounced His way around the planet in the burnt out shell of a dead bush, a dried up bundle of sticks with a “Flame on!” surprise waiting for unsuspecting shepherds, virgins fetching well-water, and, probably, the occasional Pharaoh. So as a kid, whenever we made the long drive to LA to visit my grandparents, I looked for Him in the desert, gazing out the window of our wood paneled station wagon with my shoes dangling from my toes. Just in case.

I have been looking for God in one form or another for as long as I can remember, expecting that I would see Him. Expecting that He had something to tell me. Ready to slip out of my shoes.

It was in looking for Him that I ended up in Costa Rica in the first place, and, more than anything, that’s what The Very Worst Missionary is about. It’s a picture of what it looks like to seek. And to fail. And to question. And to learn. And, little by little, to recognize what God really looks like, who He really is.

It’s true; I’m leaving the mission field and I could easily leave this blog behind as tribute to my time here. But, I could no more renounce my existence as a missionary, than I could relinquish my role as a mother. My children will grow up and move out, but if they don’t live with me, do I stop being a Mom? In the same way, when I live in the suburbs, will I stop looking for my tumbleweed God, my hero, my Savior? Will I stop hoping in Him? Will I stop talking about Him? Will I stop learning to see Him more clearly?

The answer, of course, is no, and so the Very Worst Missionary lives on, writes on, seeks on…

…with her shoes off.

Because this, my friends, is hallowed ground.

Don’t you see it?

He is with us.
....      .....     ....

No, the story didn’t start here, and it sure as hell doesn’t end here. So stay tuned, and loosen your laces, because you never know when that tumbleweed could cross your path and whisper... 

"Flame on."