When you live in another culture and are first going through the stress of just trying to survive, the little things can become major things.  This week, our shower has gone out, our fridge is leaking water onto the tile floor, which makes it super slippery for little people, the stove got so hot it melted the plug into the wall outlet, “Laura” dropped a Coke bottle, which shattered into millions of pieces, I dropped and broke the 3rd out of 6 glasses, etc, etc.  All these little problems seem so huge under the mountain of culture stress.  So, what do we do?  We turn to comforts, like the internet, movies, and chocolate chip cookies.  And I’m not talking figuratively here, this is what I’ve actually done this week! 

What the Lord wants, though, is my heart.  The culture stress, the “little things,” the everyday life of being a mom to 3 little ones, it’s all for a purpose.  And oh, what an amazing purpose!  The Lord wants me-sinful, grouchy, impatient me-to love him and to do it well.  He’s pushing me to my limits to see what I will do when pressed.  Am I going to continue to wallow in the complaining, or am I going to turn, with great effort I might add, and be thankful?

A wise retired missionary once told us that the key to avoiding burnout is to be purposeful in our thanksgiving.  This is so, so hard for me.  Years ago, when Pa and I were fresh out of school and fresh overseas, we were in a pretty tough situation.  We struggled with being joyful and thankful, and we really turned to those “comforts” over and over again.  So we started implementing one of this seasoned missionary’s ideas by keeping a weekly list of things that we were thankful for.  These were massive turning points for us.  We would even try to think of things that were the hardest and find ways to be thankful for them.  (One example I remember vividly went something like this:  “I’m thankful that kids threw rocks at us today because it means that we are having some kind of impact on the community.” Ha!)  These lists were so hard to write some weeks, but they seriously got us through some of those rough times.  Since then, anytime we’ve had a hard time, we’ve sat down and made those lists.  And they truly help.

So, I think I will try to regularly (I’d like to say weekly, but I’m not sure I can do it!) post some of these lists here.  I just wanted to say all this beforehand so that you have context for the thanksgiving lists and so that you don’t think everything is always happy and smooth! 

I am truly happy to be here in K and thankful for the opportunity to love and serve here.  Thank you, Lord, for your mercy and leading.  Amen and amen.


  • oh girl. . . i love it. AND needed the reminder in my life here. love you friends!

  • I was blessed by this today. Thanks!

  • Hi “Ma”! Loved this post… Thank you for this!