Vulnerability.Community.God

Today’s post comes by way of a friend from long ago. In fact, we first met when I was like one of the missionary kids featured in this article, and she was living in the U.S. with probably little thought that she would end up spending most of her life overseas.

For those of you who haven’t heard the term – missionary kids are a subset of third culture kids and come with their own set of experiences based on the fact that it was faith and a calling that led their parents to work overseas. Because of this, faith and faith crises are often a big part of this journey. Not a bad part – but a big part.

And that’s why I love this post. My friend, who has chosen to write anonymously, takes us into some of that journey. I look forward to hearing your thoughts through comments at the end of the essay.

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There once was a Sunday school class & mostly missionary kids attended it. A group of parents had agreed to rotate as facilitators of the class, hosting maybe once a month. As weeks passed & schedules changed, the names on the parent roster dwindled, until there was only “one-man-standing.” Me. Never dreamed my crazy life could or would give space for something as regular as a weekly class with a bunch of equally busy high school kids but — with my erratic schedule & their willingness to put-up-with-it — it was a perfect match.

The years together remain one of life’s sweet spots, full of unsolicited chuckles & smiles.

Vulnerability, Community, & God
Some assume missionary kids must have a strong faith — because of their heritage, because of the way their parents live out their faith, because of the opportunities they’ve had to see God at work in the world. Although this is true for many, there are also many for whom the journey to define faith is difficult & full of questions. Questions that reveal their uncertainty about the very One their parents have banked their entire life’s work. Questions their peers may or may not accept. Questions many people ask at one time in life or another — but the missionary kid’s life is spent in an environment surrounded by those who are not-so-quick to reveal their own doubts. Guess this could be similar to kids in a church setting in any town, in any country.

Call it the plight of the missionary kid — or the plight of those who are raised in a home where faith in God is assumed true. Their exposure to the Christian faith at an early age is certainly a gift, one that could result in a deep faith; however, there are no guarantees. 

It did not take long to realize this fast-growing class needed a safe place to “work out their faith.” Even more than that, they needed a place where they could construct their own faith – discovering what they believe & why. For almost all, the beginnings of their relationship with God began with a simple child-like step of faith. Yet, for some, the size of their faith was not much larger years later. The only visible difference was the growing amount of Bible knowledge supporting it. This accumulation of knowledge can increase the size of one’s faith — or it can simply be an accumulation.Their willingness to be vulnerable, my willingness to be present & equally vulnerable, God’s ability to show Himself, mixed with tons of love for one another created a unique place – a place where faith had a chance to grow. To use the familiar Christian cliché, we built one another up in the faith. Many times I thought, “This is it!” As if learning it for the first time, this is how faith grows.Are all questions answered? No. Do they still have doubts? Yes. Did I have any clue what I was doing? Mostly not. But I’d like to think we walked away with a formula — not one we ever talked about — but one that we’ll remember & one that will serve us for years to come.

Vulnerability + Community + God = A little more faith than the day before

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip MuffinsReaders – forgive me for not posting this beautiful recipe for muffins yesterday! You’re going to want to stop and make these today, Tuesday, as soon as you see the recipe. So yummy. Here are Stacy’s words on these muffins: “Nothing too complicated this week:  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins.  They have a mostly-sweet-but-a-little-salty thing going on with the addition of extra roasted peanuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips, along with the peanut butter.” Just click on the link or the picture to go to the recipe. 

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6 thoughts on “Vulnerability.Community.God

  1. … And so we, as brothers & sisters in the body of Christ, need to remember to show grace to those PKs & MKs in our midst near & far, as well as to one another, as we grow in Christ, and encouraging one another along the way. Blessings & gratitude to both Marilyn and her dear guest.

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  2. Most of my MK youth group/Sunday school memories do not involve much vulnerability. I remember when I was a senior and we seniors took turns giving our testimonies, most of us at some point said something like, “I began to grow spiritually when…” When it was his turn, Mark said, “I haven’t really begun to grow yet.” I appreciated that.

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  3. If only every community of seeking young people could have someone like your friend and author to guide them, to learn with. Truly, I don’t think we can genuinely believe in our own right, without some questioning and study. That is how faith is tested and tempered so that it might grow strong. And many a child who has been raised in a home of faith but rebels while “working it out,” will come “home” again because of that foundation. Blessings to your friend for her service!

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