A Life Overseas – A Note from an Impostor


Readers – will you join me this Monday at A Life Overseas? Here is an excerpt from my brutally honest past history with missions.

On Wednesday of last week, Laura Parker announced changes and new leadership at A Life Overseas. Later that day I received a lovely note on Twitter from Denise James, co-author of the amazing blog Taking Route. Two days later, I received another encouraging note from Jillian Rogers, another woman from this community.

And with that encouragement and love from afar, I write this honest response to this community.

As a missionary kid/TCK I never wanted to be a missionary. When good folk at the Baptist churches that gave sacrificially of their time and money, not to mention a good part of their prayer lives, asked me if I wanted to be a missionary when I “grew up,” I would look at them and pray they didn’t see the panic under my response. No. No. NO. I did not want that. My best friend and I — we were heading off to Emory University to wear mini skirts and smoke cigarettes. Oh yes we were. Nancy was from Macon, Georgia, and I had fallen in love with Macon through her, though I had never been there.

And yet, a few years later I did not go to Emory. Instead, I headed to Chicago and chose nursing as a career — largely because I knew I could use this skill overseas. I knew just one thing: there was no way I was raising my family in my passport country. I couldn’t fathom living in the Western Hemisphere, more specifically the United States. So as soon as I became a nurse, I began making plans to go back to Pakistan and work.

The year following my graduation into the real adult world of patients, supervisors, night shifts, and more was one of the most difficult of my life. While God’s voice was whispering into my heart, I wanted no part of it. Though on the surface I taught Sunday School to junior high students, and sang “special music” during services, I was dead inside. My days were spent with patients, my evenings at punk rock bars in Chicago. And so I decided I needed to go home. The easiest way for me to go home was to get other people (you know, the ones who give sacrificially) to pay for it.

So I joined a short-term mission. The impostor act was in full swing at this point.

Read the rest at A Life Overseas.

Have you ever felt like an impostor? How did that go for you? 

2 thoughts on “A Life Overseas – A Note from an Impostor

  1. Marilyn, I can relate to your story in many ways. Forty-plus years ago, reintegration of the missionary/TC kid was not much thought of. I have been playing around, for several years, with my story of returning to the US after graduation, having spent an additional year overseas.
    Most of my classmates, within a week of graduation, were placed on airplanes, and shuttled back to their home country, to prepare for whatever was to follow. They would leave, in my case, Afghanistan one day, and the next day be back in the country they came from.
    I was not ready for that. In the first place, I had no idea what I wanted to do, or how to go about doing it. My oldest brother, the brains of the family, had gone to Berkley in 1967, and had gotten lost in the melee of that time. He did not do well there, and had to find a smaller college where he could apply himself without all the distractions.
    My second eldest brother returned to the US, and after some upheaval in his life, signed up for the Navy.
    My third eldest brother returned to the US, and within a year was married, and the father of a son.
    When I graduated, I decided that I did not want to return to the US immediately, so I stayed on for another year in Kabul. Then, I decided that I did not want to return home “instantly,” but rather take my time with the return trip. So in June of 1973, I set out by bus and train, headed for Europe, and eventually a flight from Europe to JFK in New York.
    When I reached Istanbul, the bus dropped me off at a ferry terminal to cross the Bosporus, where east meets west. As the ferry pulled away from the eastern shore, I had a very real sense that I would not return. That part of my life was over. I have never attempted to go back, even though at times it seemed like that might be the easiest course to take.
    I did not immediately immerse myself into church, either. I joined the Air
    Force, and was sent back overseas, to Okinawa for some time. I did not get back into church until I got to Florida, and found my way into a Baptist church. I have been a Baptist ever since, and now serve in a small Baptist church where I live, having put down roots. I have lived in the same house for the last 30 years, and attended the same church for over 32 years.


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