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Living cross-culturally is a challenge (and all of you who have done (or are doing) it are laughing at that gross understatement!). Equally challenging is living cross-culturally with two small children. We had finally settled the problems that we faced living in the mountain village and moved to the Delhi area where I was finally able to devote some of my energy to something other than mere survival.
However, as I began to get healthier I started to feel like my ministry role was very insignificant, even non-existent, and a deep dislike for my “gifts” was beginning to bloom in my heart. Jonathan was thriving, learning language and participating in countless ministry opportunities, while I stayed home with the kids. Now, don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe in ministering to my family. I know that’s hugely important, but I had come from a place where I had been able to do both, and I was feeling frustrated. Many of the places Jonathan would go were just too difficult to take a two and four-year-old along, and while I knew that I was part of everything that he did by making it possible for him to go, part of me longed to be an active participant in a much more tangible way.
During this time, our house turned into a bigger hub than Chicago O’Hare. Being in the Delhi metro meant that people were constantly coming in and out and needing a place to stay (nice hotels were/are ridiculously expensive). Our house was that place. The entire time we lived there very few nights didn’t include guests. And I loved it, but I didn’t feel any sense of significance by providing a place of rest and rejuvenation for weary travelers.
Delhi was also the entry point for many missionary families coming to minister in Northern India. One of the things I loved to do (and still love to do!) was shop. I knew where to find just about anything–at the best price. A giant Pottery Barn rug for $25, I had you covered. Gap kids clothes for super cheap, I knew exactly where to go. So one of my ministries was to help women find things to help them feel more at home in India. But who really considers shopping a ministry? I sure didn’t.
Having the benefit of hindsight, I can now see that much of my frustration was just the season of life I found myself in. Being a full-time mom to toddlers is hard work. Sometimes certain things go on the back burner, even good things, so that we can take care of our families. And God honors that. While I didn’t feel like either of my gifts were significant, they were significant to the people who were blessed by them. It wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to do (or at least all I wanted to do), but it was what God gave me at the time…