Thursday, March 4, 2010

Talk About Creating a Ruckus!

I received many positive, encouraging comments after my last post and want to give a great big thanks to all of you that did send comments.  Your prayers and support are wind beneath my wings!

However, it seems that my openness and transparency was very uncomfortable for some and ruffled some feathers.  So I am going to clarify a few things for those that are clucking their tongues.

Regarding our house:  We did not just up and walk away from our house.  We placed it on the market in May, 6 months before our scheduled departure.  At that time the average number of days on the market in Beaverton was 90 days.  As much as we had hoped, it did not sell prior to our departure.  We had a durable power of attorney drawn up prior to leaving and have someone in Portland handling everything related to the house.  Earlier in 2009 we applied twice with our lender for a loan modification hoping to get the payment low enough to keep the house and rent it out.  You know, the modifications they were supposed to do after they got their big fat bail outs?  Unfortunately we were turned down on both occasions.  We do not have the income to pay our mortgage there and our living expenses here.  There is a short sale offer pending, in process for 3 months now.  But our lender doesn't appear to be in any hurry to complete the process and instead issued a notice of foreclosure.  According to our realtor and others we have talked to, there is nothing we can do to get them to process the sale more expeditiously.  We just have to wait. 

Regarding the stress of transitioning to Honduras:

According to, if you add up all of the items on this list that our family has gone through in the last 12 months we are at a score of 276.  Most people are incredibly understanding and supportive about the difficulties we have had, but there are some that shake their heads and say "I don't understand why they're having so much of a problem.  After all, they visited Honduras so many times, they knew what they were getting into."  etc, etc, etc.

Yes, we did visit.  But visiting with a date to return home is nothing like moving forever.  We did know what we were getting into, but knowing doesn't prevent the stress of doing it from happening.  As I said, depression is not anything new in my life.  I've dealt it for as long as I can remember.  It is one of Satan's favorite tools to try and sideline me.  Having gone through that time of darkness doesn't mean we did anything wrong with the way we transitioned to Honduras.  It doesn't mean we are more or less spiritual than anyone else.  It is just a chemical reaction in my brain in response to external events...or internal events.  I tried to convey in my writing how I felt that the Lord was using that time to bring me to a certain place with Him, and the grace and mercy He has shown in bringing me through that.  I tried to explain that I have come out the other side now and that it was a necessary experience to draw me closer to the Lord. 

I believe that the Lord has given me a gift for writing and that part of our ministry here requires me to be as transparent as possible in that writing.  I see no point in putting on a mask and pretending to be the ultra-spiritual missionary.  I don't hear harp music all day long or walk around with a holy glow.  It's just life, like everybody else, trying to do my best to walk the path that God has laid out before me.  My initial knee-jerk reaction to the tongue clucking was to say "fine, I'll just write my blog posts and only state the facts".  But that is not what the Lord wants me to do.  So, instead, I'll say this:  if my openness and transparency is uncomfortable for you, if you would prefer to not know the real life stuff of being on the mission field, I apologize but I can't pretend to be anything other than what I am.  I will continue to write about the good, the bad, and the ugly while we are here and pray that the Lord will work through my writing to minister to those that read it.

Living on the front lines and thankful for it,



Pastor Christopher said...

Thank for going out on a limb and having the courage to share your heart! Your transparency before God makes you an instrument that he can pour Himself into and shine through!

Lynsey said...

My Dear Natasha,
I am so proud of you guys for saying yes to God and for being transparent. I don't know why you don't hear harp music and walk around with a holy glow all day cause I totally do! I don't think one of us can say that because we are serving God with everything we have all our troubles went away and everything is peachy-we become some "Super Saint, able to leap tall troubles in a single bound". I recently heard someone say that it is not possible to live both a life of comfort and meaning and how much more valuable is a life of meaning? Thank you for living your life of meaning trasparently so that your truth will encourage others who also don't hear harp music and walk around with a holy glow that God made them just who they are to serve and praise him mightily in whatever place he has created them for. I hope that no one stops reading your blog because they would truly be missing out. I hope instead for open minds and hearts-since we are all warriors in the same battle. God bless Paul for saying in Gal. 1:10 "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I still trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." Paul had a little tongue clucking in his day too. We get all tangled up when we try to make other people happy, but it is God who truly knows our hearts.
Bless you and praying for you (and proud of you).

Carol Ranney said...

2 Corinthians 5:13. "If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you."
Brian N quoted this verse to me yesterday when I told him, "I must be out of my mind!" We are potentially receiving a 22 year old guy out of a prison in Ohio who is gay and in for drug charges. He has very recently come to the Lord and has no place to go. From here he will go into drug rehab.

What I had told Brian was that every time I make some leap out of my comfort zone, I lie awake nights wondering whether I'm nuts???!!! So it was nice to be reminded that Paul sometimes felt he was out of his mind too.

I think it's like the subject of death--people feel uncomfortable with our emotions, therefore they either try to make us change so they can be comfortable, or they avoid us so they can be comfortable. Not everyone can join us in the discomfort of leaps of faith, following God through uncharted territory like Erwin McManus said somewhere in one of his books, that with God at the wheel you take some pretty wild off-road rides to get where you're going!

I think people perceive the Lord's leading as "through green meadows and beside still waters." Yea, that's on the coffee breaks where he is restoring my soul and fixing a snack for me in the presence of my enemies, but then we get back in the vehicle and hit the road--or not a road--again.

Thank you for being real--have you read "The Barbarian Way"? Erwin McManus has a lot of good things to say to those who are on off-road adventures.

Love in Christ,

Anonymous said...

Hi Natasha,
Your vulnerability is a beautiful, rare trait in a world where even Christians feel compelled to fit into a mold and hide anything that seems ugly. Christ has freed us, and I hope your blog increases prayer for your family, and introduces others to the reality of spiritual warfare in life, and especially the mission field. So glad you feel free to be you, and to ask for prayers and support without hiding behind a mask. Love it! God bless you and your fam, and all you minister to with each interaction. su amiga en cristo, melody

Pastor Christopher said...

"When a man or woman is truly honest, it is virtually impossible to insult them personally. " - Brennan Manning

Anonymous said...

Aman! its like the american people not wanting to see the caskets coming home from the wars abroud. such is the case of the battle field in the front lines in the kindom of heaven, its messy, with casualties and a lot of hardship. pencil pushing generals dont undersand see the front lines till the news reports or the intel photos from the lines come in. thanks for keepin it real, my spirit and prayers are with you guys

Aaron Jaramillo said...

Natasha.... If we can't be real then there is no point in taking up the cross for Jesus. Keep preaching the truth and I will keep praying for you. God Bless!

Roy said...

Hey Natasha!
Just read your blog and I am sorry that you even had to respond and clarify. I guess that as little as I know you I was totally comfortable with your comments. I know you did your best with the house and I absolutely expected culture shock to be something you all would be dealing with.
Hey, please keep in all the good, the bad and the ugly. I simply can't relate to someone who has no trials and walks a perfect life.
Transparent! Gee has anyone ever met you and not understood that about you? I am so thankful to know you and Brian.
Keep safe.
your friend, Roy Woodman

Leo Vaughn said...

Hi Natasha,
Be encouraged, the fact that you have struggles is a reality - those who don't think missionaries and pastors struggle don't understand a true walk with God. Satan attacks those who reach out - those who sit back and do nothing satan is happy to leave alone, they are doing nothing. This is not just as missionaries or pastors, or the leadership of the church - it is all believers! It is a spiritual warefare. It's ok to have struggles - remember who fights the battles for you. The battle is the Lord's. I am so thankful that it is His battle and not mine - I screw it up on a regular basis :-)

Smile and be encouraged, God is with you!!

In His Steps,

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