The Catch-Up Post

Whenever I start writing again after a long hiatus, I feel like I should do a sort of “catch-up.” Where I am, what I’ve been doing. Not just to satisfy this drive to have some sort of chronological record of those months that have passed, but also to set the stage for what I really want to say later.

Of course, when so much time has passed, the “catch-up” phase that I feel I have to do just begins to seem more and more overwhelming. Where to begin? What to talk about? And so I keep putting it off and putting off and getting further and further behind.

I could talk about our new job and ministry at Camp Bellevue. How much we are enjoying it. How settled we feel. How thankful we are to have followed God’s leading to this place and for the chance to do Kingdom work together as a couple and a family (which is something we never really had with the jungle ministry Rusty was involved in before).

I could talk about our new home. How beautiful the area is where we live. How much I enjoy living out in the country as opposed to the noise and congestion of the city. How these things come with a price, because now that we live an hour and a half from Quito, I don’t see my sister nearly as often and can’t participate in our homeschool group as much as before. How there have been times since moving out to the camp when I have felt profoundly lonely and out-of-place and found myself missing even more the camaraderie we had with the Angola Team.

I could talk about our new baby. How beautiful and perfect and amazing she is. How thankful I am to have a daughter and how much I am enjoying little girl clothes and hair-bows! How fiercely I love her and want to protect her. How she is changing the way I think about church and the “women’s role” issue. How desperately I want her to grow up in a faith community that values her gifts and her voice and doesn’t try to shunt her into a specific ministry based solely on her anatomy.

I could write about the week I spent in Brazil in October with about 50 other missionary women. How wonderful and refreshing and soothing it was. How neat it was to look back and see how far I had come emotionally since the first Continent Care Connection conference I attended two years before (I was really a bit of a mess at that first one — yikes!)

I could write about “home ministry assignment” and all the places we’ve been and people we’ve seen since coming back to the States in October. How special it was to spend Elizabeth’s first Christmas with my parents. How, despite how truly good it’s been, we are also so tired and really ready to get back home and back to our own beds and our routine.

So that’s the background — where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing over the past year and a bit. And if you read my other blog, which focuses more on family / ministry news, or follow The Campbell Family in Ecuador on Facebook, then you are already aware of most of the above. And if not, well, now you know! The Campbell Chronicles has been sadly neglected too, of late, so part of my New Year’s resolution of writing more will include trying to get caught up over there as well.

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A Psalm of Integration

O God, you are my refuge and my source. Who can compare with you?

You are unchanging and ever present and I bless your holy name.

I have seen the beauty of your handiwork

in swift sunsets over the African savannah,

in the delicate cherry blossoms of a Japanese spring,

in the fragrant evergreen forests of Oregon,

in lonely, windswept stretches of Portuguese coastline,

and now in the majestic Andes mountains of Ecuador,

and I open my mouth to speak your praises.

You have blessed me in my being with my sisters this week and soothed my spirit through your love.

You have helped me to

laugh with new friends,

to be vulnerable, even when it was painful,

and to rest, truly rest, in your presence.

I want to praise you with my life, serve you with my whole being, but I am weak and needy.

Forgive me when I resist your call on my life, and give me the courage and the strength to open my heart yet again to a new home, a new people, a new language, a new ministry.

I submit to your loving hand and offer you all my sweet memories, all my unresolved grief, all my paralyzing fears, all my unfulfilled dreams, and all my aching longings…

Because you alone can integrate all the disjointed parts of my life, weaving them into a one-piece tapestry, and making me whole again.

— written at the CCC Conference in Brazil, October, 2012

CCC Conference

I blogged today on our family blog about the Continent Care Connection (CCC) Conference that I attended in October. I won’t always count the posts I do there as part of the Writing Project 365, but since this post was reflective in nature, I don’t feel like it’s cheating to count it as today’s writing practice.

Hop on over and read “Soothing.”