I grew up as an MK, born and raised in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Canada. My education encompassed British boarding, American international and Canadian public schools. My playmates of multiple nationalities and I spoke fluent Cantonese. My parents did the best they could in helping us adapt to constant change. They possessed a “get-on-with-life” mentality, so I learned to bury my feelings and be ‘strong’.
Living in different cultures and traveling, seeing Dad work miracles and people transformed were the benefits. The challenges included witnessing poverty and crime, befriending and then saying ‘bye’, realizing upon return to Canada I no longer felt ‘at home’ there or in my ‘host’ cultures. Age 16, at the Hong Kong International Airport, I said goodbye to my friends (once more) and thought “there’s got to be a way to make this easier. I’m going to figure it out and help others”- a Dad-moment pointing to His destiny for me.
When we repatriated in my grade 11 year, I was lost, alone and felt like a mis-fit. A chameleon is what I became, adept at changing to fit in with whoever was around me. This seemed to work well, except I was losing the real me. People-pleasing, perfectionism and being responsible were my go-to ways of operating and gaining approval.
I spent fulfilling years working as an intensive care nurse then married my love for life. Conflicted: do we stay in Canada, rooted and raise a family? Or respond to the restlessness and greater Calling inside? Following 3 years of ch planting, we traveled with two children in tow to Indonesia to serve with the C&MA Canada. Excitement over being ‘home’ in Asia abruptly vanished as I realized how different it was to be a mother overseas rather than a kid! We added two more children, one an international adoptee.
The next years were ones of transformation. Losses not processed in my growing up years came back to haunt and teach me. I learnt my true identity though wrestling. We zig-zagged between Canada, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Middle East, wearing many colourful hats: language student, ch planter, home schooler, nursing academy teacher, Good book and SS leader, trainer of national women, international ch leader’s wife, developer of handcraft projects to empower the poor, teacher at an embassy that was a safe haven to ‘slave workers’ who had run away from their employers.
In each place, Dad faithfully opened a unique ministry that fit who He created me to be, yet still my faith was tested and each transition found me battling doubt and fear. Tools and tenacity were gained to process and see change in myself and in my relationships with others and Dad.
As an IW mom, I longed to find practical solutions to help my children through their losses and challenges: Dad gave creative ideas and hope. In helping them, I found healing myself, as He reconstructed me.
Our life was a balanced combination of challenges and victories until, that is, we moved to Kuwait. After only 9 months, we made the agonizing decision to return to Canada to find the needed resources for dealing with our young teen’s newly diagnosed PTSD.
For 6 years we were in and out of crisis. Never had we experienced the agony of parenting a teenager in such deep pain from trauma. It rocked every aspect of our family and marriage. At times I lived in paralyzing fear. My husband went through a period of depression. It felt like we were hanging on by a thread. Looking back, we know we were in the palm of the Almighty, yet it didn’t feel that way. We wanted to quit, yet kept hearing “Trust Me. I am with you. Give love and grace as you receive it from Me.” Through it all, we held onto each other and committed to walk, many times stumbling or limping, by faith in Dad and with courage. In retrospect, we see how much resilience has been a constant theme in our story.
I have lived a life of loss, transition, challenge and stress concurrent with adventure, fun, variety and freedom! What matters most – family, friends, deep intimacy with my Creator, contribution to Kingdom purposes and transformation within – has been strengthened and deepened. It HAS been and IS an abundant life! One full of treasure hunting, finding and passing on what I learn.
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