Friday, November 18, 2011


I'm still processing concepts from our time at SPLICE.  And I'm also doing that really lame thing where you think of what you should have said and it's always way better than what you actually said.  I'm specifically thinking of our survey/comment card thingies we filled out on the last day.  I wish I had recommended the word "bittersweet" to replace the concept of "paradox".

I like bittersweet.  I especially like it in regards to food.  Bittersweet chocolate, salted caramel, kettle corn, you know, all of those foods that taste good because they spark more than one taste on your tongue.  The Grahams had a bag of candy corn mixed with dry roasted peanuts.  Genius.

Paradox was ok.  And that "pair of ducks" was pretty cute too.  But just think about how great it would have been to discuss the concept while eating!

I must be really hungry right now.  Sorry about that.  But the point is, I appreciate the idea that you can't have one without the other.  And in fact, one is better because you had the other in your life and vice versa.  Let me unpack that:

When we drove away from MTI the kids were in the backseat, waving to everyone as we pulled out of the parking lot.  But as we drove further away, their joy turned to grief and they began to wail.  I don't remember a time when both of my kids were crying like that when it didn't involve injury or punishment.   Their mourning was deep and powerful, it broke me and I wanted to fling myself over the seat to wrap my arms around them and shield them from the pain.  In that moment as their hearts were breaking I realized that they felt this immense pain because they had opened up their hearts to love so deeply.  They could not have the great sorrow without the great love.

Do you ever think about where you were the first time you heard a song?  I do that a lot.  The first time I heard the song "Blessed be your Name" was at a memorial service.  For a baby.  Let that sink in as you scan through the lyrics.  I remember seeing the mother in the front row with her hands lifted up as she sang.  The lyrics HAD to be true, otherwise she had no hope.  We have to bless the name of the Lord when the sun is shining down on us and on the road marked with suffering.  He has to be the God of both, otherwise we have no hope.

I appreciate the SPLICE paradox as we move into this season of holidays.  We are doing our best to make this holiday season special for everyone because in a short time things will be different.  I'm afraid though, that many of or friends and family will dwell on the sadness side of our departure and I want to encourage everyone to live on both sides of the paradox.  Would you consider rejoicing with us?

We are rejoicing in the midst of leaving.  We are rejoicing because God has asked us to do something different and we have no greater joy than walking down the road that He has prepared for us.  We are rejoicing because we have the opportunity to fully appreciate the depth of our love for YOU as we experience the heartache of leaving YOU.

Sheesh, my keyboard is soggy.

It's the reason Darren needs a large cup of coffee to make it through a slice of cheesecake.  You need both tastes to fully appreciate the dessert.  This is our God.  He gives and takes away.  Blessed be His name.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

different is just different

(Jason and Cameron at the Denver Aquarium, near the tiger ?! exhibit)

Cameron is no longer allowed to use the word "weird".  At SPLICE we learned that "different is just different", it is not weird, bad, unusual, strange, awful or any other word with a negative connotation.  And so now, whenever our family encounters something that is different, we have a new mindset.

(Cam strikes a mermaid pose on one of the climbing rocks at the awesome MTI playground)

The problem is, WE are different.

(Jason soaked up every minute of the Air Force Academy tour)

I realized on the long drive home that we are now the ones who are different.  We are the ones who are leaving the comfort of the known for the discomfort of the unknown.  We are the ones whose hearts ache for new friends scattered across the globe.  We are the ones who have been changed by our time away.

(The kids riding a buffalo, as all Coloradans do, at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center)

You at home are not weird, bad, unusual, strange or awful for not having this calling.  You are different from us.  We need you to be different.  We need you to love us, support us and pray for us.  We need you to be different.

(The girls were prepared for trick-or-treating and the SPLICE gang was ready and waiting at every door.  Jason was out with his friend's family for a birthday party.)

From now on we will be different.  We will be those strange missionaries who come "home" but feel awkward because this is no longer our home.  Our kids will have cute accents.  We will spell words incorrectly.

(Brian and Emily are Hayden's new best friends.  They are serving with Kids Alive in the Dominican Republic.)

So the question is: are you ready for this?  Are you ready for the difference?  Will it change our relationships?

(Cam and her new friend Emma.  Now when she says, "Mom, I wanna go to Uganda SO BAAAAAAD!" she has another very good reason.)

Or will you continue to check out this blog, send us emails, reply to our statuses on facebook, and love us from across the pond?

(We all froze at the Grand Canyon.  Here Hayden does her best to keep her hood on.)

We promise we'll write back.  We promise to love you back.

(The kids take a break from walking at the Hoover Dam.  Insert dam joke here.)

Because really, difference can be a good thing.  And different can just be different.