Radical Simplicity and a Beautiful, Messy Life

Dear Messed Up Ordinary Missionary

I am a missionary.  Not a called-across-seas sort of missionary, but a called-to-stay missionary, called to be salt and light in a bland and dark world.  You are a missionary too.  If you have Christ in your heart and blood moving through your veins you are called to live out justice and peace and reconciliation where He has placed you.  

I am a called-to-stay missionary, and I regularly feel like a fraud and a failure.  I know I'm not the only one. 

I've struggled with anxiety and depression since adolescence, although I haven't always had the words to express it.  I suffer from a sickness that tells me I'm not sick, I'm just a piece of shit.   I live sometimes at war with my own being.   I regularly feel like a failure and a fraud because I tell people that they matter to God more than they can fathom but I can't hold on to that truth tight enough in my own life.  I tell people there is hope for them when I'm not convinced there is hope for me. 

Maybe your story is different but the same.  Like David in the 31st psalm,  we are broken pottery. 

I have a friend who suffered her first panic attack recently.  I told her I was sorry to hear that, panic attacks aren't fun.  She responded that she was thankful for it.  It gave her insight into what some of her friends live with.  It gave her empathy.

What if our pain is part of becoming more fully human?  More fully aware?   What if, like my wise friend, we can choose, in our better moments, to see the pain as a refining fire, making us more honest, more vulnerable, more real?

What if the hope that comes in the morning won't come just to us, but through us.

What if the world needs our brokenness more than it needs our strengths? 

A favourite writer of mine (Henri Nouwen)  says that community is not  a talent show for our combined gifts, but a place where poverty is seen and accepted as a source of new life.  He teaches over and over again that there is a richness in our weakness. 

Every one of us is called to a mission field.  Whether it's some far away place or delving deeper into our own community, we are all called to reach out to a world desperate for hope. 

And that thing you think makes you unqualified?  It is exactly where God wants to shine through.  

Dear messed up ordinary missionary: you are exactly the person for the job God has tasked you with.  

I'm writing this from a place of darkness.  I'm preaching to myself.  I am a tired broken mess. 

And God is going to use me for his glory.

Not because of who I am.  But because of who He is.

Not because of what I have done.   But because of what He is doing.

Not because I have it all together, but precisely because I don't. 

My God is bigger than my brokenness.

He's bigger than yours too.

That's where His glory really shines. 

Will you take a moment to follow me on facebooktwitter, or instagram? And thank you for reading my words, I'm honoured.


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  2. I have always enjoyed reading your words on faith, family and living an authentic life for Christ, and today is no different. I can't begin to express just how deeply I connect with this in this season of my life. God uses you mightily because you are willing to admit that you haven't arrived yet. It makes the brokenness less scary when we can see that people we respect have broken places too. Thank you.

  3. So brave. So few of us admit that there is a place of brokenenss inside. But for so many of us there is. Thank you. And hang in there...

  4. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

  5. Kelly, I believe you are also describing who I am. My understanding of Jesus and the Gospel echos what you share. There was a time when the Gospel was more about victory and having a good day. I still so appreciate when I have a good day and life feels full of love, but I am coming to see that Jesus is in everything - when I'm in a mess, in pain, anxious, afraid. And he delights in doing life with me. Yes, I do want to be his hands and feet.

  6. Kelly, I have read each of the online blogs that you have crafted. Each one was very powerful. I searched for simplicity living when I came upon your first blog. I read it all the way through, then the second one, and on to this one. I truly hope that you continue to post. Your voice and your Witness for those without permanent homes to call their own is powerful. Thank you for the Work that you do. It has touched me, many hundreds of miles away from where you live. And thank you for sharing your beautiful family and your heart with us.

  7. Hello Kelly, I'm Petra from Germany and today I read your blog and your text above the first time. Often I feel the same and you wrote it like I would like to write it. I thank you very much and like to encourage you to write again if you're able to. I will pray for you. Blessings.
    Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2Kor 12,10.

  8. I just finished sending you an email, a first for me. I felt some connection to you immediately. After reading your new blog, NOW I KNOW why God placed you in my path. I've suffered from depression since the 9th grade, twice tried to end my life and constantly feel like an utter failure. So yes, your words speak volumes to my dry thirsty soul! Thank you for following your passion which led me here to know without a doubt that God hasn't forgotten me!

  9. How is it that you & I have existed in this world...yet only today I find your blog....by looking on Pinterest for how to have my sheets all folded nicely together?? God has a beautiful sense of humor. I love the trails He takes us on to find who and what He wants us to find. I too am a called-to-stay missionary (in this season anyway) who is on mission to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ there is #NoPlaceLeft. What a breath of fresh air you are! From one tattooed, homeschooling, mom of 6, Jesus obeying, killing sin through sanctification & grace woman to another....Blessings!

  10. Gracious! Another beautiful set of words that resounds with me! I was just talking about this with a friend yesterday, that I always thought I would grow up and be a missionary, but I never thought it would be in my own home. I always thought I would travel and do medical missions, instead, I am raising 4 beautiful children, each with their own medical issues, and I am doing exactly what God called me to do...and, in ways, I am doing medical missions. God called me, qualified me, and put me right where he wants me. And, it's perfect, even on the darkest of days. <3