There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!
Have you ever found yourself sitting in the wonder of a miracle, right smack-dab in the middle of a moment or season that you knew God Himself had to have orchestrated? Such has been the current state of the Tyner trio as we find ourselves sitting on the rocky, southeast shoreline of the Korean peninsula, surrounded by mountains on three sides and listening to the murmur and chatter of the East sea crashing up against the rocks in mild, sky-blue waves. Just as neither of us expected Korea to be this beautiful, neither could we have imagined all the ways God would move and open doors for us when we said yes to serving with Abante International just a little less than five months ago. Since that time, we have watched God miraculously provide, through many of you, more than enough for all of our needs—empowering us to be able to move out of our apartment; say countless, hard see-you-laters; complete two weeks of training in GA and AL; and literally move halfway around the world with a small team that has quickly become like family to our temporary, new home in Pohang City, South Korea.
From Cincinnati, OH, to Tokyo, Japan, and then to Pohang City, South Korea, the Tyner Trio continues to see God shaping and molding them into the unique family unit and individuals He has called us to be. Now, with just a little less than three weeks left of our journey, I have learned valuable lessons that I would like to share with those of you who wish to go on a journey like ours:
1. Jesus must remain preeminent in all things, and worship and remembrance keep Him there. When I have a reason bigger than my calling, convenience, or happiness to get me out of bed in the mornings, I am no longer subject to how my circumstances, successes, failures, or set-backs are affecting me.
2. Life continues on in Jesus regardless of context. Many days are still filled with the mundane—kitchen work, laundry, teaching our baby how to sleep—but all can and are best done with the power and direction of Jesus through our intimacy with Him.
3. Fear is not a context issue, but a gaze issue. You will always find a reason to be afraid of something regardless of where you live or visit. The question is whether you will keep the eyes of your heart fixed on what you are afraid of or on the Only One whose perfect love transcends all contexts and situations.
4. Margin is key, and all is grace. Whether you just moved overseas for the first time or to the State next door, everything will take longer—from grocery shopping to going to the bakery to pick up your husband’s birthday cake. Give yourself margin in your schedule and grace for the times when even your margin didn’t afford you enough to accomplish what you had hoped.
5. Freely laughing and crying with Jesus and your trusted community unlock the prison doors of frustration, disappointment, and discouragement that the enemy will seek to build around you when you realize your capacity—and even your intuitive instincts—for how to plan and navigate your life are handicapped or rendered ineffective.
6. Over-communication covers a world of mistakes. From making plans with new friends, to leading a team, to figuring out who will do the laundry with your spouse, over-communication is key. Especially for married couples and family units, life transitions are breeding grounds for high-stress and misinterpreted motives, words, and actions. Give yourself time to get to know the strengths and weaknesses this new level of stress is revealing in you, your spouse, and your kids. Remember, you’re in uncharted waters now! You’ve never seen yourself, your spouse, or your family unit in this context before…and they could say the same for you!
7. Parenting should be driven more by Jesus and principles than a specific culture’s list of do’s-and-don’ts. The quicker you can give Jesus and unity with your spouse the megaphone in your parenting, the less frustration and fear will have a valid voice in your thought life when things like sleep training with a crib are no longer options because your new culture, at large, does not practice them.
8. Comparison kills. All of our giftings and strengths are gifts from God, and not one of them is great enough to attain supernatural living apart from the Holy Spirit, so why compare what someone else can do with their giftings? Either they are operating in their own strength, which won’t amount to a hill of beans in eternity, or they are operating in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit. The first holds no appeal in light of eternity, and the second is available to each of us if we but believe.
With all that in mind, then, what is God saying to you? To what uncharted waters and unknown contexts is God calling you? Don’t let fear, comparison, fear of failure, or the fact that you have a family hold you back. Give God your whole heart with one hand and grab your spouse’s with the other. You were made for more than dancing in tide pools; the waves of His grace and creativity are beckoning you to deeper things.