An Accidental Breakup and Muddy Waters.

Hey guys, I’m a year away from 40 years old! I was just 29 when we first dragged our loftily packed luggage, haggard children, adventure-ready teva sandals, sweat-stained dreams and prideful expectations into this country. Things have certainly changed since starting this blog several years ago. I began writing as a kind of dramatic and cathartic outcry. I discovered that writing was my form of therapeutic release, confession, processing and even understanding, often for the first time, what I was actually thinking and feeling.  I decided to share these cathartic writings on this blog because I had lost all dignity and self respect I have always had this innate desire to share what God is teaching me with others…even if it makes me look bad. 

I haven’t written on this particular space in a while because I felt like my content had changed so dramatically.  Okay, okay…fine. There’s more to the story. I also lost a little bit of motivation when I irrationally threw away lost my main platform of sharing blogposts after watching the Social Dilemma. I panicked and permanently deleted my Facebook account. Once I realized my loss, it was too late. They wouldn’t take me back. It was a rejection that I will have to learn to live with. Yes, I took it personally. No, I won’t start a new account based purely on principle. So, those few of you who decided to follow my blog are the extent of my audience. I love you guys. Our relationship survived the Facebook breakup!  Though I’m still recovering from the breakup, the other side of the story is that I don’t have as many raw stories of new beginning and hilarious cultural mistakes – though they still happen from time to time.  My life and my family are different.  My writing is different.  My experiences living abroad are different.  

Somewhere along the line I went from newbie to “those white people who have lived here forever…”.  Those fresh emotions and observations of a new culture have morphed into not being able to differentiate which parts of me, my family and my life are more American or Tanzanian at this point.  The truth is that those have all become a bit muddied. Those muddy waters, as opposed to the oil and water mixture we experienced in the beginning, don’t make for such hilarious and shocking narratives. 

Something else has changed, and that’s my perspective on life and missions.  Well, it hasn’t as much changed, but I tend to look at things from a different vantage point now.  It’s true that whatever you behold you become.  Other than Scripture, most of my reading and leisure time has been spent in studies.  After completing my masters in counseling, I am now a new and slightly terrified PhD student studying Social Psychology with a focus on (you guessed it) culture and missions. My time is now mostly split between being wife and mom, serving at Sifa, offering both community and individual counseling in Dar es Salaam and of course, studies.

But a discipline that I still wish to maintain is writing for leisure, writing for laughs and memories, writing for processing and contemplation…and of course, writing for you guys (those who survived the irrational Facebook breakup)!

For those of you who still desire to go along on the journey with me, I’ll be returning here to share more about life and missions but with topics that may gear more towards counseling, mental health & theology, heart and relationship issues, culture & psychology, and preserving a biblical worldview in the midst of this chaotic and sometimes confusing cross-cultural work. I know that funny, lighthearted and humiliating stories will still continue to appear along the way because God continues to daily teach me great and mysterious “things I didn’t yet know (Jer. 33:3).”

For those of you left, I would love to read in the comments below any questions, thoughts or ideas that you have for me to write about as we continue this journey together.  Feel free to share my blog too- even if it’s on Facebook (just don’t tell me about it). Thank you!

Grace and peace,

Steph

  1. Was wondering where you were!
    Sounds like a good place.
    Looking forward to hearing these new perspectives as I am also very interested in the heart, relationships, culture, theology, philosophy, Biblical worldview and family and babies. And though I am mostly a wife and homeschool Mom with an antiquated teaching degree from NJ, my Shepherd and family have taught this wraggled sheep a lot.
    I have enjoyed laughing with/at you on your journey with Jesus.
    -Living for eternity

  2. Glad you are getting back to writing here again. I often relate to things you share and it helps me to name and process things I didn’t realize I needed to process.

  3. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your life and experiences with us. It helps bring awareness to the real life of a missionary. It humbles me and helps me to understand a missionaries life a wee bit more. Please continue to share, I love you and your writings.

  4. I appreciate your writing/processing. In many ways it doesn’t matter where you live, working thru matters of faith and culture is always challenging. Appreciate your honesty and passion. Would love to hear your kids thoughts on where/how they are growing up in a way different than your own. Agreed-writing is a beautiful tool to untangle emotions, problem solve and clarify-you do it beautifully! Keep using your gifts!

  5. I remember being one year from 40 years old. Now I’m one year from 70! I always love reading what you have to say. You never fail to touch my heart in a special way (I sometimes cry, laugh or both) and I learn some truth. Love, Janet

  6. I’m glad you’re continuing to write! I enjoy your blogs. I also have training as a counselor and hope to get back into the field again. I would love to hear your perspective on the similarities and differences (from Americans) you notice with the counseling situations you see and perhaps the similarities and differences you see with “treatment” approaches that are effective in TZ in contrast to the US.

  7. It was a nice surprise to see you back in my inbox again! ☺️ I have always enjoyed your honest writing that doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff but also breaks up the seriousness with some good laughs. And I love reading about your experiences in Africa as well. I only had a taste of that life in the short time I lived there. It’s always interested me to read your adult perspective (vs. my teenage one) as you go through similar life stages as I am currently in, but over there. Anyway, that’s all just to say, it was good to see you back in my email. ❤️

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