On the Subject of Cheese, Triage, and Blogging

A while ago, Seth’s best friend gifted him with a stack of old issues of Credenda Agenda, a magazine put out by Doug Wilson and friends (and family). What a nice gift. We’re still working our way through those, sharpening our brains and hearts with thoughtful words, some new to us, some old. One issue was entitled “Wood.” Every article was somehow related to wood: the article written by Doug’s wife Nancy on the family table (theirs was pine, by the way), the article on music had to do with wood, another theological article on the cross…it was kind of neat seeing how they tied all these different categories of thought into the subject of wood.

Then there was the issue entitled “On the Subject of Cheese.” Um, some of those articles were a stretch. I do get what they’re trying to do—all knowledge is related in some way, and Christ is Lord over everything, and all, but, cheese?

IMG_2359This last year has been anything but “easy cheesy” for us. Last year this time, I was staying up late nights to help a new single mother from a different culture deal with her colicky baby—in the newly remodeled homeschool room that I never envisioned being used immediately for that purpose. This was followed by a 10-day stint myself as a single mom, as Seth was gone; he came back with an international visit by a family member. We took another trip, preceded by a bad leg break for my two-year old. After that I had a miscarriage.

Caleb right after surgery

Caleb right after surgery

Then came the momentous attack on our home, followed by two different exhausting international trips (they were also nice!), a new troubled pregnancy, a rushed move to a new-to-us but not-as-nice house, a horrendous arm break for my 7-year old, ministry changes, many ministerial discouragements, a new-to-us car and puppies, and more.

For a while after the attack, I was unable to even think about blogging. When you’ve had a gun pointed at your head and at your child’s head, it seems sacrilegiously unimportant to spell out the contrasts between two spelling curricula. I couldn’t even bring myself to read books (my hobby). No books seemed important enough to engage my attention, yet none seemed unimportant enough to take my mind off of our dilemma.

On occasion that issue title “On the Subject of Cheese” came to mind, chewing on the edges of my comfort like the mice over here chewed on our bookshelf (yes, a bookshelf!) Finally I dished out a couple of my thoughts on the subject of “the subject of cheese” to Seth—went something like this:

Me: “You know—you really have to have peace to be able to write a whole issue on the subject of cheese.”

Seth: “Huh?”

Me: “You know—that issue by Doug Wilson, where the whole thing was about cheese? You can tell he’s not a missionary. You really have to have a lot of time, and PEACE, to be able to write like that. And nothing else more immediate to write about, either.”

I’m not trying to pick on Wilson. I’m trying to point out why I haven’t been writing lately, and why I still may be spotty for a while. I told my mom that I felt like I was living in a state of triage, assessing where urgent care was needed most. Even without the trauma of our last year, a missionary lives closer to the battlefield, closer to the smell of gun smoke, the cries of the wounded and dying, and the cares of immense spiritual struggles in others who don’t care for themselves.

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer by Jean-Leon Gerome

The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer by Jean-Leon Gerome

I guess the Baptists have always tended that way—running for their lives, manuscripts being burned along with their martyrs’ bodies, unable to have enough peace to write down their thoughts. Doesn’t mean they didn’t think them. Bunyan’s writings came from his jail cell.

Anyway, when you’re in that state of the urgent and necessary, it seems really unimportant to write, especially when you doubt that you ever had anything worthwhile to say at all. When there is so much to be done, and only so much of “mom” to give to your scared, needy children, and the only constancy in your life is upheaval, well, the last thing on your mind is how to relate a theology of family to cheese.

It takes time to write well. It takes peace to write thoughtfully about minute details under Christ’s sovereignty. I’m glad someone has both; I haven’t. When I do, and when I can, I will enjoy writing again.

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About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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13 Responses to On the Subject of Cheese, Triage, and Blogging

  1. Kathie McClinton says:

    Very insightful. You definitely have a solid grasp with regards to understanding your emotions. My heart goes out to you and your family. May our Lord’s arms wrap around you to comfort, strengthen and encourage. May He keep your eyes fixed on Him, lift you up and renew you. Praying for a restoration of the peace that passes all understanding that only our Loving Father can give you.

    In His Victory, Love and Grace,
    Kathie

  2. Ann Bedford says:

    So understandable. Write when you can. Will look forward to reading your posts when you are ready. Praying for all of you.

    The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18:2

  3. Anita Devore says:

    I was thrilled to see your blog post. I have been waiting to hear how you are doing. Still praying for you, and this gives me more hints as to how to uphold you more accurately. I found it hard to sit down and write prayer letters, when so much was going on and demanding my attention, so I can relate to your long absence from writing a blog entry. May the Lord bless you richly today, and may you rest in His arms and know His comfort, protection and encouragement as you minister to your family and those who need you in RSA. We’ve been “home” for three years now, but my heart and thoughts and prayers are still with the ones that the Lord allowed us to serve in RSA.

  4. aleassa says:

    Whew! What a year for you, and what a great post. Keep writing when you can, you share your thoughts and musings so well, and really paint an accurate picture of what it’s like to be a woman on the front lines. Reminds me a bit of Elisabeth Elliot’s style–bluntly honest yet graceful.

  5. Kelly says:

    Oh, Amy! It has truly been a difficult year for your sweet family! Please know that I am praying for you all, as well as the Schlehleins. Often, the Lord will bring you all to mind, reminding me to pray for you at times when I am busy caring for my children, doing laundry, or washing dishes. It’s then that I wonder what you are dealing with at that moment, and I lift you all up in prayer. Thank you for the update, and for sharing what you are going through now.

  6. Patty says:

    Some days it is impossible to write. Some months are the same. There are stretches of time when just surviving takes all your energy ~ please know that we pray for your family regularly, Amy.

  7. I just began teaching the missionary story “Mission to Mozambique” to my Children’s Church class last Sunday. I was trying to do research on the missionaries in the story before I taught it and found your blog. The only thing I have read was what you posted today. I sobbed as I read your post about the attack last year. I have a son named Caleb, too. I’m not really sure how you recover from what you went through…God just gives His grace a day at a time, I guess. But, I thank you for writing what you did. I can continue with what I am teaching our Children’s Church children, but I can now teach them more thoroughly of what a missionary might go through. I am praying that God will call some kids from our church into His full-time service. I will be praying for you and your family. Thank you for your testimony and faithfulness.

  8. Katie says:

    Hi Amy,
    I really enjoyed your post. I saw this when it first came out, but I’ve only just been able to read it — we’ve haven’t always had internet in the last few weeks of our travels. Just wanted to remind you that I am praying for you and to recommend that you keep writing. I may be totally wrong here, but it seems to me that writing may be a way for you to sort through your wide range of thoughts and emotions at this time in your life. Maybe blogging isn’t practical right now – it may be a bit too public for all your thoughts, but a personal journal may be a real therapy for you. By the way, I finally got a “commonplace book” set up — I haven’t seemed to scribble in it as much as some that I’ve read about, but I am enjoying it 🙂 I think it will take me a long way in my endeavor to improve my journaling skills. Please pray with us about our “blacklisting” issue – the Home Affairs Overstays Department won’t even pick up the phone when we call. Grrrrrr . . . . .

    Katie

  9. Tammy Schindel says:

    Please know that we continue to pray for you all and think of you fondly!

  10. Pingback: 2017 New Year’s Goals | Ita Vita

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