Posts Tagged ‘pain

15
Feb
13

Downsides of intercultural families

It’s a cold and quiet Friday morning in Copenhagen. I had tears in my eyes as I was walking through the streets trying to keep the insisting winter-cold out. I feel sad. Sad because of consequences of a choice that I made many years ago that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. How is that for an oxymoron?

This Sunday I have to tell my parents that our family are leaving Denmark again in July to move back to the States. It’s the right thing to do. It’s what we want to do. We sense that’s what God’s inviting us to do. I’m called to pour my life out in full-time ministry in the Body of Christ, and right now God has somewhere in America as the place where he wants me to do that. I’m excited about the prospect of getting back into devoting all my time to counsel, teach, train, lead, and through all of it point to life, liberty and hope in Jesus Christ. I’ve missed doing that dearly these last 8 months where I’ve been studying Communication and English at Roskilde University. It’s not my thing to study and look at theories and do academic projects. I’m a practical guy. Does it make a real difference in everyday life? If it doesn’t, I’m not very interested.

So I’m excited to move back to the States and continue in ministry in whatever capacity that’s gonna be. I’m excited for my dear wife and son to have other stay-at-home moms and kids to hang out with, unlike here in Copenhagen where those are extremely hard to come by.

Lots more to look forward to, but what makes my heart heavy today is the loss of leaving Denmark. The emotional loss for our family of not being able to spend a lot of quality time with our Danish family. It was tough for my family when I left Denmark to pursue God and his will for my life outside of Denmark’s borders 10 years ago. It got tougher when I had a lovely wife with me on my journeys that they would love to spend more time with as well. And since we got Marcus, the reality of missing us and us missing them has increased. And will increase with every child God will be kind enough to give us as a family. It sucks. It’s not fair. It’s not right that my parents, Marcus’ farmor and farfar, and the rest of my family, in particular my younger sister, Merete, who has been Marcus’ regular and excited babysitter during our stay here in Denmark, won’t get to see us very often. It’s not how it should be. It hurts us. It hurts them. And Marcus will be missing out on many fun and important experiences because he won’t get to be around his Danish family very much these coming years.

August 20, 2005 I said “I DO” with all my heart when Pastor Shawn Wallace asked me if I wanted to take Jeannette Lynn Thomas to be my lawfully wedded wife. Of course I wanted to do that! What a great choice I made. But I and we also made some choices on behalf of our respective families. Georgia and Ohio in the United States of America, and Herning, Stubbekøbing, and Copenhagen in Denmark are never gonna be very close to each other geographically. “The world has gotten so small”, the airlines tell us, but it still takes 8-10 hours to fly across the big ocean, and it still costs a fortune. That’s the raw reality. One set or both sets of families will miss out on as much contact with our family as they would prefer. And we will miss out of being with them. It will be different on the new earth someday. And I so look forward to that. But as far as 2013 goes, the reality is that we’re leaving Denmark this summer, and it hurts. I don’t know how to tell this piece of news to my parents. There are no clever words to say. It just sucks. They love us, and they love and adore our sweet little boy. And they won’t get to see him grow up. They won’t be nearby for his first day of school. They won’t go to grandparent day at his school. They won’t…..And tears come into my eyes again.

I love being married to my American wife. I love the craziness of being part of an international and intercultural family. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s a ton of fun, and a huge challenge. And I love it all. And yet, there are real downsides to the choice we made in 2005. We made the choice for our respective families as well. We had to. They have had to live with that. And now, my Danish family will have to work through these realities that I will present to them this weekend. It is not easy. But all I and we can do is share the reality of what’s going to happen. Share that it’s tough for us too. And then entrust my family to Jesus, and ask him to help them in the grief and surrender process that they have to go through to be able to let go of their hopes and desires and submit to what Jesus is calling our family to do. Not an easy thing to do. Real surrender is never easy. But it does make a difference. It does make letting go possible. If you love somebody, set them free, Sting sings. And he is right. It’s the only way to live.

This day is a day of contemplation and reflection for me (plus I have to write a newsletter that’s wayyyyy overdue). And this morning these were my reflections.

Blessings, Torben

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04
Nov
10

jesus meets me there

I’m glad he does.

Torben

30
Nov
09

The healing power of forgiveness

There is nothing quite like it. Nothing that has the same power to set you free. Often there is nothing quite so difficult. Often you have to practice it over and over again. Often it doesn’t produce change in anybody else but yourself. And yet, it’s always well worth the agony of doing it. We’re talking about forgiveness!

It’s essential to forgive to live in freedom. There is no way around it. I know many people who don’t live in forgiveness with other people and who are suffering because of that. I have been in situations where I didn’t forgive people. I was also suffering. A wise person once said these clever words:

Unforgiveness is the poison I drink while waiting for someone else to die!

These are powerful and true words. It’s always sad when you see people who choose not to forgive. So often it’s small things that hinder deeper and more fulfilling relationships. Words were said, value statements were put on people, and people choose to hold a grudge, stay in a place of self-righteousness, and the cancer of bitterness grows inside of you. It’s always like this. Whether you agree with this or not. Whether you are a Christian or not. Unforgiveness is a cancer that kills. It slowly takes life out of you. Whatever person you choose not to forgive, you’re tied to. You give the other person power. Power to control your life. You think about the other person, and you know that you lack peace and joy inside of you. It’s the power of sin. As Christians, as children of God we are forgivers per nature. We have been given a new nature, the very nature of Christ. And since he forgave us of everything, we are free to forgive other people for whatever they may do to us.

It’s the way of freedom. It always brings life. It always builds up relationship. It’s the road of brokenness. It’s the road less traveled. It’s always easy to find people, inside or outside the church, who will agree with you that it’s not reasonable for you to forgive, and that you’re right in holding a grudge. But the truth is that forgiveness has nothing to do with ‘fairness’. It’s a choice of life or death. If you forgive, you experience life in your relationships to God, yourself and other people. If you choose not to forgive, you experience bitterness and a lack of life.

Is forgiving easy? No, it rarely is. True forgiveness is painful. Often very painful. But it’s also freeing. I let go of the right I feel to judge and condemn other people, and I’m free to just be me, a human being who is aware of the fact that I often make mistakes myself and hurt other people and need their forgiveness.

Unless you’ve been broken by God and understand the power of living as a broken cup and relying on his strength and not your own, it’s nearly impossible to forgive. Why would you? You can always finds reasons why you shouldn’t take the first step towards forgiveness. Your flesh will tell you that your anger and lack of forgiveness is well justified. And other people will too. Misery attracts company, so it’s often fairly easy to find somebody to sit and whine with. It doesn’t bring any life at all. It just fans the flame of bitterness inside of you. Forgiveness is the highroad that’s painful, but life-giving to travel. It’s the road where Christ is and leads you. “Forgive them Father, they don’t know what they’re doing” were some of Jesus’ lasts words. He left us an example of how to live our lives. We are free to forgive, because we’re forgiven. Forgiveness, like anything else of great value in the Christian walk, is a response. We forgive, because God forgave, just like we love, because he first loved us, and we can draw near to him, because he first drew near to us.

I encourage you to forgive whatever wrong people may have done to you. It will bring life. Guaranteed.

Blessings, Torben

I love one of the first lines in this song: “You are strong when you feel weak, in your brokenness complete”

22
Feb
08

Listen to your life

This week’s quote is from the American minister and author Frederick Buechner who among many wise things has said this:

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and the pain of it no less than in the excitement and the gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy, hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace
Abundant life in Christ is not something for tomorrow, it’s something for today. No matter where I am, no matter what my circumstances are, no matter whether life is fun or hard, no matter what I have or don’t have: if I learn to listen to my life and see God in my everyday trivialities, transformation happens. I start seeing the world, God, others and myself for who we really are. Ordinary becomes special and the lost sense of wonder, joy and mystery is rediscovered.
Torben



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