We call ourselves frogs, my husband and I. It all started with the international symbol for TCKs (Third Culture Kids). That symbol is a blue circle that overlaps a yellow circle with green between. Kermit the Frog used to sing, “It’s not that easy being green. . . ” That led us to think of frogs. They are green and can live on land or in the water.
Personally, I don’t think it is only TCKs who feel they are a blend of cultures, not really one or another.
We tell people we are from our passport country. But just get us back there for a week and we see just how much we are like our host country. Some of the customs, thought patterns, and life-style of both places have gotten all mixed up in us.
Our unique blend of cultures, our ages, and our experiences make us very different. Even as we think of ways we are alike, there are so many variations and differences. What is there about our differences that unite us?
No one seems to understands us
Friends, family, and supporters don’t know what we are doing. They know we serve cross culturally. They can name the country we are in. They may even know what organization sent us out. But our life in our host country is a mystery to them. We do what we can through newsletters, video presentations, home visits, and Skype calls to acquaint them. But deep down we know they cannot understand and share our joys and sorrows.
It is hard but the rewards are eternal
“Isn’t it hard to leave your parents and children and home? I couldn’t do that!” We’ve all heard this or we will. Of course it’s hard! Yet we live in Jesus’ promise that we will receive all those things and more in this age and eternal life. My two grandkids are in the States and it is hard to be away from them. But I have many times more children and grandchildren in Asia. We have more not less.
We strive to be the best wife we can be to our husband
We’re wives, just like our friends are. We love our husbands, encourage and help them. Many of us have more time with our husbands than we would if we lived the usual Western lifestyle. We live together, work together, and depend on each other. But since we are the only wife our husband has, we want to do our best. Over land or water, that doesn’t change.
Children still need to be raised
Living cross culturally means you get to expose your children to the wide, wide world. Our children are never the same as their peers after getting out of the box of their home culture. Our children are not poorer for this experience, but much richer. Is it easier or harder to raise kids overseas? That probably depends on us and our assignment. But whether easier or harder, our responsibility is the same as it is for parents back home, we must do the best job we can of parenting.
We are not women of great faith, but women with faith in a great God
We don’t get answers to our prayers because we are serving outside our home culture. We are learning how to plant that tiny mustard seed faith in God’s great grace and are amazed at the results. We are like women back home with extraordinary opportunities to see God’s intervention.
We have a purpose
Whether by a Macedonian-type call or by prophecy at an altar call or the directive of our leaders we are where we are. If we will fulfill our purpose where we are we must embrace the experience. When you love the people you will get your heart broken. When you shine your light in darkness you can feel so feeble. When a hard assignment is complete you’ll wish you could see its next chapter. But nothing can be more fulfilling than knowing you did your part.
Frogs of the world, unite! Don’t allow yourself to slip into isolation or pity-parties for where you are and what you must do. You are part of a great sisterhood. Stand up straight, put your shoulders back, and march in step with the Spirit.