The Normal Now

Written by Tammy

In July, our family attended ten days of orientation and training with Christian Medical & Dental Association (CMDA) and World Medical Mission (WMM). Our training was extremely comprehensive, covering many dimensions of serving overseas. Two out of our ten days were spent in security training, where we navigated our way through numerous hypothetical situations, such as car-jackings, traffic stops, and interrogations. A new term that was introduced to us during this security training was “the normal now.” The normal now refers to what is considered normal for your present time and location. The idea is that we will discover our new normal now when we reach PNG, (which will be slightly different from what is normal here in the States 🙂 ) and therefore, be more alert when things are not “normal.” We learned this term in the context of our own safety and security, but I think it can be applied in a much broader sense. Here are some of our normal nows and normal soons:


Normal Now                                     Normal Soon

 

Normal Now                                  Normal Soon

 

Normal Now                                     Normal Soon

 

Normal Now                                    Normal Soon

 

Normal Now                                      Normal Soon

 

Normal Now                                      Normal Soon

 

Normal Now                                     Normal Soon
(For the medical people)

 

                   Normal 1 Week Ago                                         Normal Now


A large portion of our training was becoming aware of the many difficulties we will inevitably face and how those will become a part of our new normal: a higher rate of death, feeling limited in our ability to make a difference, issues with fellow missionaries, deciphering cross-cultural relationships, etc. At times during our training, both Matt and I felt discouraged by the enormous weight of what lies ahead and the feeling that we are doomed to failure. However, each session ended with a reminder of why we are doing this: to tell others about Christ’s love and where to find our hope: in our all-knowing, all-powerful God.

In Acts 20, Paul states:

22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

While Matt and I probably won’t face prison, terrorism, or direct persecution, we have been consistently reminded that this journey is not about our comfort and safety, but about sharing Christ’s love. This life in missions is our “normal now”: packing, traveling, unpacking, raising support, training, resisting the enemy’s attacks, packing again, traveling again, unpacking again, dealing with the challenges of serving in an under-resourced area, and ultimately living and loving in a place that is so different from home.


We recognize that your normal now may be drastically different from our normal now…and in fact, ALL of our normal nows change over time. (For those of you with kids, think about how your normal now changed when that first baby was born. Suddenly, simply getting out the front door required a lot more thought and energy.) Despite the differences between our ever-evolving normal nows, there is one thing that should be the same for any follower of Christ, and has remained a constant for us: a deep desire to follow God and the reliance that we can trust Him anywhere that He may lead. Consider your own “normal now.” Who or what does your normal now revolve around? Do you need to make some changes to what is normal for your life? It is our prayer that you will also find the hope and light that comes from having the One constant through anything your normal now may bring: the love of God.

12When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

IMG_0435
A depiction of our soon to be normal now in PNG that our friend, Josh Burley, sketched. That would be MJ hanging off of a tree kangaroo’s tail and Elana chatting with a bird of paradise. 🙂

7 thoughts on “The Normal Now

  1. Love this blog. Very helpful to know how to pray for you adjusting to your new normal. Thank you all for your courage to answer Gods call. Being the Mother to Mathew I’m
    Thrilled ( yet sad) to answer our Mathews prayers ever since he was small. “I want to go where others won’t go and help people” love you all.

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  2. Tammy, Matt, Elana, and M.J., I pray that God will continue to supply you with much grace, joy, help, and care, and will continue also to bless many through you. Thank you!

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  3. Prayers at 6:00 am every morning. God will what our clocks read, and support you as needed at our times. Since this disease keeps me up most nights, I have asked God to bring you to my mind as you need our prayers. God Bless you with safety and peace as you travel. My special prayers will be for the kids in these next hours .

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