Author: Ellen Benefield

Christmas Patience

Waiting is hard. We moved into a fixer-upper hoping that our finances would permit us to make the house into the space we hoped it would be. That was two years ago, and we’ve been finishing the basement since the day we moved in. I still have unpacked boxes waiting for a permanent place. Our lives have been full of construction dust, insulation, dry-wall, drywall mud, and paint. I want this project to be done so much that it hurts! I’m tired of the mess and inconvenience. Advent is a waiting period. We spend time and energy creating anticipation....

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Remember

I spent most of a decade living as a missionary in the tropics. Remember when I never felt cold? I expected to constantly bathe in sweat and dust. I never wore jeans or hooded sweatshirts. I never snuggled up under a blanket. Remember when I constantly worried about scorpions and drug lords? Remember when I never felt good enough or successful enough? Remember when my infant screamed and screamed and my days were a constant blur of noise mixed with frustrating, numbing inaction? Remember when people came to me with problems way above my pay grade? Remember when I...

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Here I Am Lord, Send Me

A few times a year, I have the opportunity preach the Sunday sermon at the small church my family attends. I spent a few weeks preparing my message—encouragement to pray the Psalms aloud. I practiced what I would say. I tweaked a few things here and there. As Sunday approached, I began to feel more and more insecure. My oldest son had an embarrassing anxiety attack in public. I struggled to help him calm down and still respect the quiet theater setting. Then my middle son made fun of a child with special needs at school event. The child’s...

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Called To Fail

Becoming a missionary sounds so noble. We must be truly self-sacrificing, God-loving people in order to let go of our lives and follow God’s call. Moving to a poor colonia in Mexico was really hard. We lived on a dirt street. We had dirt everywhere. Every surface, every crack, every crevice. Dirt, dirt, and more dirt. We fought scorpions, blistering heat, and the oppressive fear brought on by the horrific drug war. Wow, we sure knew how to sacrifice for Jesus. We were called. We obeyed. I expected this to be a nice, simple formula: calling + obedience =...

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It Depends on Your Perspective

A friend recently purchased a home and enjoyed hosting a party in her new space. As she showed me around the house, I admired the details that made her dwelling unique. I felt glad that my friend settled well in a beautiful setting… until I saw the empty room. One room sat completely unoccupied of any furniture, boxes, or debris—just a room with neatly vacuumed carpet. “Oh, we’ll find something to put in here at some point. This might become my craft room or sewing corner,” my friend explained. An ugly feeling began to grow in the pit of...

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