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Posted by on January 4, 2009

Today, for the first time in 2009, I’m taking a quiet moment to think about where I am and where I’m going.

2008 was a big year for the Johansson Family.  We celebrated a new member of our family, began the third year of Sam’s life, and the seventh year of our marriage.  I have to say, the view is pretty great from here.

When I think about my blessings, I can’t help but focus on our location.  In many ways, right now, it defines who we are.  Third culture kids. Last week, my 8th month old saw elephants and lions in the wild.  All before he said his first words or took his first steps.  It’s pretty crazy to think about the turns our lives (mine, Dave’s, Sam’s, and Nathaniel’s) have taken with our change of address.


Dave and I used to be home owners and car owners.  We used to be people who collected paychecks and parking tickets.  It feels a bit strange, and sometimes a little irresponsible to be a 29 year old mother of 2 who doesn’t own a house or a car.  It goes against success as judged and defined by my home culture.

Today I watched as my husband led a church service of (I’m guessing) 35 kids, 10 teenagers, and 5 adults.  He started with questions about who Jesus is, why He came to earth, and ended with how that it important for each of us.  Then he led 3 Fulani teenagers in a prayer asking Christ to be the center of their lives.


This is really, truly, worth so much more to me than anything money can buy.

But honestly, there is a place in my heart that has to be reminded of that sometimes.  This life demands that I prove what I believe every day.  Bringing glory to His name is more important than bringing glory to my own.  I love that.  I love that I’m challenged by it.

Which brings me to my resolution.  In 2009, I want to think less about what I have and more about what I can give: to my family, to my neighborhood, and to my God.  I want to spend less time comparing myself to others and more time tuning my heart to my Savior’s.  I want to be a better manager of my time.  This next year is sure to be full of challenge, adventure, and (hopefully) growth.

I’m excited.

Today I watched as a father said goodbye to his daughter.  They had a sweet visit in the far away land where she lives with her husband who pastors a Fulani village.  He prayed over them with tears of thankfulness, pride, and sadness for the moments missed because of the long road that separates his home from hers.  And I was reminded of this same feeling in my own heart.  The pulling that you feel when the rubber meets the road and your words of commitment to the call have to become action.

I was reminded of God’s promise in Psalm 126.  “When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed.  Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tounges with songs of joy.  Then it was said among the nations, ‘ The lord has done great things for them.’  The Lords HAS done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.  Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev.  Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.  He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy carrying sheaves with him.”

The blessing, the fortune of souls, the songs of joy, make the going out worth it.  This year, may we sow with all we have.  May we give it our whole hearts.  May we be reminded that the tears of today will become the joy filled songs of tomorrow.  And may we never think that just because we have gone out from our home, the work is finished.  May we press on to the harvest.


7 Responses to resolve

  1. Beth Smith

    Truly beautiful words! 🙂

  2. Kim Clark

    Awesome words and reflection. It’s made me stop and think abit as well. Have an awesome 2009. Blessings, protection, health and peace for you all.

  3. Brookley gail =)

    Hope… you are amazing and I am so happy that I have you to look up to!

  4. Mike Thaler

    You guys are the best!! You are saying such BIG yes’s to letting a BIG God do His kingdom thing through you!!

    I love ALL 4 of you so much!!

  5. Jocelyn

    What an incredable life you live and this post really touched my heart. I have been thinking lately about so many things you wrote- about my priorities, the futility of this country most of the time, being a single mommy and having to work to support my babies, and yet that work takes so much time away from them- time I would love to have back… all to pay the rent and the bills and on and on. It’s a vicious circle. What incredable faith you and your family had to leave it all behind to serve God’s people, to love God’s people. What an amazing journey for you guys- thank you for sharing.

  6. Mark Davis

    May I post your note on facebook for my local church to read? Christian LIfe AG Lubbock, TX. We came to Niger in July of 05, and built in Tilabery.

  7. Elise

    I forgot how incredible this entry was! I especially loved when you reflected that your life there demands you prove what you believe every day. Beautiful thoughts. Love you Hope!

    And I just watched your year-in-review. Great! I loved all the photos of you surrounded by the beautiful black children 🙂

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