Keeping It Real: Savoring the Familiar

In 2020, predictability packed its bags and took a one-way ticket to one epic emergency after another. We barely catch our breath from one scandalizing reality before the tremors of the next tsunami commence!



February 24, 2022 . . . rumors of war in Ukraine accelerated into live images before our very eyes. Russia invaded ruthlessly as we witnessed the horrors.

Bombs pummeling nearby cities forced Ukrainians from their homes to seek shelter. They not only forsook familiar places and routines but also their life’s belongings. Many fled with a suitcase in one hand while gripping a terrorized child in the other. As they stumbled through rubble, these frightened families realized their beloved communities, too, would soon smolder.

Immediately, my husband received the call to get to Moldova. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews needed him at Ukraine’s border. Millions of desperate folks flooded Ukraine’s neighboring countries, seeking refuge from the terror.

Leaders on the ground attempted to describe the traumatizing scenes before my husband arrived. My guy has traveled the remotest parts of the world and witnessed seemingly every shade of devastation. He appreciated their warnings but with little capacity for shock.

As his feet stepped on that soil and into their stories, he realized that nothing had prepared him for this! These weren’t impoverished people like he and my son helped in Haiti. These Ukrainian refugees lived just like you and me.

Just days prior, these dignified folks sat in upscale restaurants and sipped wine with their friends. The week before, these professionals met in ornate offices, and children gathered in colorful classrooms counting the days until summer. Families meticulously planned their weekends, from t-ball games to family gatherings with that pesky yard work to boot.

But it all abruptly halted. Survival became the only itinerary! My husband assisted with the endless task of feeding and housing these desperate folks who lost everything except their lives. He said, upon returning, that we will be unpacking the significance of that experience for a long time.

In a matter of days from that moment, our son, Paul, boarded a flight to Romania. Like his father, he longed to become a part of the solution.

Paul had lived in Romania as a full-time missionary in 2021. He understood the lay of the land but more importantly, Paul recognized the catastrophic need descending upon the ministry he had previously assisted. They needed missionary boots on the ground ASAP, so he hopped a plane to help those who couldn’t help themselves.



My son still makes almost daily trips to Ukraine’s border. He and his amazing team house desperate women and children, and help them create a new life in a new place with no husbands or fathers. Their men remain in Ukraine to fight.

Once-boring daily routines have become the one thing these refugees yearn to savor just one more time.

These stories that my family engage in on a daily basis in this season . . . they pause me. I relish the monotony of life a little more now. Oh, I haven’t stopped pushing myself out of my comfort zone. (The familiar lulls us into lethargy.) But I’m dusting off my gratitude for the blessings I enjoy continuously yet rarely pause to consider.

I make myself imagine having the life I enjoy and the people I love ripped from me. I force myself to consider my days without my soothing familiar.

Friends, let us live like it’s all a gift. “What do you have that God has not given you?” (1 Corinthians 4:7) Oh, I would love to change some things in my life, but I cannot let that overwhelm my awareness of what I already hold in my hand.

I’m blessed. We’re blessed. I’m determined to live like I know it! Don’t mind me, I’m just basking in the familiar a little more these days. It’s all a gift!


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