Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Purple Cow

After all I said about our oddities, when will I ever just grow up and recognize that it's okay to be different? Maybe this is another people-pleasing/ pride issue that I battle daily, but as I get older I still struggle with comparisons.

I'll never forget the time I sent out one of my earlier email ministry updates full of fluff and family nonsense. When I clicked "send and receive" (remember when those things didn't used to be automatic?), in came a prayer letter from a very articulate, erudite, "real" missionary (as opposed to a stay-at-home mom). The contrast was downright embarrassing. He was exegeting /exegesising (?) Scripture, and challenging his readers. Okay, I didn't understand half of what he said, but he said it so well! It's a wonder I didn't give up writing forever.

Just to torture myself, I went back and reread my opening paragraph in the letter this same man would be receiving from me. I had begun with a silly observation about a small herd of cows the local priest had blessed and painted purple. It made me remember the old children's poem, which I quoted in my ridiculous never-should-have-sent email:

I never saw a purple cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see than be one.

Yep, folks, I actually started my update by admitting my remorse over never being able to honestly quote that poem again.

The comparison made me want to crawl under my bed and cry. From that day on, I'm not sure my prayer letters were ever quite as light-hearted. This blog is therapeutic for me, because I can be myself and not feel the need to defend my existence on the mission field, even if my ministry isn’t as “out there” as some.

Honestly, though, isn’t it a pain to write a ministry update on those months when it’s just the same ol’, same ol’ stuff? What more can we tell the folks back home about our life that has become mundane?

IRL*I have seen the purple cow...


  1. Hello! I am glad to have found your blog. I enjoy reading posts from "real" women. I have never really cared for fiction of any sort much less in the life of a missionary.

    I look forward to getting to know you!

  2. Good morning, Holly (or evening as the case may be in your location). It's nice to meet you, too. Hope you don't mind, but I looked up your blog and enjoyed some nice reading over there, too. Thanks for the link to the Tozer devotional. I may switch over to that this year from Oswald Chambers.

  3. This is a great post Jamie. I am one of those at least on my blog that which looks all family and no ministry. I need to change this...or maybe do a blog for ministry and then one for the family in the states who want to see the pictures...

  4. Thanks Jamie Jo for stopping by my blog. :~)

    Rachel, We have only been "on the field" missionaries for 4 1/2 months. I wanted to share ministry work on my blog, too, but have found that to be very difficult. I don't really feel comfortable sharing about the things that are being done for ministry work at this point. We came here to begin a work and are in the process of building relationships with people. I don't feel that that is something that should be blogged. We want them to trust us and even though I could take their pictures without problem, I don't because I wouldn't want them to somehow find out that I had written about them on the internet. How do you ladies feel about that?

  5. I posted a response to this, and then got side-tracked and lost it. I just wanted to say that blogs and prayer letters are two unique things. Some people incorporate both family/ personal and ministry news on their blogs. It's interesting to see different women's styles and personality come out in their blogs.

    For fun, go to the blog roll on Coffee Girl and check out some of the missionary blogs, or hover over the "followers" of this Jamie Jo blog, and click on the photos. You can then see if they have their own blog.

    I've been snooping around, trying to get to know our readers :), and have met some lovely ladies all over the globe. It's given me some ideas of how to combine my personal blog and ministry news. Thanks for the inspiration. I'm not comparing myself in a negative way - just taking notes!

  6. Yes, ma'am, I agree that blogs and prayer letters are two unique things. I have read many blogs where the ministry was incorporated along with their personal stories and I think it is neat. I guess at this point it just isn't for me. I have loved meeting new friends through blogs!

    I am still very new to all of this and trying hard to learn. Thank you for taking the time to share your life!

  7. Jamie - love your blog! I like it's look, and I enjoy your writing style and voice.
    As for this post, I think I would have rather read your letter than the other guy's letter! ;-)
    Most pastors I know don't like theological stuffy and long newsletters. In fact, most like short anecdotes. Years ago, a friend also told me to 'be a bit more real' in our updates. She knew that what I was saying was the truth, but I had only been focusing on the positive. When I started sharing hurts, struggles, frustrations...the responses to those increased, as did the prayer covering.

    Looking forward to reading more great posts on here.


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