As a songwriter and author, I love telling stories. Not just stories of fabled creatures and star-crossed lovers, but also stories of real humans and our struggles, and how we get through them.
After all, that is one of our favourite things about stories – finding out how the protagonist finally overcomes their biggest fear, or their worst enemy, or achieving the dream that means most to them, and celebrating that with them.
Over the years, I’ve talked to and befriended many people from culturally interesting families. Maybe they’re a mix of races, or they’re growing up in a culture different to their parents’. There’s a name for these people–Third Culture Kids, or TCKs.
It can be a strange experience, lonely, even. Your parents’ (and sometimes birth) country doesn’t quite understand that you see the world a different way, but the country you know best isn’t quite the perfect fit, either.
A lot of the TCKs I’ve talked to are Christians, who moved or grew up overseas because of their parents’ missionwork. As a Christian, I want to not only tell their stories, but also encourage them. I’ve talked to some fellow kids-of-ministry-workers, and here’s what’s encouraged us. I hope it’s also uplifting to TCKs, PKs, MKs–and all other Ks–everywhere.
For TCKs specifically–If you’ve resonated with the stories I told in this post, please know that you’re not alone. What better way to know that than to meet lots of other TCKs? The Truth4TCKs 2021 conference is starting today, but it’s not too late to sign up!
The speakers are Breanne Eckman, C.B., Melinda Clark, William Moore, Megan C. Norton, Chris O’Shaughnessy, and Kate Forbes (MSP), all of whom come from TCK backgrounds too.
“Truth4TCKs 2021 is an online conference for teenage and young adult Christian TCKs, whether they be Missionary Kids, Military Kids, Expat Kids, Business Kids, Diplomat Kids, etc. The conference mission strives to bring biblical truth and encouragement regarding the cross-cultural and highly mobile life to TCKs – especially those that may not have easy access to uplifting care.
“Truth4TCKs is for followers of Jesus Christ that are also TCKs. The conference’s administrative team is made up of teenagers and young adults serving teenagers and young adults. It is not an organization; rather, an organic movement.
“Tackling those issues, the theme for this year’s conference is finding what it means to be a global citizen of Heaven.
“As Christian TCKs, they are given an unchanging identity in Christ and a home in Heaven. Once they are grounded in Jesus, they can live their lives as global citizens while using their TCK gifts to the glory of God and the good of others.”
You can find out more on what it means to be a global citizen of Heaven by attending Truth4TCKs 2021. It’s TODAY and tomorrow, and tickets cost USD10. (I know, what an amazing coincidence to write a post about TCKs on the same day as the conference starts! 👀)
Are you interested? It’s not too late to register 😉
Disclaimer: I haven’t read all of these books, so I can’t personally recommend them.
- Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortland — “I haven’t finished it yet but I already love it so so much for how it’s helped me to see Jesus in a new light, and love Him more.
- Heaven is a Place of Love by Jonathan Edwards — “I’ve been hugely encouraged recently by reading [this sermon].”
- Free to Be Me: Becoming the Young Woman God Created You to Be by Stasi Eldredge — “Obviously for girls, but it completely changed my perspective on how God views me and what God wants for me. It also helped me combat a lot of lies Satan tried to get me to believe about my identity as a woman, twisting Scripture and all.”
- Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke — “It’s written for an adult audience so it touches on sensitive topics, but it’s really good. He talks about some pitfalls of the church and how lots of ‘Christians’ have misrepresented Christ and hurt people. He addresses the church’s shortcomings with Scripture and really emphasises that Christianity is about pursuing God and being in a relationship with Him, rather than a dogmatism or a way of feeling good about yourself.”
- The album Back to Calvary by Enfield — “for how it reminds me of what Jesus has done on the cross.”
- 1 Peter 5:6-11 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded: be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
- Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor death, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- 1 John 3:20 “For whenever our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.”
- Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
General encouragement and other thoughts:
“Sometimes Mum and Dad see something I didn’t realise, like when I got a whole bunch of awkward Christmas presents last year, Mum pointed out that it was probably as a thank-you for teaching Sunday School during lockdown rather than an obligatory gift for the pastor’s kids.
“And finding a different church that’s not your own, where you can go and be fed without fussing over ministries. My family is still at [dad’s church], but we’ve been attending a church sometimes which has an evening service on Sundays. We told the leadership team there that we don’t want to be members, we’re just there for the teaching because we’re PKs. And they’ve been really good about it. I think it’s done wonders for Dad as well.”
“As for words of encouragement, I want to say that you matter to God. God sees everything. He sees behind your mask, your act, your plastered smile, your spotless (or not so spotless) reputation. He doesn’t hold you to a higher standard because you are a child of someone in ministry. He doesn’t expect you to have it all figured out or to set a perfect example. He sees even the darkest, filthiest parts of you, and he still desires you. He still wants you to be his child. He still calls you beloved. God cares about you!!! He loves you unconditionally. He still invites you into the same abundant grace as everyone else.
“As Stasi Eldredge says, ‘He hasn’t been moving heaven and earth through all eternity so that you would behave yourself. Fit into the crowd. Mind your manners. No. He wants to woo and win your heart for himself so that you will love him with it and live your life from it.’”
Are you a TCK? What’s something that encourages you?
PS: A PK is a Pastor’s Kid, and an MK is a Missionary’s Kid 😛