all this because

All This Because

It must have been a verse that was used in our overseas training or in a long ago chapel service as we prepared to begin our overseas career.

I don’t remember the speaker or the moment I first heard this version of it.

I’m not sure who I was sitting with or what I wore or the time of day.

But I’d posted this verse as my facebook status many years ago. I can imagine my pre-missions self hearing it, typing it and hitting post while the message continued around me.

As I recently drank my coffee in the early morning hours, scrolling through facebook memories, seeing an old, forgotten status update, the verse I’d posted stood out to me in a deep, full, gut-wrenching way.

“I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” 1 Corinthians 9:23 The Message

Whenever it was that I first heard this verse, I know what I heard in the phrase all this because.

I heard language struggles and bugs in the house and hot days in the sand and packing our belongings to go and saying goodbye to family. I heard culture shock, raising support, learning new skills and all the other first time missionary things.

all this because

With a coffee in my hand, sitting in the humidity of a new rainy season, I found myself rereading this verse through a totally different lens.

The things that I heard 8 years ago are real. All this because includes the culture shock, language struggles and a ton of sand and bugs.

They are real and a part of our every day lives.

But now as I read this verse, I see a much deeper reality of what we would face, are facing and will face in the years to come.

It’s been 8 years since those weeks of training and preparation for overseas work. 10 years since we started the process to jump in on this thing called overseas work. 30 years since Jeremy first felt a call to go.

From the moment we flew away for the first time, the moment we first landed in West Africa, and the moment we currently find ourselves… in the middle of another great transition to South Africa… the #behindtheprayercard things, the #allthisbecause things have piled high.

This term alone has drastically changed our lives, here and at home… from the death of close family members to my MS progressing to the many other health problems our family has faced to graduating our oldest to other situations that I can’t begin to mention here.

Very few of them are because we live overseas or from culture shock or living in West Africa. All of them are added to those things.

These are situations that they don’t talk to you about in training, or if they do, you can’t fully grasp their meaning until you experience it first hand. So much of what happens in the course of an overseas worker’s day is unexpected, unplanned and unknown.

There are situations of betrayal, secrecy, misinformation, misunderstanding, slander and disappointment.

All this because includes frustration, hurt, pain, tears and more stress than you ever dreamed possible in one single season. That, piled on top of the known struggles, can be such a heavy weight to carry.

When nearly everyone you work and interact with is experiencing the same {but different} all this because crazy, it raises the intensity even more.

Of course, there are joys and fun and travel and amazing sights and refreshing views. We love our work and we know it’s a gift to walk this road. I don’t want to minimize those things.

But sometimes, those are the only things, the good things, that we’re able to share.

We can’t always share the really hard, heart-breaking things.

We came back for this term determined to fight for health

Again, we had no idea what all this because would mean in our fight for healthy relationships, work, and circumstances. Never would we have imagined some of the battles we’ve been through just in the past 3 years.

For some overseas workers, all this because means even more than we’ve faced. Violence, crime, accidents, persecution, political unrest, evacuations, lock downs and more.

I’ve sat talking to friends over the past few weeks, literally in awe of the circumstances and situations so many of us find ourselves in right now.

I’m sure that if I could sit with you, you’d have your own all this because story.

I’ve said from the beginning that the moment we walk out of our gate in the morning, we know anything can happen.

I’m learning that even within the gate, these things can and will happen.

Right within our close circles, change and challenge comes.

All this because effects every part of life as we fight to share light and love across the globe.

Wanting to be in on the spread of the gospel puts you right in the middle of the battle. It presses you in where the fighting is the most vicious and the casualties are the highest.

Very little is off limits to the enemy. Wherever you join the cause of Christ, you are at war.

My eyes are wide open to what all this because means.

all this because

Pulling from my story and yours, all this because means seeing your children struggle, live and grow as third culture kids. It’s missing a funeral or sitting through an awful meeting or wondering what an email means or waiting for answers or knowing family is sick at home when you aren’t there to help or broken trust within your relationships or false accusations or complete misunderstandings. It can be confusion, unmet expectations or hurt feelings.

Let’s not even begin to talk about the pandemic, its effects and added challenges for cross-cultural workers. Staying and remaining in the last year is something you have labored over, I know. Going is something you cried and lost sleep over. All this because means no easy answers or quick resolutions.

Yet, through everything… all this because is bringing daily, deep, personal, beautiful growth.

It means fighting for truth, righteousness, faithfulness, and love, hanging on to hope that it won’t always be this way.

All this because means remembering that in every dire moment we experience, Jesus carries the weight for us. He wins the battle. He fights for us. He comforts, helps, supports, uplifts and encourages us to take one more giant leap of faith forward, one day at a time.

Because now that we know what all this because can mean, we truly can’t take another step without him.

We live with the gut-wrenching knowledge that without his divine help, we won’t make it through another all this because situation.

We can’t power through #behindtheprayercard without the God who deeply loves us making a way in the darkness.

We believe in the God who overcomes for us, fully covers our needs, intercedes on our behalf, brings us beside still waters and lays a table of good things in the presence of our enemies. We see it proved again and again.

We must grasp the full truth of the gospel we preach or we will cower in fear of what’s to come.

5 Handholds When Life is Hard – Global Trellis

No matter what happens, he is with us, before and behind us.

It’s in living out this faith process that we truly are “in on it.”

Here or at home, this side of the globe or that one… living out all this because.

“I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” 1 Corinthians 9:23 The Message

We aren’t just playing in this life. We aren’t just talking about it.

We’re living it out, moment by moment, morning by morning.

In it all, we experience new mercies, divine grace, undeserved favor and unfailing hope.

We bravely fight for every healthy, good, and fresh conversation, lesson, appointment, and opportunity to express what God has and is doing in our lives.

We courageously push forward in the race that God has set our feet to run.

We have open, determined eyes to the battle and to the Holy Spirit at work, knowing every good thing comes from him.

It’s a whole new way of living, trusting, going and doing… living all this because.

Thankfully, with God it’s possible and there’s always hope for good things to come.

How do you read that verse and see it through new lenses?

How has the meaning of this verse changed over the years?

What is your all this because circumstance right now?

What is God teaching you in the fight?


  1. I have picked up all the “missionary cards” with names and faces that are displayed at our church: Bethel Christian Assembly of God in Dayton OH. I have been praying over each one for a couple years. I just now connected on your website. Jenilee, reading this blog, my heart is heavy for your burdens. Not knowing your burdens/circumstances previously, I had been praying for blessings, miracles, open doors, answers to prayers, and good health for your beautiful family. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our our God stands forever.” Your family has been faithful and you are “ in on it.”

  2. You have once again touched my heart. Praying for you and your family as you make this move.

    “Spring up o well within my soul.”

    Debbie Haas
    (Stacey Plaisance’s mom)

  3. I think this is my favorite post of all you’ve written. I need to put that version of that verse where I’ll see it every day. Thank you!

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