Guest Post: Citizens of Heaven

Guest Posts, TCK's Articles

Dear Friend,

This week, we have TCK guest writer, Breanne Eckman! She contributed this encouraging piece for the TCK Email Ministry.



When someone asks you where you are from, what do you say?

My answer looks something like this: Well, ethnically I’m from X country, and both my parents are from there. But actually, my dad grew up in Y country, and I grew up in Z country. 

I have a passport from a certain country, therefore I am its citizen, but I’m not very patriotic. I don’t share many similar views with the people of that country. Thus, I don’t feel like I belong there. Instead, I live in a different country. I adore it immensely, love the people, and yet I’m not its citizen. I don’t belong there either. So,


Where do I belong?

That’s the question every human tries to answer. Many do find their answer. However, TCKs tend to not really know. This can be frustrating to them. But for us Christian TCKs, it’s different. 


Why?

Because the Bible tells us that our identity is in Christ, and our citizenship is in Heaven.


Our Identity: If We Don’t Belong, Who Are We?

As TCKs, we’re different. Some people love that, and others hate it. We can tend to find our identity in our TCK-ness. We try to tell people that they don’t get us because we’re different. We wrap up who we are in the fact that we’re different. As a result, we can be defensive. We can have self-pity because we don’t belong, or we can get rebellious when people talk about our passport country as home, since to us, it isn’t. 

Where is our identity first found? Are we first TCKs, or first Christians? 

The answer is pretty simple, but it’s important. First and foremost, we belong to Jesus. 

How does that change our relationships? 

If we belong to Jesus, we love others who belong to Him as well. That includes the person who hasn’t left their town their entire life. That includes the person who seems to know nothing about the “outside world”. That includes the billionth person who asks you how life is like where you live.

We love them completely. Christ gave His life up for billions of people who can never understand Him. He is God, and we’re not. If Jesus could love like that, we need to love others who honestly, can understand us more than how we could understand Jesus. 


Citizens of Heaven


“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” 

Philippians 3:20-21 KJV



The old English meaning of conversation is the place where one lives (Online Etymology Dictionary, 2020). In Greek, conversation is politeuma, meaning community or citizenship (Bible Study Tools, 2020). In the context of this verse, the idea is that there are two spheres: the earthly world, and the heavenly world. Returning to the verse which reads, “For our conversation is in heaven”, we conclude that we don’t belong here. Our community, our citizenship, our home is in Heaven.

Most Christians aren’t TCKs. Whether they are Canadian or Kenyan or Turkish or Singaporean, they’ve grown up in the same place their whole lives. They have roots. They have a culture, an ethnic or patriotic community. They have a sense of belonging. 

But the thing is, all Christians are citizens of Heaven. None of us truly belong here. We have a better Home. 


“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”

Hebrews 11:13-16 KJV



This passage comes after the “Hall of Faith”, as many people call it in Hebrews chapter 11. It lists the numerous heroes of the faith from the Old Testament. The passage is talking about them. They sought a better country. A heavenly country. A country where every nation will come together and will be one people. God’s people. 


What Our TCK Lives Teach Us

I think TCKs have an advantage. We don’t belong, anywhere really, on this earth. I’ve heard many TCKs call themselves “global citizens”. However, Christian TCKs don’t belong anywhere on this earth. Being a Christian TCK is a blessing. Because we’re not attached to any country 100%, we long for a better one. Thus, we can comprehend better that our citizenship is in heaven as compared to someone who has never left their town their whole life long. 

And just think about it! A country where all ethnic groups, all cultures, all languages will live together, as neighbours, praising God! Is that a comfort to a TCK soul or what?

~

Image by Breanne Eckman

Breanne Eckman is a 16-year-old writer, artist, sister, TCK, and Jesus-follower.  She wrote Painful Goodbyes Are Good. In the future, she will have a section in her blog dedicated to TCKs. You can also find her on Instagram @breannewrites.


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References:

Conversation. 2020. In Online Etymology Dictionary.com. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.etymonline.com/word/conversation

Politeuma. 2020. In Bible Study Tools.com. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from
https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/politeuma.html

I Wanted to Give Up

Journal, TCK's Articles, Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

Ever since I started writing seriously two years ago, I’ve entered a battle. Well, a Christian’s battle begins the day they’re saved. Specifically, this relates to writing. One side is the work God wants me to do. The other side is the devil urging me to quit. Both sides have intensified as I continue writing. God wants me to take challenges beyond my craft level, and the latter became louder and stronger. On top of the battle, I’ve been recently struggling to accept that I can’t escape grief in life.

I thought of giving up. I could close my email ministry, delete this blog, delete all my drafts, and stop writing. I didn’t want to move anymore and just stay in one place. But these doesn’t solve anything. Yet, I want to continue for Him. Writing wasn’t my decision initially. My choice was to obey Him.

I was at the verge of breaking when He used a friend, a sermon, and His Word:


“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 91:1 KJV



It was also the whole chapter of Psalm 91. While the battle is on, I trudge on a narrow path up the mountain. But I’m at peace in the midst. I’m at peace because He’s my Refuge, my Fortress, my Habitation, my Deliverer, my Protector, my Shield, my Buckler, my God and my Saviour. I’m at peace I’m under His shadow and His wings. When He’s silent, I won’t fear because


“…he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Hebrews 13:5 KJV



Now, I’m living with the Lapidary’s hand cutting and shaping me, the fire refining me, and the hammer beating me. This will last for the rest of my life. And as long as a Christian is doing God’s work, the opposition opposes.

The adversary is a roaring lion that wants us to quit because he hates it when God is glorified through a serving vessel (1 Peter 5:8). It’s a battle we go through each day, fighting against the devil’s shoutings. The devil even uses other people to discourage us.

Therefore, make sure you’re wearing the whole armour (Ephesians 6:11-18); continue to trust Him, and He’ll give you strength and peace (Psalm 29:11). Remember, Christ has already won the battle.


“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 KJV



Thus, if He wants me to go through this, I shall continue until I reach Home. The opposition can’t hurt me because my soul’s secured by my Author.


“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2 KJV



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train


~

Clarissa is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she’d lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds, and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry. Or read more posts.


I Lived My Whole Life Through Grief

TCK's Articles

Dear Friend,

Grief is not a stranger to me. It followed me since I was a child. It contacted me hundreds of times. I’m exhausted. Sick of crashing into It. Whenever I move, It hits me.

But staying put in one country doesn’t avoid it for it’ll occur again. Either when someone close to me leaves Earth, or when another trigger happens. Flooding me with past memories of countries I used to live in.

I’ll be moving again this year. Which means Grief will again fill me with pain and sorrow. It probably started already. But there’s Someone else with me,

Christ.


I accepted that I’ll continue to live through grief. I accepted that He allows it for a purpose (Romans 8:28). That grief will fill me with sorrow only for me to empty myself to Him.

So that He’ll fill my life with Comfort, Love, Hope. . .

and Joy.


“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows …”

Isaiah 53:4 KJV



~


“… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Psalm 30:5 KJV



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train


~

Clarissa is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she’d lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds, and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry. Or read more posts.

My Home Is Not Here

TCK's Articles

Dear Friend,

Today, I encountered a well-written article describing TCKs such as me in a nutshell (Mayberry, 2016). I hope it would give you a better understanding of people who grew up in multiple countries. While reading it, I stumbled upon a quote from a fellow TCK:

“Everyone knew everyone and no one knew me.”

(Tapp, 2016)


That was exactly how I felt when I moved to Singapore, my birth country, in 2010. Being born there, I felt the expectations of society and myself that I need to fit in because I was born a local, but I couldn’t. I could try to fake it, but that meant lying to people and to God. So I presented myself sincerely.

However, my different accents and behaviors possibly made some locals think I’m faking it or that I’m too proud of my background that I refuse to change myself. My lack of patriotism to Singapore (I’m not patriotic to any country) made me feel guilty, and that I shouldn’t even have a local identification card.

It took me two years to adapt to the place that was supposed to be my “home” partly because I was caught in between these: being foreign and being a local that I should be. I struggled with my identity.

My long adaptation also resulted from this preconception: I already have an established social community there. I didn’t. I moved out of Singapore when I was five. I didn’t attend their local schools nor did I grew up in the same socio-cultural environment as them. In other words, I didn’t share the same childhood.

Thus, I barely had connections outside my relatives. I eventually decided to treat Singapore as I would to other countries I’d lived in. By simply adapting without changing myself. Then I made new friends (again) by being the friend Christ wanted me to be.

My irregular puzzle shape doesn’t fit in not only Singapore, but also any other country. I may not be completely a Singaporean, a Korean, a Chinese, a Czech, or an American (I say this due to my education). My accent and behavior may consist of five cultural parts, but I’m not any of them. I’m a person just like you in God’s eyes.

My rootlessness ultimately drove me to depend on Christ instead on my “homes” and the “national identities” I picked up. That being said, I formed the two statements:


I may be rootless, yet my root is in Christ. I may not call any country my home, yet His Home is my Home.



His Home is the best Home because I will be with Him for eternity (Hebrews 11:16). After all, everything on earth is temporal, including countries and national identities.


Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. Friend, regardless of your being a TCK or not, where is your home? And what is your identity?



Reference:
Mayberry, K. “Third Culture Kids: Citizens of everywhere and nowhere.” November 19, 2016. In BBC Worklife. Retrieved July 16, 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20161117-third-culture-kids-citizens-of-everywhere-and-nowhere?fbclid=IwAR39E10Ph1MwyO3EBtwZA7aFInQNvFtMYWBgGKBKRQXeYZsYmq3YwelE96I

Tapp, G. 2016. Quoted in Mayberry, K. “Third Culture Kids: Citizens of everywhere and nowhere.” November 19, 2016. In BBC Worklife. Retrieved July 16, 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20161117-third-culture-kids-citizens-of-everywhere-and-nowhere?fbclid=IwAR39E10Ph1MwyO3EBtwZA7aFInQNvFtMYWBgGKBKRQXeYZsYmq3YwelE96I

~

Clarissa is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she’d lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds, and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry. Or read more posts.