Putting Feelings into Words

When You Just Want to Be Normal

When nine-year-old Taylor Murray arrived in Japan, she felt like she was on an adventure—an adventure that God had called her family to take. The unique food, the strange language and the foreign culture were exciting and new.

But the novelty of life overseas wore off, and Taylor became overwhelmed with frustration, loneliness and the sorrow of leaving everything she knew—the States, her home, her extended family—for everything she didn’t know. She kept these emotions hidden in her heart until they reached a boiling point. By the time she was 14, the grief came out disguised as anger.

“How I longed to be Japanese!” says Taylor. “How I wished I was normal.”

With her parents’ encouragement, Taylor began writing letters to God about her conflicting feelings. Unloading her experience and emotions on God, she was surprised to discover how willing He was to listen and to bring her to a place of healing, and—ultimately—joy.

Do you love a missionary or a missionary kid? Here are a few questions you can ask that may help them put their feelings into words.

  1. What was it like for you when your family first moved to the place you live?
  2. Do you remember anything that took you by surprise?
  3. What are some of the things you like or love about the place you live?
  4. What are some things about living there that make you feel lonely or confused?
  5. Can you tell me about your house? School? Neighborhood? Friends?
  6. Is there anything about your life you think other people don’t understand? What is it?

More from Taylor

You might appreciate the book Taylor wrote. Hidden in My Heart is a collection of Taylor’s letters to God plus discussion questions to help missionary kids reflect on and recount their own experiences. It’s a good resource to put into the hands of missionary families and those who care for them.

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