Thursday, October 24, 2013

WAY harder to send

Two weeks ago was Missions weekend at our church.  Our speaker was Claude Hickman and he gave an impassioned talk about missions around the world.  The main point was that biblically speaking we either, GO, SEND or DISOBEY because Jesus commands all of us to go and make disciples.  I have gone.  I love going.  It is the heart of my heart.  Two weeks ago, I sent.  And it had me grasping for breath through tears all day.  In each moment, I was reminded of the sacrifice God must have felt when he fulfilled the ultimate mission in sending His son to die for us.  I sent my husband and our 13 year old daughter to Kenya.  I didn't feel fear.  I didn't feel jealousy.  I didn't feel concern.  I felt overwhelmingly proud of their Yes to God.  I felt an overwhelming sense of peace that my teenage daughter would choose to spend her break this way.  I felt a deep sense of love for the man that is my husband and the values he upholds.  I felt a sense of knowingness of what they were about to see, feel, smell, experience.  I knew they would come back to me different.  I knew they would be forever changed.  My faith has been tested in the past few weeks in ways I wouldn't have imagined.  Turns out you God will change you in the staying if you let Him.

I have spoken with them a few times.  It has been an amazing time and they are beyond appreciative of the opportunity.  They come home to me tomorrow.  I simply cannot wait to touch their face, listen to their hearts and see the light of Jesus in their eyes.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Leaving on a jet plane....

In a few days, my 13 year old daughter and my husband travel on a mission trip to Kenya, the place my heart loves as if it were birthed from the soil there.  It is a place I have traveled twice before and will again next year.  I try to go every other year but something about this year told me to wait. I did.   And a prayer I'd been praying for years came through.  My husband wanted to go.  And he wanted to take our Grace. Now in my prayer, I was going with them but close enough.  In all honesty my initial reaction was totally flawed human jealousy.  I know. That's how ugly my heart can be.  It was my dream.   I wanted to be there to see them experience such an important and impactfull God sized journey.  You'll be glad to know, that reaction only lasted a few hours.  What?  Too long.  Hmpph.  I have absolutely been thrilled for them both ever since.  I immediately knew and was pained to admit why I had felt that nudge to wait.  Trevor and Grace are internal processors. They are quiet thinkers.  They need time.   I need to talk about it.  Now.  I spew my thoughts out as quick as they come racing at me and with my ADD in full effect few can keep up.  I realized it was best for me not to go.  Still stings a bit to say that, but I know myself enough to know that I would have driven them crazy with my questions and lurking behind every tree and hippo's rear end to see them experience this.  I would have taken certain expectations along I think.  I wouldn't have given them the space they needed.  It was best for me not to go. Really, God?  Yes, really.  This is truly best.  I have tried to keep my stories, impressions, even my advice to a minimum because I want this to be wholly theirs.  How many 13 year old girls get this experience with their daddy?  Man, I did good picking him out.

As we told others about this trip, and especially after what transpired in Kenya a few weeks ago, many, even some that surprised us, were a bit concerned about someone her age going.  What she would see, experience, her safety.  It wasn't something we considered lightly as seen in an open letter to my Grace.

My beautiful Grace,
I am beyond proud of you for wanting to take part in this mission trip.  I am so thankful for your heart for the people there but most importantly for Jesus.  I knew when you said you wanted to go that I had to let you. How can you tell a child their entire life that they should follow the promptings of God in their spirit and then when they ask you to go, say no.  I couldn't be the one holding you back from God's plan or calling on your life.  I couldn't be the reason you disobeyed.  

But as an earthly momma, I fought with a few things.  I want to protect your heart.  It will most certainly break there.  I remember how hard it was for me to see some of the suffering, the injustice, the intense effects of a poverty that had yet to be defined for me.  What would that do to my girl?  And you know what God whispered to me?  He whispered names.  He whispered Mercy....Terri....Mary....Anne....He whispered the names of the girls I love living there.  Gladys....Ava...Elizabeth...  Living it.  Daily.  And I knew you could do it.  And I knew you had to do it.  I knew that our home is different from many in the way we try to teach you and your siblings from a global Godly perspective.  I knew you have seen my pictures and heard me speak and although it is different close up in the flesh, it is clear that God's spent your lifetime preparing you for this.  

I wondered how you would do on the plane.  Your first time flying since you are old enough to remember and it's kind of a long flight:)  I wondered if you would be homesick.  I wondered if you might feel hungry and not like the food.  I went over every scenario in my mind and the same peace kept coming over me.  You might be uncomfortable at times.  That's okay.  You might not like the food.  That's okay too.  You come from a place where you can have your fill.  Life isn't about comfort and safe and easy.  

I worried about your health and your safety even though I have never worried about either of those things on a trip of my own.  But I worry about those things here too.  I think most people would say this momma duck likes her ducklings close by and they would be right.  It is a huge stretch for me for you just to be gone for 2 weeks, much less so far away and with little communication if any.  But you are HIS child.  I trust His protection over you and I put you in His hands.  I do that each day when you go off to school or stay at a friend's house overnight.  It's a broken world and anything can happen anywhere but we don't live in fear. We live free.  

I know full well this will change you.  I know it will leave a lasting impression on your life.  I pray exactly that. I will be praying for you and your team daily.  Please do not forget a single moment so you can share them all with me.  You know I'm serious.  And yes, I will say it again.  My one piece of advice.  Write everything down!  You think you will never be able to forget an experience like this and in your heart you won't but the details will fade when you're old like me and juggling children while balancing plates on broom handles. At least that's what it feels like.  You will thank me someday.

Now go love on the Kenyan people in the name of Jesus.  Shine your light, girl.  Live your dream. Your momma will be here thanking God for a Daddy like yours and the beautiful spirit of my first born.  I love you more than you can fathom.