Tonight I had a fabulous conversation with a friend of mine. This friend and I have been friends since our 9th grade basketball season! We have been through many ups and downs and she is to this day one of my best friends. I can talk to her about anything and we have so much in common these days that we can both be an encouragment to each other and understand each others trials and burdens. We both have two kids and both of our husbands travel quite frequently for their jobs.
Tonight we talked about Haiti. She wants to go and I want her to go. BUT there is fear there. Fear of the unknown. You see when you become a mom things change. You can’t just jump at the chance to go to a third world country and serve. You have other people to think about. You have children. They need you. You need them. You are their provider, comforter, and security. It is hard to fathom leaving them for a week, when you aren’t going to a safe, comfortable vacation spot. It is easy to leave them when you are vacationing in Florida. Not so easy to leave them when you are serving in a sometimes unsafe country.
This is something that I too went through last year. After Aaron and I had children I had come to the conclusion that my days of serving God in a hands on approach in another country were done for a while. I submited to these demands on my life as a new mom and was okay with being a mom and dreaming of my next mission trip fifteen years later. Last summer, God started to bring me down a personal voyage to discover a freedom to serve him in other countries even if I had to leave my little ones behind for a week at a time. I was scared beyond belief at even the thought. What if something happened to me? What if I contracted some disease? What if …. What if …. What if…. My mind was full of fear of the unknowns. God finally brought me to a place of peace. A place where I realized that in all reality I was NOT their provider. I was NOT their security. I was NOT their comforter. God is all those to me and he is all those to my boys as well.
I began to realize that if my day to go on to heaven comes I will go no matter where I am. If I’m in TN or Haiti, it doesn’t matter. Another major thing started happening in my life. I started to think about how I wanted to view my life when it is all said and done. Do I want to look back and wish that I had served him more? Do I want to look back and wish that I had started doing mission work sooner? I started to think about my desire to travel and serve him internationally at least once a year and how many more trips I could get in if I started at 28 instead of 38.
When it was all said and done, it really came down to this for me – did I really want to be the person that just lived a “safe” life and never did anything out of the box for God. Did I really want to be just a “normal” person that follows Christ? No. I want to serve him big. For me to serve him big means for me to get out of my comfort box (which is my safe house with my kids in my lap so no one can get them or hurt them) and serve him in a way that makes me uncomfortable. You see he uses me most when it is not me. When it is only him through me. Leaving your baby boys for a week and not being able to talk to them, demands that you trust only in God.
Does this mean that leaving my boys and my favorite boy, Aaron, last November to go to Haiti was easy. H-E-double-hockey-sticks-NO! I cried the entire way down the terminal to meet the other travelers. It was even the UGLY CRY! The one that you don’t really want anyone to see. Yeap I cried and I cried and I cried. Fear was there. BUT peace was more there. God had granted me peace in him and I had to cling to that for the other alternative was not fun and not rewarding and would make me miserable. There were many times on that trip that fear ruled my life. I had terrible dreams and thoughts, BUT I had to battle them and in the end I was filled with peace and couldn’t wait to get back.
In no way have I figured out how to live a life of complete abondonment of your self and 100% servanthood towards GOD, BUT for me God has moved me towards a different thinking about these things. I no longer want to be safe. I want to serve him. I want to get to the end of my life, whether I am 78 or 38, and know that I lived it well. I want my kids to see parents that live a life that is sometimes uncomfortable. A life that gets you dirty and bent out of shape, BUT is constantly evolving towards HIM – the creator of us and the sustainer of us.
Psalm 118:8 “It is better to put trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”
Proverbs 16:20 “Whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he.”
Psalm 34: 8-9 “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in HIM! Oh, fear the LORD you his saints! There is no want to those who fear him.”
So, to you my friend and to anyone else contmplating these thoughts, I encourage you. Keep pursuing what God wants for you and not man. This is a personal journey between you and God. Allow him to mold you and shape you into the woman that he intends for you to be. Trust him. Follow him. Pursue him. Through this journey that you are on you will become a better person, whether you go now, or go later …. God is moving you.