Friday, March 8, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Home

It's Friday again and that means I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday. Five minutes of writing from the heart. Go.

I don’t know where it came from, but I remember it clearly, sitting on the wooden shelf behind the sofa in the house I spent some of my most formative days as a child.

“Home is Where the Heart Is” it read, with a little red heart where the word heart would otherwise be.

Now I understand, though then it was just a fixture on the wall. Now it’s a very logical phrase.

A year ago, heck, five years ago, my home was a little gray house that I loved. A house filled with memories and the pitter patter of our baby boy and the scratches from our boxer boy on that beautiful hardwood floor that we polished to a shine right before we got married and moved there together. That was home after long trips and long days.

That home slowly became a house and then it was sold.

Now, as we prepare to move from our apartment we’ve tried to call home here in the city for the last six months we feel like nomads in a foreign land. Maybe because that’s what we are.

So home has, by necessity, become where our heart is. In a week we will step on yet another airplane and fly to the place we’ve longed to call home for four years now—the Jungle.

That is where our heart is. And that will be home. A different home, but a beautiful one indeed.

 Home is..

...where the...

 ...heart is.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Some days my heart is full and there is plenty I want to say but I have no way to say it.

That's when I just whisper to God, "Hear my heart."

And I rest in that.

Because He does.

 "The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things,
 but one thing is necessary."'
Luke 10.41-42a

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

We Aren't the Only Ones

"I want to play iPad with Lita," he said from the backseat.

"That would be fun, wouldn't it?" I said, trying to sound upbeat.

"Yeah," he was more somber this time. "Because I'm sad."

He always puts the word "because" in front of his emotion. That's when my heart melts and I know things are serious. That's when we talk the hard stuff.

"Why are you sad, Buddyroo?"

"Because I just want to go to Lita's house and play iPad with her and eat chocolate."

His little almost-three-year-old brain remembers and I fight tears and wish that those thousands of miles were still just five miles and he looks out the window and I try think of the words to explain why that will have to wait for now.

We aren't the only ones who are "sacrificing" here.

In fact, I don't really consider what Richard and I do as much of a sacrifice. It's life and we know the call and we live it and love it and life is new and, even with the challenges, there is reward.

It's our parents, our families. They are the ones sacrificing.

When we left the US six months ago, our lives changed. We jumped right into a new culture and new adventures and new challenges. But our families, they stayed. They learned to live life without us right down the street and no more Sunday afternoon lunches at my mom's house and no more dropping Elliott off at Richard's parents' for a date night and no more "let's go to dinner with the siblings".

Life was new here and busy with having a baby and doing paperwork and meeting new people and planning.

But thousands of miles away it was just a new empty in the everyday.

That's harder.

Yes, there is Skype and Facebook to "watch" the kids grow. And thank goodness for modern travel that makes it just a 24 hour trip to get where we are. But there aren't hugs and kisses and sleepovers and birthday parties and summer swimming and walks in the park and "can you take me to the playground?"

And soon it will be harder. In just ten days we move to the jungle where communication steps back 15 years. Where internet is slooooooow and Skype is a rarity.

Instead of watching the steady growth of the grandkids it will seem like leaps and bounds as the months pass.

They watch from afar as we deal with illness and stress and disappointment and they can only cry with us and pray because no one has figured out how to send a virtual hug and teleportation has yet to be invented and when they close that Skype session or e-mail, life moves on and they can only wait for the next word.

It is hardest for those who didn't choose this path.

The scripture always comes to mind in Luke 14.26:

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be My disciple."

That verse used to bother me as a child. Why would a loving God require us to hate those we love most? Doesn't He teach love?

Now I get it. It feels like hate sometimes--unintentional hate. It even looks like hate to the world.

We wish it could be different. That we could have the best of both worlds. That our kids could live down the road from their grandparents and all of the holidays were filled with memories together and Skype was just an obscure word for something unfamiliar and that somehow we could still fulfill this calling and reach these tribes and love them like Christ.

Instead there are goodbyes and we'll talk again soon and maybe see you in October.

That will have to do for now.

But through it all--through it ALL--our families have stood with us. They've supported us every single step on this journey even though their hearts ache and they wish it were different, they know and understand the call because they love this same Jesus.

For that, we're forever grateful.

We're grateful for the sacrifice that they make that is so very real and the tears that they cry because it makes this all a whole lot easier when there isn't bitterness and "why?" Instead there is "we are proud of you" and "we miss you so much and we can't wait to see you" and "I love you and I'm praying for you". There are big hugs and tears of joy when we're reunited instead of guilt trips and "don't go".

So we say "Thank You" to our families. Thanks for believing in us and letting us follow Christ without making it harder than it is. Thank you for praying and giving and loving and encouraging and being there and understanding even when you don't really understand.

Thanks for sacrificing.

And this can be repeated for all the families out there who say goodbye as their children and grandchildren and brothers and sisters and loved ones follow a call that leads to another city or country.

So next time you pray for us or another missionary family, say a prayer for the families who stay behind.
This is their sacrifice, too.

Airport Goodbyes, August 29, 2012
 Family Visits, December 2012 and January 2013



Friday, March 1, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Ordinary

Joining in again this week with Liso-Jo and Five Minute Friday. Five minutes of writing from the heart. This week's word is "ordinary". Go.

“It’s amazing what you guys are doing! I could never do that!”

‘We are so very, very ordinary,’ I think to myself each and every time I hear those words. 'I wish you could see that part.'

Because while there is jungle and river and village and canoe, there is also dishes and bedtime and whining children and “we forgot the toilet paper!”

As I battle every day through the ordinary that fills our lives only sprinkled with brief moments of extraordinary that come from God Himself, I feel very small and unworthy and unprepared for all of this. I tell a friend that I feel like there is nothing I have to offer and she reminds me that it’s the ordinary ones that God used the most in Scripture and today is no different.

So I write and share and live and try to convey this: we are just ordinary people striving to glorify and extraordinary God.

And aren’t we all? Even those we serve and those who give so we can go and those who go—all just ordinary. It’s not until the God of the extraordinary gets His hands on the molding clay that we are turned into something beautiful and even then it’s not our beauty, but His reflecting through us.

So there will be babies born with nothing and Indians traveling for days to hospitals and flights to carry sick to the doctors and all of this. But those dishes still stack up and didn’t I already sweep twice today?

And it’s those ordinary moments that seep humility into our lives so that God can be big 
and we can remain so very small. 

 Washing dishes in the river... Ordinary Indian life.
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