Friday, February 13, 2015

Traveling, Motherhood, and Jesus

The summer of 2013 I loaded my 4 year old and my 11 month old into a car and began a 12 plus hour drive north with a group from our church while my husband stayed home for work. We would spend a week providing a Vacation Bible School and helping the local church reach the community. Before we even left the parking lot, Presley had covered herself and car seat in granola bar. I was beginning to regret my decision...

Thinking the trip was just too hard.

 It was hard. It was exhausting. It almost pushed me to my breaking point at times.

But it was also beautiful.
Jesus met me in the form of community, support, and coffee. I saw Jesus in friends when they offered to nap with Presley despite her protests. I saw Jesus when another drove me to the store. I felt His presence as I read Bible stories to children who had never heard of Paul, James, or John. Jesus was there in the car as my children patiently and quietly took in the long drive. He held my hand and pushed me forward. He whispered words of validation and encouragement through various voices.  I was surrounded by hands, feet, and voices of Jesus. I wasn't alone. It was beautiful because I found so much peace underneath the hard.

I learned quickly when we step out of comfort and answer the call of Jesus, He shows up. Right there. Right where we are. Right when we need him.

My children learned about servant hood, trusting the Father, a sense of community, and a worldview that expands farther than our back yard was forming.

I am a huge advocate for showing the world to your children. 

I am also, simultaneously, a huge advocate for not losing your identity in your children.
While I agree there is a time to share the world with your children, there is also a time to see it for yourself. A time to be intentional, free from distraction, and fully present to dream dreams and grow relationships.

It is just as much a gift to them that I remain my own person, with her own dreams, desires, and plans.

Just as my faith is not my children's faith, my children's faith is not my own.

I must leave room for myself to continue learning, growing, and searching.
 I must leave room for them to learn, grow, and search without me.

Sometimes that comes in the form of sleepovers, school, or date nights.

This past January it came in the form of a trip. A trip not for our entire family, but for just Caleb and I.  A trip I didn't anticipate. I trip I had unknowingly prayed for. A trip that would test if my trust in God matched the words of my mouth. 

I had fears and doubts, but my desire to serve the Lord and experience the world was greater than the fear of leaving my children. 

The desire to teach my children bravery and trust outweighed the fear of all that could go wrong. 

There were moments, though, when fear won.

Once again when I was weak, God showed up. He showed up in the form of texts messages of kindness and encouragement. Jesus showed up when an unbelievable amount of hands offered to care for my babies. He showed up in the form of checks tucked into our hands during sincere hugs. Jesus showed up in the countless prayers and thoughts on our behalf. He showed up in long overdue hugs and late night laughs with great conversation. He was there in hospital rooms, on walks, and in the market.

He showed up when I watched my husband soak up a culture and language beautifully. I watched him through a lens of peace, love, and intention rather than a lens of distraction and bitterness. The lens I wear far too often when arguing with a 6 year old and being mauled by a 2 year old.

He showed up when opportunity after opportunity to speak His name and show His goodness arrived while we were visiting.

He showed up in the prayer of my son while were gone that in so many words said keep my mom and dad safe while they are showing Jesus to others away from home.

He showed up. Right there. Right where I was. Right when I needed him.

After we returned home, we were all in the car. Brady had forgotten something and was trying with all his might to not cry. He hugged the handmade elephant we had brought him and tightly clenched his eyes.  I looked back and said, "Brady we are home. We are safe. You don't have to worry anymore."

He responded with words no parent wants to hear, "Why did you have to go without me?"

I held back my alligator tears and channeled my best Danny Tanner voice while the this-is-the-lesson-moment music played in the back ground.

"Brady, one day you are going to come home and say Mom! a group is going to Haiti, Uganda, London(you fill in the blank) and I want to go too. I am going to reply, I want to go too. Lets go together. You will say Mom, I want to go alone. I need to do this without you.

And I will say Okay, you can go.

And you will go and it will be great. And I will be proud.

 You will go because you are brave. You will have confidence and trust because I had confidence and  trust.  And I hope you will remember how I was brave and that you can draw strength from that."

These words spilled out of my mouth before I had a chance to think.

Caleb quickly responded whoa, that was good.

Brady quickly responded I want to go to Tokyo.

I am in constant prayer that I am raising independent, contributing, kind humans who love God and their neighbors near and far.  People who will enhance the Kingdom and speak Jesus.

I am also in constant prayer that I am an independent, contributing, kind human who loves God and my neighbor near and far.  A person who enhances the Kingdom and speaks Jesus.

There will come a day my children will have to decided for their own whom they will follow, I will not be there to guide them.  I will not be there to tell them. I will not be there to do it for them. It will be their journey and their's alone.

And I will be left on my own journey without them.

So show your children the world. Serve right along side of them. Yes!

But also see the world for yourself. Cultivate your relationships. Serve even when no one is watching. Yes!

And lets put our trust and faith in God for the rest because He is able.

"Cast all your cares upon him, for he cares for you."
                                                   -  1 Peter 5:7

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


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