Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year. New Opportunities.

Gifts have all been opened. We have overindulged in yummy food. The Christmas lights have been unplugged, the ornaments carefully wrapped, and the tree stuffed away until next year. We have counted down and welcomed 2015 with excitement. 

Monday will officially end our 'winter break'. It is typical for this to be a bittersweet time for me. I love the holidays. I love every stinking bit of it. I am always a little sad to see it wind down. When most people are ready to retreat and slow down, I long to keep running at full speed. On the other hand, I am ready for routine schedules, eating, and sleeping to return for everyone. 

January is normally one of my least favorite months. It just seems so sad, deflated, and lonely for me. 

This year things are incredibly different.

I have been clinging to the holidays because, if I am honest, they have served as a beautiful distraction to what lies ahead in 2015. 

Caleb and I were presented with an opportunity to lead a small group to travel to encourage and support our friends in South East Asia (SEA). The trip would consist of 10 days in the month of January. 

When we were first presented with the opportunity back in the fall, I was a little surprised and shocked, but Oh. So. Excited and honored.   I asked Caleb what he thought about it and he was enthusiastically, no hesitation,  feet first ALL in. It was the perfect response, the response I needed.

I am unbearably thankful he is the one I get to share this crazy life with.

I desperately wanted to be that confident with my yes, however my mommy heart and mind nagged at me. Ten days away from our small children. Both parents on extensive plane routes away from our babies. Thousands of miles separating us from our precious little ones. Can I do this? Should I do this?

Then the what ifs began. I have spent many nights swirling all the things that could go wrong around in my mind. 

It went something like this..
Yes, Lets go!       Wait! What will we do with our children.
This will be affordable.  No, even with the assistance, we cant afford this. 
10 days isn't that long.    10 days will be way to hard on Presley. 
Brady will be distracted by school.   What if Brady needs me while in school?
Caleb and I can spend some great experiences together and strengthen our relationship.  Oh no, both parents will be gone, if something goes wrong. 
Our children will see our example of trusting the Lord with all our heart and hopefully live a life without fear.  But I am a little afraid. 
The kids will be fine. What if they aren't? 
We will be fine. What if we aren't?

Exhausting I know. This is only a taste of what it is like to live in my head.
To some it might seem silly. To some it is also your reality. 

Most of the time I put an end to them by praying each one of them away before allowing myself to be taken over by sleep. 

Amazingly, nearly all fears have been alleviated in the most unexpected of ways. 

I have been repeatedly reminded that the God I serve is incredibly more capable than I give Him credit. 

But still... As each fear is alleviated, I allow my mind to create new ones. 

The holidays provided the perfect distraction for all my fears, concerns, and even excitement. 

Now they are over. January is here and the trip is rapidly approaching. 

I am excited. I am honored. I am hopeful. I am thirsty with anticipation. 

I am also nervous. I am scared. I am hesitant. 

It is a whirlwind of emotions around here. 

The purpose of this trip is so good. The work being done in SEA is good. Our friends are good. I am so confident God is the center of all of it. 
Even still, I am so aware of the risk. I don't need to be reminded of that part. 

I am choosing to trust. 
Therefore, I am bursting with excitement to see how God can be glorified throughout all of it. 

In these moments, I am reminded of the book of Daniel. Throughout the book, Daniel and his friend's faith was challenged in many different ways. Around chapter 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are commanded to worship an image King Nebuchadnezzar had created or be thrown into a fire furnace. They refused. When approached about their decision to resist, their response is remarkable. 

"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O King. BUT even if he does not, we want you to know, O King, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
                                                      Daniel 3:17-18, NIV, emphasis added

I began 2014 desiring more Trust in the creator of all things.
I am ending 2014 by laying a ginormous amount of trust at the feet of our Father in heaven.

I am hopeful everything will be fine and 2015 will be a great year for our family, but if not, I am confident we will serve the Lord. 

If you don't mind, friends, I am asking you keep us in your thoughts and prayers throughout this month. I would so appreciate prayers of safe travels, things running smoothly at home, and peaceful hearts and minds for us, our children, our travel team, and our friends and families. 
Mostly I petition you to pray God will be glorified through all of this. 

Here is to a fruitful and joy filled New Year.