“I was so swollen, my feet hurt all the time, my belly was so big it was wet all day from doing hair, all I craved was Mexican food, but I threw it up just after I ate it, for the entire nine months. You were a month late (1) and just before you were born, I was borderline toxemic (2). I loved being pregnant.’ – My Mom
My mom always describes her pregnancy with me like this. I’ve always been confused about how that last sentence always gets tacked on, no matter what detail she’s sharing, and how awful it is.
Sometimes, I think missions is like that. I can list out all the struggles, all the language mishaps, all the bureaucracy issues. But I love this job, this calling. It’s wonderful.
Recently, I have been having an awful time sleeping. (3) With our upcoming home assignment, which will last for a year, there are a lot of little and big details that need to be taken care of. Before we came to the field, I hardly ever had trouble sleeping. I love sleep. I always have. On the rare occasion that I couldn’t sleep in the states, one technique that I’d use is to imagine each one of my worries in a little bubble. Then I’d imagine each bubble floating up to heaven for Jesus to worry about instead of me. It used to work.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (ESV) Matthew 6:34
I would say this verse to myself, and send my bubbles away and go to sleep. But not lately. Lately, my brain is like a bubble machine at a spring festival. Thoughts like the following bouncing through my head:
“When am I going to have time to fill out all these forms?”
“Will we have nice weather for our team retreat?”
“When did I last trim Oliver’s toenails?”
“Have we done enough? Could we have done more?”
“I need to make that appointment with Avonlea’s teacher.”
“I can’t wait to go back to America and see my family.”
“I wish we didn’t have to leave the field for HMA right now. Things are just getting started.”
Seriously, those last two things are the battle. It’s been so hard, but so good. So frustrating and so rich. Our kids have seen us fail, seen us struggle, but they’ve seen us pray. We pray they’ve seen Christ even in our shortcomings.
Not so long ago, a need for car in the states was one of those things that churned in my head. Would we have to take money out of savings, buy a car, hope and pray we didn’t put too many miles or wear on it to sell it at the end of the year? We’d been praying together and as a team, and one of partner churches sent an e-mail that they were giving us car. Just giving it to us. When I saw the e-mail, I immediately started crying. Avonlea asked me what was wrong, and I told her the good news. I held her as we sat on the ground to say a prayer of thanks together and I asked for forgiveness for doubting and worrying. That second part, the praying part, her seeing our dependance and God’s faithfulness was a greater (4) gift than the car.
The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works. Psalm145:13b (ESV)
God is so faithful, so kind, so good to us. He loves us. Why do I worry?
Because sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes we doubt. We worry. We try too hard. We’re human. Life here strips off of that outer layer of protective skin we all wear. We feel more vulnerable, less patient, less sanctified than we thought we were.
But the other side of that is we see His Grace, so big, so much more protective than our fake skin. We see the His Love, so unchanging, so abounding. We see that we don’t deserve it. That we never did. (5)
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant. Psalm 86:15–16 (ESV)
And that’s what makes it so good.
(1) I was due August 29, for those of you that know my birthday, I was a solid month late. My poor mom. She found out she was pregnant over Thanksgiving holidays, and the doctor told her she had ‘The nine-month influenza”.
(2) Back in the day, this is what they called Preeclampsia.
(3) Which is why I am up writing a blog post at 5 am.
(4) The car is a huge, wonderful, amazing gift. Enormous. Just for perspective and our sincere appreciate of such a gift.
(5) Please keep us in your prayers. We do have a lot of balls in the air, from MTW admin forms, to managing our utilities while we’re gone, and lots of stuff for the kids school. We need your prayers.