Sunday, June 7, 2009


As you can imagine, I have a lot going on these days. Getting ready for our trip NEXT WEEK is incredibly exciting, overwhelming and of course, tiring. Add to that a cute and busy 2 year old that loves helping unpack supplies as I pack them and I've got trip preparation that is taking a couple of weeks instead of a couple of days. Supplies that used to be piled high in boxes are now organized in suitcases that are lining our hallway. Phone calls and emails are getting to be nonstop. Itineraries for three families are coming together perfectly. Meetings have been coordinated and so has down time. It seems that I have shaken the fears that I was having a few weeks ago, at least for now, and my heart is overflowing with joy at the thought of what our trip will be like. All signs are pointing to a successful first trip back to Guatemala. Next Friday will be another day to add to my list of unforgettable days of my life.

But with all of this joy comes a little frustration. I have known all along that as the trip gets closer, I would have some type of struggle. We have had our fair share of it since first announcing AAB. I know that the struggle will never go away completely. This is not easy. There will always be a battle between what is right and what is wrong....between good and evil. What I did not expect was the way the struggle would present itself and how much it would hurt me personally.

I am not a stranger to people that do not support our work in Guatemala. The negative comments and emails are no longer hard to deal with and they simply get erased without a second thought. Rarely is someone able to criticize us to my face, but if they do, it isn't hard for me to stand up for what I know is right or to turn around and walk away. But for the first time in a while this weekend, someone made a couple of comments that cut deeply and are hard for me to take.

"This is damaging your going on trips is hurting him." and "Just because you have been called to the mission field does not mean that you have to LIVE it by living and working there. You can just take mission trips sometimes."

Sadly, the person that said these things to me really should know better. It is someone that should know by now how much I love our son and this person probably does know how much I love him and knew that saying this would really bother me. It was said in tone that made me sound like a selfish individual that cares only about myself and gave me the impression that this person thinks that I am working in Guatemala for MY benefit. As a mother that HATES to leave her child for any reason, planning 3 trips (1 in country and 2 to Guatemala) in the next 6 months that require me to travel without him was hard for me to do and each time I have to leave him my heart will break. This is not something that I ever planned to do. I always said that where I go, he will go and that will usually be the case even with my trips to Guatemala, but as we establish our program in Guatemala, it would be best for him to stay in the U.S. with his dad during our Oct. and Dec. trips. It hurts me to even think about leaving him, but it has to be done. What hurts worse is knowing that someone actually believes that spending 2 weeks out of 52 weeks without him is hurting him. I wonder if this person has any idea how much this burden has weighed on my heart until recently. I wonder if this person knows how much I have prayed for this weight to be lifted and prayed for some kind of peace about having to leave my son to work in Guatemala. Thankfully, I am at peace now about the decision to travel without him later this year because I know that this is something that I have to do. Now I am praying that His peace will remain with me and that this person's hurtful words will not cause the burden that I once had about this to return. I do not believe that my trips are hurting our son in any way. Allowing families to travel on mission trips with their children is important to me which is why we allow children to travel with their parents. Our son will spend a great deal of time in Guatemala throughout his childhood with me. Obviously, I do not believe that exposing him to the world's orphan crisis and families that are living in extreme poverty will hurt him. My reason behind this is simple. I believe that we are living in a country where many parents care more about making sure their children are raised having every thing their hearts desire and being their friends than teaching them how to live a life that pleases God. Many children are being taught or allowed to care more about themselves than anyone, including God and this is not the way that I want to raise my children. I want our children to be exposed to and live in the real world and the real world is NOT what has become the American dream. In the real world, the majority of the world, people live on less than $2 a day. And I want my children to go on mission trips to these places? I want our family to eventually live our lives that way? Yeah, I do. And while he, of course, does not understand what is going on now, in the next couple of years when I sometimes have to take a trip without him, he will know where I am going and what I am doing. He may not always want me to go and it will always be hard for me to leave him, but he will know that I have to go because for me not to go would be disobedient to God. I do not think it is wrong to allow my child to watch me follow the Lord to the ends of the earth and I do not think following God is hurting my son. Some people, and probably the very person that accused me of hurting our child, wonder what will happen if I die while I am doing this. They think it would be so horrible for me to leave him that way. I wonder if they think the same every time I get in the car to go grocery shopping without him. Yes, I could die in Guatemala, just as I could if the tree outside were to fall on my house during the next storm. My husband could die while driving to work in the morning. Do most of us really walk around thinking that death only happens to elderly people, to people that do dangerous jobs and to missionaries? Do you not think that death can touch you at a young age and unexpectedly? It can. It does. And maybe it will. I have no way of knowing if I will wake up tomorrow or if I will come home from Guatemala alive in a couple of weeks. There are worse things than death and I certainly do not fear Heaven. Do I want to leave my husband and child right now? No. None of us do. But if that were to happen, I would die by living the kind of life that I want my children to live....I would die while living faith. To do any thing less than live faith fully would be living half way...but more about that in a minute. I'm not sure why, but this is what has been on my heart since hearing that I am hurting my child...

"Dear brothers and sisters, what's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can't save anyone. Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, and you say, "Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well" - but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn't show itself by good deeds is no faith at all - it is dead and useless." James 2 14-17

Then I was told that I do not have to live and work in Guatemala or any other country. I can take some mission trips every year and that's enough.

That's enough? Really? Is it? Not for me. If I were to take a few mission trips every year and not grow from there, I would only be serving God half way. And I would be living my faith half way. God does not want me to stop here, with taking a few mission trips every year. He wants me on the and working with the people of Guatemala and beyond with my husband and our children. I know this. I accept this. I am ready for this. I am SO ready for this. I cannot live half way for Him. Can you imagine what would have happened if Jesus had only lived half way? If he would have changed his mind and decided that we weren't worth the struggle...that we were not worth shedding his blood for? What if he had decided half way into his life that he wasn't going to give it all for us? Can you imagine? Or what would happen if a doctor decided to treat a patient only half way? A teacher decided to teach only half way? A pastor decided only to preach half way? What if God loved us only half way? I cannot do that. I cannot knowingly say to Him that I will only go halfway for Him....I will do just enough by taking a few trips every year, but I will not give it all by living my faith completely. No, if I truly love Him, I have to live for Him...completely not just half way. I can't get this out of my mind...

"And Jesus replied, "I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return, a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and property - with persecutions. And in the world to come they will have eternal life. But many who seem to be important now will be the least important then, and those who are the least here will be the greatest then." Mark 10:29-31

Obviously, I wasn't always like this. I used to be passionate about orphans, adoption, children with special needs, at risk families and God, but never all at the same time. I am so thankful that it finally all came together during my time in Guatemala and that I know with certainty what I have to do. I am still learning how I am supposed to get there and I have a LONG way to go (and I will never make it all the way because I am human), but I will not stop trying. I am going to make mistakes and I am going to face opposition more times than I want to think about. But I am not going to live half way. You can either live for Him or not. The choice is ours to make. He does not force us to do anything. But He does speak and if we listen, we will know what we have to do. And I know that in order for me to live fully for Him, I have to be doing much more than organizing and taking a few trips each year. I have to be doing more than visiting orphanages and distributing occasional, but necessary things to those in need. I have to follow Him completely and that means laying this life that I know down and stepping out on faith much bigger than I ever have before. I cannot wait to see what living life more than half way looks like!

I started writing this Sunday night and have rewritten it twice. It is now 24 hours later on Monday night, nothing came out right and I will probably hear much more about this post in the coming days. I do not care. This is something that I felt I needed to write, more for myself than anyone else. I know that it is the LONGEST blog post I have probably ever written and that's OK, too. This is as real as I get. This is my life....between living halfway and living fully.

1 comment:

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