Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Giving Lives

One of our pastors here, when closing out the service in which we had just shared about what we are doing in Brazil through a presentation, said to us, "Thank you for giving your lives."

For some reason, at that moment, those words just really struck me. Here's the truth...I don't WANT to.

Isn't that so incredibly spiritual and holy and saintly of me? I don't remember ever hearing that quote from people like Mother Teresa, right? But, I could care less. It's the honest-to-God truth.

I know some people who don't dare utter such things...they don't want to give place to those feelings I guess...don't want to acknowledge them and therefore don't feel them to a certain extent. That's the way they 'take captive every thought' I think. That method works for them. I am seriously challenged by those folks and am not saying that they are more right than me and my method, although they may be. But, here's my method. It might change as I change and grow, but as of right now...I'm just stinkin' dang butt honest. I blurt. It's how I process. It's what works for me. And maybe, just maybe, just like I am challenged by the non-utterers, some may be helped in some way by the blurters. This way, in the end, is my way of 'taking captive every thought' because I ALWAYS am able to work through to the true, one and only, truth...to gain perspective. So, here we go...the processing.

"Giving our lives"...before we actually went on the mission field full time, that phrase really pumped me up. It was so glamorized in some ways. We used to hear sermons about those who had literally 'packed in their coffins.' We were so in awe of that type of dedication and resolve...that fervor for God and His calling...that no turning back spirit.

I've sat with some of those people during this visit...people who would love to go on the mission field. People who really have a heart for missions, but have just not been called or released to do that as of yet. They sit there with eyes wide open and big smiles on their faces, asking me to tell them everything. Well, here's one thing...it is STINKIN'. DANG. HARD. :) Again, how's that for spiritual?

Oh, how I long for my kids to be able to be with their grandparents and cousins and great-grandparents, to live life with them instead of with people that they can't even understand right now. I long for them to be able to really know their relatives, to have close friends. I long for things like a cute little decorated nursery in my house. I've birthed 4 babies, but have never had a cute little nursery for any of them. I recently went to a baby shower here, for a sweet girl who isn't even married. I did 'everything right' and yet she's the one with the out-of-this-world decorated nursery (and I do mean out of this world)?!? Can we say envy?!? I have to say that I was a very nice shade of green.

I long for just the ease of this life in the states. I long for a place to call my own, for my own things, to be settled somewhere and not temporarily using others' things. I long for a bathtub that my kids can play in. For a frost-free freezer. For shopping to be easy (three cheers for one-stop shopping, i.e. Wal-Mart and Target). For a clothes dryer. For nice things (by 'nice' I mean Wal-Mart/Target quality...I'm not a high end type of girl). For affordable prices on things other than produce and land. For cheddar cheese and Ro-Tel. For bagels and Mexican food. I long for the familiar, but if not that, at least the practical.

Grady was extremely fussy today (Monday...it's 2am as I write this). We were going to be going somewhere tonight, so we put all the kids down for naps this afternoon. Grady protested. Joel was putting them down at first, but I took over after a while...after the girls had already passed out and Grady was still putting up a fight. He was so adamant about not taking a nap that he had pretty much gone into hysterics...you know, where he was doing a little hyperventilating it seemed...that kind of crying. He said it over and over again. "I don't WANT to take a nap."

"I don't WANT to."

Those words rang in my ears and in that moment, God made it abundantly clear.

Those were the very words that I've said over and over to Him the past few weeks.

It is exactly 2 more weeks until we board a plane to go back to Brazil, and "I don't want to" has been all I could muster up. What about what I told Grady today...that "Sometimes we really do have to do things that we don't necessarily want to do, but it's the best thing for us, and we have to obey. Even me. Sometimes God wants me to do things that I don't want to do, but I have to obey."

That's right...I'm still learning the same lessons that I'm trying to teach my 5 year old.

It's been an interesting few weeks. I've told Joel several times that I wasn't going back (sometimes half-joking, but not at all a departure from my real feelings). I've wrestled and cried with God. And the bottom line is always what the bottom line is...

We give. We ALL give. Sometimes we have to do what we don't want to do...or what we don't think we want. We do what our flesh definitely doesn't want to do. Because, no matter what you are doing, whether you are in the throes of mothering small children or struggling to keep your marriage together or pastoring a dead church or taking care of dying, ungrateful parents or waiting and waiting and waiting for that spouse to come along. Whatever you are doing, we give. We obey. We trust Him and know that we are all the better for it.

He knows best, always has and always will. He is excited for what He has for us. SO. STINKIN'. EXCITED. And, if we keep perspective, we are excited too. How sad is it for me as a parent when I have something fun for the kids...some great surprise and I'm all excited about it...and then they don't obey or have rotten attitudes and don't even want to take the steps to get that fun, great thing I have for them?!? That breaks my heart for God...I know that He gets that all the time...and I know that He's gotten it from me lately. Forgive me, Lord.

Well...wonderful. It definitely worked...again. Processing done. Perspective regained for sure. Now I can go to bed. Goodnight.


on an adventure said...

I totally feel you. Not to say we are sacrificing as much as God has called you and Joel, and even the kids, to give up. But I do feel you. And God sure is using you already...online. Look at how many are following your story. More than you even know, I bet. Hope that encourages you a little. So tough to just obey, and we should even if we don't see any reason or result. So my encouragement to you is that God is TOTALLY being glorified through your obedience. And I know we all miss your blogging, by the way! Love you!!!

Kecia said...

I know that this is hard for you. But i thank God for your life. Youhave no idea of how this blog had help me. We are all praying for you Michawn, you are a woman of God.

Thank you so much for blessing our lives!

Us said...

I process by writing too and sometimes it gets me in trouble b/c it doesn't come out right. I don't think there is anything wong with being honest. That is how God made you! Your children will have such wonderful memories...and who knows what will come in another year or so! Enjoy your last 2 weeks :-)

Los Cannon said...

I have SO been there! The way you talk is exactly how I was talking while we were on the mission field. And I wasn't alone. Two very dear missionary friends of mine were saying the same thing - we'd get together and just spill and gripe and be honest. Not sure if it was the right thing, but it did help to know I wasn't a weirdo or a "bad" missionary. Funny thing is, the thing I thought would "cure" me (coming home) really hasn't done what I expected it to. In reality, every where we are, we still end up having to do those things we really don't want to do. There are so many days when I wish I could just go back to missionary life - yeah! I'd even trade in my Wal-Mart for a million tiny corner stores that don't have what I need. But this is where God has us now...I don't know why yet. May not ever know. He brought us here, we're just being obedient. There are awesome benefits to where we are, don't get me wrong. But now I realize what we had when we lived outside the U.S. I really wish I would have been able to recognize how incredible our life was when we were in the thick of it. Thanks for being honest! I'm not going to promise that going back will be easy or that you'll suddenly have a moment where you feel like what you are sacrificing is worth it. But I will say that God can and will and is teaching you so much through your struggle with obedience. And you are totally normal:-) I think we can all identify with you whether we are missionaries, ex-missionaries, or not missionaries at all. Life just isn't always what we imagine it will be! Praise God for His Grace as we go through seasons in life we'd rather skip! I'm learning that the best thing to do is to live out the life He calls me to and keep my eyes on Jesus, not my circumstances or even my hopes or dreams for the future. (Yes, easier said than done!) I learned the hard way that we end up with lots of regrets when we spend our time concentrating on what we don't have instead of recognizing what we do have. You know you can do it, sister! Keep on keeping on.

Juliet said...

I think your honesty is great! I know when God has called me to something that intimidated me, the people who were always smiling and their attitudes were seemingly perfect made me feel like there was no way I could say yes to God. But those who let the vulnerability show and say those "unspeakable" things like "I don't want to" made me feel like maybe, just maybe, I could actually do it. Those who don't speak those things inspire others and I'm not saying they are wrong. I'm just saying that I'm inspired by those who say things like you just said :) Keep it up. Praying for you.

Wendy said...

You and Joel are our heroes for "giving your lives." Even when you don't want to, you do!
Thank you for keeping it real by sharing so much.
Praying for your precious family, for your future, for your strength.

DyessFam said...

Hooray for blurting! I love that you blurt. I am a fellow blurter and I can't imagine being able to just keep it inside. (When I try to do that, it usually ends up getting blurted out even more forcefully!:) Anyway, God bless you and give you peace and contentment wherever you happen to be! Also, I seriously have to second the fact that you have made a super impact on people all over the world through your blog! Amazing!! (By the way, I too have the nursery envy. Maybe someday?!)

Anonymous said...

Some days I struggle with "I DON'T WANT YOU TO!" I, too, long for the children to really know us and to have what our family has had with the children growing up together. I know you are not mine but God's. He might someday move you and Joel to a mission field around here. There are many needs. Anyway, know that I love you all and support you.

Ronnie and Leah said...

Wow. I'm totally there.
I don't WANT to be a mom anymore. It's too hard. These children drive me crazy!
Then, in the midst of it all, God reminds me that He didn't quit on me, so I can't quit on them. Or that my mom did quit on us, and that's probably why I don't know what to do now.
I have to rely fully on Him to get me through this, because, honestly, I don't like being a mom to 5 children.
Sure, I love my children. They are beautiful. They are fun to be around-individually. But, there are times that I just want to have Ronnie all to myself. I want my best friend all to myself. I don't want to share.
But God reminds me that if I remain faithful, the reward is so much better than the pain.

I love you, and we'll say extra prayers for you tonight!

The Brodines said...

Dearest Michawn....I love you...your honesty and your heart. God does too. He is pleased with you. He loves you deeply...I know you know all of this. I loved all you wrote and have at times felt some of those same feelings. It is SO TOUGH being away from family...countries away! Yet, I am sure through all of this you have grown to depend more on Him. The neat thing about it is that as time goes by you Brazil will become your "home" too and the Lord will provide a family that you also will never want to leave. He is so faithful and good to us! I will be praying for you and your fam!

Ali said...

I love your honest heart! Process on girl! Great analogy with Grady not feeling like napping!

Just as a "lollipop from God" I'm going to pray that with your next baby you get to have an awesome nursery no matter where God has you and Joel living!

~ Ali