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.