Do you ever have moments that while they are happening you are just continually grateful for them? For people in your life who continue to speak truth to you and you cherish the times spent with them. Because the truth is that those people can be rare. We had some of those times recently. We had the opportunity to spend Christmas with my (Tara) family and then a weekend with my parents this last weekend. What a blessing! We have not seen my parents since my sister’s wedding last December. We had such a good time catching up, spending time talking, eating and Wade and Dad drinking too much coffee. The usual happenings. This was the first time that my parents were able to meet Aislinn. And she crawled!!! So special for them to be here during a milestone and get to see it in person rather than from a computer screen. Spending time with family has made me think through some things. But the thought of saying goodbye AGAIN has particularly been on my mind a lot.
Since I was a teenager a huge part of life has been goodbyes. You don’t have to read too many MK books or TCK (third culture kid) books to realize this is a common theme. Unless the Spirit of God is working in your heart, this can really mess you up!! Trust me, I know. So now thinking about going back into missions as a mother why on earth would I want this life for my own children? Obedience and Love. I want my life to be so marked by faithfulness and obedience to the Lord that my children will see that and that the Lord would use it to bless their lives. I have received blessings in my life by faithful and hard choices my parents made. And second, love. Yes Wade and I loved our work in South Africa and we loved living there. But there are lots of things I don’t love about it. There are a lot of challenges to sharing the gospel and living life there. I don’t miss the anxiety that comes with living in a high crime area. I do not always miss the heaviness of working with impoverished people where daily decisions make or break. Yes there are parts of life in South Africa that I love. But that is not why I am content to put my family into this. Its because I love the Lord.
“The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.” (Ps. 29:3-4). I know the God I am serving. I know His voice. And I know what he has asked of me. Even in spite of the cost, how can I not follow?
I used to think that one day goodbyes would get easier. But they really don’t. I used to think that I had to ignore how hard they were so that I could be strong. That somehow that would make it better. It didn’t. It seemed easier to bow out of relationship rather than have to say goodbye. The Lord has taught me so much about goodbyes over that last 13 years of being an MK to now again going back onto the field with my own family. I have learned to grieve the loss and mourn over the times that will not be shared together. During this time with my parents Finnegan saved up all the change he could find to take my Dad (his Papaw) out for ice cream. He had so much fun being with them for a couple of days. And I loved watching them love on my kids. I have learned thats its okay to mourn the ice cream times that will not happen over the months to come. And deeply miss the lazy afternoon chats with my Mom.
There have been times where the sacrifice of missions has seemed too much. But through God’s word and continual caring of my spirit He has shown me that there is nothing to great to sacrifice for Him. Truly, what an honor to give all that we have. His love toward me was so great that when I was dirty and living in sin He chose me. Jesus loved me. Christ died for me! What can I possibly offer that would be greater than this. And now spending time with my parents, having been reminded of the fact that now going into full time missions this is our life and reality. We will be saying goodbye to all of our family and friends here in the States to go back to South Africa. We will be welcomed by good friends and family there but will also grieve the times missed here with family. Please continue to pray for our family as we pursue this calling and ministry. Psalm 31:3 is my prayer for us right now. “Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me”.