After my first trip to Zambia four years ago, I received several surprising comments from people who would ask me about my trip. They were from other moms, asking me HOW in the world I could leave my children to go to Zambia. How could I risk making my kids orphans to go see orphans. Wow.
How could I do this???
Because I serve an Almighty–AMAZING God…who loves the little ones across the world as much as me. Only many of them do not know it yet…and because I believe in His Word…because I believe His Word is true…because I believe His Word was written for me (and for you)…I make the choice to follow it and live it.
His Word tells us as believers to GO.
I believe the Great Commission given from Jesus was to me–because I am a Jesus follower…I really believe it was for me. Right now. Right where I am. Whether it’s easy, convenient, affordable…it’s for me.
Matthew 28 The Great Commission: “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them ina the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Going–for me…is not easy. But after I go–I realize WHY He called us as believers in Christ to go.
I realize why all of my former excuses are null…
I can’t afford it…yet I serve a God who has a limitless supply. Creatively selling tshirts, taking pictures for families, little fundraisers here and there…and He has provided…because He desired to do something not only through me–but IN my heart in going. He wanted to not only show me how He provides–but to grow my faith in His provision. He wanted to call others to be a part of my journey through supporting me…to draw them in and minister even to them through the stories that would be told and encouraging them in how He used their own faith in giving to make it possible. What if I had allowed “I can’t afford it” to walk away…and wait until it was more affordable (I’ll go ahead and break it to you…mission work is never affordable.)
I have little children…I’ll wait until they are bigger…they need me right now…I can’t leave them. I searched scripture to find ONE verse that would offer me a pass on this one. But there is more about going…more about putting Him first and going to the nations than putting my family first. I have to wonder–do I teach my children more by never going–or do I teach my children more by going and returning to explain to them what I saw, what God did and how we can plan to help them on my next visit as a family?? My kids could NEVER make it that long without me…and I could never make it that long without them… For some this is a really difficult thing–so maybe taking a family mission trip is the answer. OR maybe considering the precious 5 year old that has to make it a lifetime without a mommy while mine just make it without a week or two while I love on littles that need a mommy’s hugs for just one week in their lives. Who BETTER to go give hugs and a mother’s love than mothers themselves?! I think it makes perfect sense for moms to go for this very reason!
I will tell you this. I had a precious mom email me who is about to go full time as a missionary to Zambia with her whole family. She has to leave for a 1 week training and sit in classes and leave her little ones while she goes. I think this sounds SO HARD…because to be honest–I am absolutely miserable leaving my kids for ONE night here in the states–especially if it was to sit through classes. (My encouragement to her would be to use this time to really connect with her husband before taking her family to the nations to serve him longterm.) But I have to confess…put me on the streets in Africa for a week or two…and my heart SINGS. (You can NOT compare how you feel leaving your kids for a night or two in the states and assume it will feel the same going to Africa! God will do a miracle in your hearts as you follow Him to serve–and a miracle in your children too…I promise!) Of course I still miss my children–but I have to tell you the Lord blesses your heart and does a mommy miracle in it when you GO to the nations as His Word tells us to do as believers. I KNOW my little ones are okay…they are MORE than okay while I am gone. They are more than just fed and safe…they are some times even spoiled. And as I hold that 10 year old girl who spent 3 nights in the streets and wipe tears from her eyes–as I felt her go limb in my arms knowing it had been years since she felt a mother’s hug–I rocked her as if she were a baby and the tears fell harder…and I have to tell you–in that moment…I didn’t miss my 4 children. I knew this is where God called me to be in that moment…she needed a mother’s heart–and one who had children who would understand and cry with her out of love for her. WHAT if I had allowed “I have children…they are too young…I can’t leave them” let me wait for another time or walk away???
My husband can’t take off work for that long…we don’t have family nearby that can babysit for that long…the legistics are way too hard to figure out… Some how 4 years ago, Rich and I pulled off going together. But now, we rotate so one of us can stay back with the children. It’s just what works for us. I’ll say though–it’s a bit more challenging for me to go. BECAUSE…all of the excuses up there…those are us. Richard CAN’T take off work for that long. While we have family that can help here and there–our childcare is super splotchy when I go…enough to make this mom crazy IF I WERE HERE;). I hate to ask for help–but I bravely ask a few Sunday school friends for day time help a day or two so Richard can go to work. I’m surprised when they are excited to serve our family and be a part of our trip in this way. (HE provides!) Family helps a couple of days here and there. Rich takes off a couple of days here and there. Get a sitter here and there…and it’s done:). I hold my breath walking out the door and tell the Lord I trust Him and to PLEASE protect my babies:). I come home to hilarious stories, big hugs, a sweet 1 year old that learned how to say “chicken fangers” and a 2 year old that says, “Frank baby go to Arica with you nest time mommy”. Yes, they miss me–but a day or two home and honestly, not a beat is skipped.
I think about the 350 third graders up to secondary school kids who I got to worship with at the conference. The widows that danced as we told them of God’s great love for them…that we didn’t come on our own doings but on HIS guidance…because they are NOT forgotten. He has a plan for their lives. Together–we danced. They are changed. But honestly, I’m more changed.
I think about the orphan…whose mom probably also felt in her last breaths here on earth “I can’t leave them!!!” and she cried out to the Lord to please protect them. What if that was ME? What if those children were MINE? What if I really believed in my last moments that the Lord really would protect them…and He’d even be so faithful to send moms from across the world to clean their hands…kiss their cheeks and remind them how loved they are?! What an HONOR to be able to be used in this way as mommies!!! What if I let worry about childcare and legistics keep me from going?
Without my going…truly–life here would still just be the same. But this mom–has come home once again completely changed. And the amazing thing…is to watch in our conversations at home–how our children are also changed in the process too. OF course my children are my mission field–but that can not be used as my excuse NOT to go. If our children really are our mission field then as parents–shouldn’t we live lives following Christ to the ends of the Earth and modeling how to live the Great Commission??? I believe He not only calls us to go…moms and dads…students and kids…grandmas and grandpas…no matter where you are to go–so we, too, will be changed. I believe He calls us as believers to go to the nations not only for the nations…but because He loves us way to much to just leave us like we are in our ‘keepin up with everyone else’ culture–and to be different. And there is something about being in the nations–that changes your heart completely…as a wife, as a friend, as a mom, as a daughter of the King.
I don’t feel called to go. Well, I don’t always feel called to go to Target. But I go. I go because we have a need–and I know I can be used to fill it. And as the mom in our home…Richard or I are the ones that are supposed to go. If I can’t go–then I send Richard. And when he can’t go, he sends me. In God’s Word, He tells us as believers to go to the nations. He wanted us to be the ones going and serving and loving through Him. And I’m so thankful he didn’t exempt mommies from those instructions.
Because…until I went…I had no idea what I was missing…
I had no idea how I’d be changed…
I had no idea that I could love a child across the world JUST as much as the children in my home…
I had no idea that when I visited Muami’s house to deliver peanut butter for a source of protein when there was no food…and I put little Muami’s headband on her head and told her she was a little princess that my voice would crack when I said the word princess because I loved her so much…so often I have said those words to my daughter…but oh how she, too, is His little princess…
Another mom who went on a trip earlier this year told me she was confronted by a friend and Christian mom at the pool…who felt her going to serve in Zambia and leave her children was wrong. BUT the more I process my going…I can’t come up with one good reason NOT to go any more…and a million beautiful little reasons I can’t afford NOT to go. And if years come when I am truly not able…I pray the Lord will not allow my heart to become hardened and instead keep my heart soft for His children who need to hear the gospel, who need a mother’s hug and who need to be reminded they are not forgotten. And I pray when I can’t go–that I will support and help those who can.
The next trip is around the corner…and another next year…and the next and next. I challenge you to join us…or to find a place to go and serve. ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE A MOMMY. Life is just too short not to spend it serving!!!
Trust Jehovah Jireh to provide as you go…or look for ways you can help another go–or help with the ones they left behind as they followed. How beautiful it is to see the body of Christ as they serve the world together!