short days, lots of praise

It’s basically mid-November already. Part of me wonders how we got here so soon while another part of me wonders why it takes so long to get from October to April where cold and flu season can just be behind us.

We’ve learned that Levi may not actually have asthma, at all. He does, however, have an inability to fight respiratory infections and pneumonia. We gave him a shot to hopefully help but we don’t know if it has. He had low white blood cell counts and so we wait to learn if they’ve come up. Meanwhile, he’s battled two back-to-back illnesses better than he has in years, although we still needed to pull out the nebulizer. 

Long nights of watching, listening, waiting for morning. Many hours of praying over a small boy’s tired body, waking through the night, and then being fully present during the day for all the need heaped on me. 

It’s an exhausting place to be, and yet, I wouldn’t want to be any other. These are my people, this is my life.

Sometimes I love the fragility of our situation. As strange, and almost mean as that sounds, I’m grateful for the constant need that reminds me I can do nothing without Him. I can’t help Levi, or heal him, or even diagnose him. I can only do what I can do, by His grace, and trust God to do what I cannot. I’ve thought, more than once, that Levi has been afflicted in part, perhaps, to save his mother from her own self-sufficiency. 

Humbling. And it hurts a little. Yet, I’m grateful for the warrior he’s proven to be. 

Robbie is in Thailand, hence all the pictures from that beautiful country. (Including the one of the toilet RIGHT next to the tub-less shower!) He’s been there 8 days and won’t return for 3 more. I have small people missing him to the point of tears. To the point of wearing his clothes just to bridge the distance, if only a little. 

I stayed behind to hold down the fort. To keep mom-ing, and schooling, and cleaning, and cooking. I’m here to be the shoulder they cry on, the nurse they rely on, the intercessor they count on. But I’m also working through my own thoughts and emotions regarding Thailand. 

Because, in many ways it would be easier to just pick up and go now. It’s the thinking about it and planning for it and looking ahead to the separation from my oldest two boys that gets in my head. I swing from being excited (that’s a God thing, I tell you!) to crying tears at the prospect. 

I want to go now. I want to go never. 

The dichotomy of motherhood. Womanhood. Humanity, perhaps.

My heart is fully invested in my family. I’m all in and have never considered any other way. But with this new call, my prayers are all about how to connect the two callings on my life. How to be half a world away, ministering to people who don’t know Jesus, while not neglecting the very ones who are still looking to me for help and support as they continue their launch into adulthood. Into the “real” world, in all its broken glory. 

An extended text session with my husband this morning (well, it was nighttime for him!) gave me a glimpse into just how connected mission work in a foreign field is to the mission work of a home. This is what he texted me:

“The Thai custom is that the kids must respect the elders. They do this by letting the oldest be served first, all the way down to the youngest at meal time. The girls assist the mother in the kitchen when young and as they get older, they take turns doing the cooking and going to the market to buy the food. The boys help the father with everything and if he has to be gone, it’s up to the boys to maintain the garden/field and the things that need done around the house.

When foreigners come over, they watch to see how the families treat each other in the home. They need to see a difference between what they know and what/who Christ is and the people that live to proclaim Him. If they don’t see a difference then they will not care at all to hear what you have to say.”

We’ve been called to the mission field in a foreign land, this is true. But even truer is the fact that the work for that begins NOW. Honestly, it began at the inception of our family. The years of training that have taken place formed a foundation but now it’s time to really build on it. To look closely, as the inspector of a great structure would in order to ensure soundness. These weeks and months leading up to our departure must be spent preparing to be usable. 

I see cracks, gaps, holes, and compromise. In them and in me. Now is the time to fill them. Starting today, we’re going gospel intensive to learn who God truly is and how to reflect that in our individual lives. In the way we interact. In the way we deal with disappointment, adversity, pain, suffering, affliction. We will begin now to learn to adapt to some of the customs of this new culture we’ll be embracing, even while realizing the Thai people have much to teach us. 

Perhaps more than we can ever hope to teach them.

But our goal is to give them what can’t be taught but can only be shared … the love of Jesus. And it starts here, in our Americanized home, right in the midst of abundance. I’m praising God for the provision to make this “vision” trip a possibility.

Because the fact that it was, when it absolutely shouldn’t have been, is the answer to the prayer fleece we laid out when seeking confirmation that this calling was truly from the Lord. 

And amen.

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