Friday, February 7, 2014

You've Got One Shot

A couple years ago I was talking to a mom and she commented, "I mean we've got one shot with our kids."  This mom had more kids than me at the time and has been a mom a little bit longer so my ears perked up and I focused on what she was saying.  She continued, "I mean we've got one shot at them doing little league and ballet and having the kind of childhood we want them to have."  My heart sank and I tried to force my face into something amiable.  My man usually gives me a look if my face is expressing something rude.  She continued with something about our kids only being kids for so long but I tuned out and my brain went into overdrive.  What does that mean for what I'm doing??  She knew we were planning on moving overseas.  I'm moving their childhood far away and taking away all the "American Dream Childhood" of baseball and 4th of July away from them.  We of course considered our kids a ton in our decision to move overseas.  Our location choice was covered in prayer about going to a place where our whole family would thrive.

Now we're here, on the other side of the world, raising our crew.  The things we knew we would miss are a reality.  Figuring out school and friends and fun are all new and very very different than how my kids would be doing things in the states.  But none of the things that really matter in seeing our hopes and dreams for our kids are missing.  In fact, we are seeing that it's quite the opposite.

What we hope and dream and pray over our children is that they grow to love and follow Jesus.  We want them to be disciples that make disciples who make disciples.  We want Proverbs 22:6 to be true for them, that when they are old they will not depart from the way they should go.  We want them to make Jesus' command in Matthew 28 to go to the nations and make disciples their lifeline.

While we love baseball (one of my man's life goals is to visit every major league baseball stadium in the states), ballet (all dancing really, we frequently have a dance party to "Move it, Move it" after dinner), apple pie, and all those American pastimes, we don't need them to succeed at our "one shot".  Our kids are learning first hand that not everyone knows that "Jesus loves me".  At their precious young ages they are learning not only how to pray for the nations but how to live among other peoples and tell them that Jesus does loves them and came to rescue them.

There have been and will be some long hard days that come with living cross culturally, but we anxiously look forward to seeing the reward of seeing our little disciples being apart of their friends hearing the name of Jesus for the first time.  In fact, in this city our kiddos telling them might be their friend's one shot at hearing the truth of the gospel.  

A Broom, A Plumber & A Moped

Our house is a work in progress to make it functional and livable.  One of the handymen who practically lived with us for a few weeks happened to be a very conservative Muslim.  He did a great job fixing some problems we had around the house.

One day he was in our front outdoor area (I don't know what to call it?  It's all tile so I can't call it a yard..) working and my man was sweeping the never ending sand off our porch that the wind had so kindly blown on my clean clothes hanging out on the line.  Sand plus wet clothes equals one sad mama.    So my loving, servant hearted husband was helping me out with the never ending problem.  I was just inside doing school work with our girls and trying to stay out of sight but I could hear them talking.  About 10 seconds after my man picked up the broom the talking got louder and faster.  My limited arabic couldn't keep up.  The gist of the conversation was that my man should not be doing that….it's the wife's job and I'm pretty sure he suggested my man get a second wife to pick up my slack.  My man began to share with him what the Word says not just about a husband loving his wife but about God's love.  One of my girls asked what Daddy was doing and the other responded, "Telling that man about Jesus."

Later that day we needed a part we didn't have and our handyman offered a ride…on his moped.  So my man rode off on a tiny moped through the busy traffic with the handyman.  My instructions before he left were, "to please come back alive."  After they got the part the handyman took my man to get a coffee at one of the men's only cafes.  He extended the wonderful hospitality we love about this part of the world and opened a door to share more.  (Side note: I'll probably never get used to there being coffee shops I'm not allowed to enter because I'm female.)

While the language barrier was obvious, the example of my man loving and serving his family was evident without words.  This is a stark contrast to what the culture expects and sees every day.   Who knew a broom and everyday task would allow an opportunity to share truth?!  Pray for our handyman and many more opportunities to share truth!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Usually when people make a comment to me about the struggles of raising multiple small children my response is, "It sure is sanctifying!".  Children rip us of our greed and selfishness.  We can no longer put ourselves first…..or in my case second, third, or fourth.  I LOVE being a mom but I'll be the first to admit that  I would really love just one day to go by when I don't get interrupted using the bathroom.  Children are sanctifying.

But on our first night in our new home in our new country it was my 5 year old who humbled my heart by singing praises and giving thanks to our Lord while I was..well not.

We had been in our country for 4 days and had been staying in a hotel while our house got "ready".  So the day it was supposed to be done we checked out of our hotel and moved our humungo pile of luggage to a family's house who already live there and went about our day.  Well the landlord didn't produce the keys until after 9 that night.  In retrospect we should have just asked to stay at this family's house and move in the next day.  But we were told it was move in ready and it wouldn't be a problem.  So after taking one trip of luggage over our whole crew went to check it out.  My man dropped me and the kids off while he went to get the last load of luggage.  I looked around and it was sooo dirty.  Not like I'm being a clean freak (which I am kind of) it was like piles of dirt on the floor, globs of hair in the drain of the bathroom sink, old food in the kitchen sink, old/not washed sheets on the beds kind of dirty.  Not to mention there wasn't even a toilet seat.  (So there I was 7 month pregnant holding my 5 and 3 year old over the toilet trying to get them to pee).  After a few minutes of trying to move through our mountain of luggage to find sheets and towels and something to clean things with I melted into a puddle of tears in our girls' room.  I sobbed and got angry that we were thrown into this at 10 o'clock at night with three tired kids.  Trying to pull myself together a bit I pulled the kids in close and asked our 5 year old if she wanted to pray and thank God for our new house.  She enthusiastically did and this is what she prayed:

"Awesome God in heaven, thank you for our new house, thank you that it is big and that we have closets to hang our clothes in.  Thank you for the pink flowers on my wall and that we get to live in our new country.  In Jesus name, Amen."

As I was putting back together the pieces of my humbled heart, I looked around her room and above her door was the only beautiful thing in the whole house, pink flower stickers that she had immediately noticed and thanked God for.  I then prayed my own prayer of thanking God for my children and that when I was prone to wander  this verse rang true "Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise".