Thursday, 8 December 2011
Modeling a Heart After God
First, I have to share the good news: Thanks to you, Mercy for Mamas has raised over $2,000 in our Mother’s Day fundraiser. Do you know what that means? 285 women will have a safer birth because of you. 285 (or more!) children’s mothers will be one step further away from leaving their children orphans. Y’all are amazing. (And I don’t even say y’all.)
I promised you a story. I was talking about the apprehension any mother (or father) feels when they think about leaving their kids while they travel, particularly far away, and particularly for a longer period of time.
Of course, I’ve been there. I left my older two at home in the care of loving relatives for nearly a month when we went to get Benjamin last February. I’ve had many mamas tell me, “I can’t imagine doing that.”
And let me tell you: I know. I couldn’t either. But we did it, I’m home, and we are richer for it. And now I’m going back.
Here’s a story for you:
Sometime last fall, a crazy, never-thought-I’d-do-it dream was born. I wanted to write a book.
So I started getting up at stupid-o’clock in the morning to write before the littles were awake. And my daughter, my beautiful, creative 8-year-old, is an early riser. She could be in my office as long as she was quiet, but she asked me about what I was doing every morning in here.
She was so thrilled that I was writing a book. (Although now that it’s been a few months since I started, she’s a little annoyed that it’s not published and in hand yet. She’s got a few things to learn about the publishing world.)
And do you know what she did? She started writing a book, too. Each chapter was a page long and as she worked, she taped them all together, end to end (that girl and tape have a love affair). It’s about a meadow, and a deer and her fawn, and a girl named Alison, and at some point some “bad gyes” come on the scene but their robbery attempt is thwarted by the deer. It’s both beautiful and kind of thrilling. Soon her book was longer than she is tall, and she’s still so proud. She wrote a book, just like her mama.
And guess what? She’s going to watch me go to Uganda in the fall, and I’m going to keep her updated on everything I’m doing and the women and babies I’m meeting and I’m going to tell her their incredible stories. And I have no doubt that a seed of a thing is going to form in her, a desire birthed out of respect and love, and she’s going to want to do the same thing, too. One day (sooner than later), I hope to bring her to Africa with me.
Because for better or worse, these tiny people cannot help but want to be just like us. And that inspires me to live a more adventurous life. I want to model risk-taking that’s worth it. I want to show her what crazy love looks like in action. She already loves Africa, and I want her to fall head over heels in love with God’s children all over this world so she’s inspired to serve them and learn from them and listen when God is whispering to her about his Great Big Plan and how she’s invited to be part of it.
So if you feel your heart pulled to come with me to Uganda this fall, but you think you couldn’t possibly leave your kids behind, remember that they’re watching your every move. Even if they outwardly protest (because of course they also think you exist only for them), you’ll be teaching them a lesson I’m not sure they could learn in any other way. Even if they’re too little to understand now, one day they’ll look back and realize that your mission wasn’t only to serve them in this life. That God’s family is bigger than they imagined. That there’s important work to do in the world, and we can be part of it if we take that first step and trust that Someone bigger will restore our lives more beautifully than we could have dreamed it.
If we show them a heart chasing after God, that same desire will be born in their hearts, too.
But even if this trip won’t work for other reasons, what will you do this year to show your kids God’s Big Beautiful World? How will you risk something by stepping out of the comfortable circles we draw for ourselves?