It is a quiet Sunday morning, and I am up before my kids. The sun is filtering through the window over my shoulder in a delicious way, and I am sipping on a cup of tea lovingly prepared for me by my husband. I love being up in the early-morning quiet. The Lord seems nearer when we are still. "Be still, and know that I am God." Yes, Lord. Thank you for these times.
I also love having a cup of tea... the feel of the warm mug in my hands (even on a hot morning, like today), the sense of the "earthiness" when you breathe in the smell as it comes close to your nose and mouth, the surprise of what "flavor" I've been made on any given morning or evening. I love black teas, herbal teas, exotic white or green or red teas... we have quite a collection, and I love every one of them.
This morning I've been praying for some dear friends who are heading to the mission field. They are currently living life in preparation for their future long-term "heading to the mission field" as he completes a medical residency here in the US. But they are now - more immediately - preparing for a short-term "heading" next month, to Haiti. I've been both convicted and encouraged by my friend's words in a letter she sent last week:
Lord willing, one day after residency, we hope to transplant ourselves longterm. And then I think, my life will be basically similar to what it looks like now. The way I do my work and the way we get our food and all may be quite different!!! But essentially, I'll still be a stay-at-home mother/wife. "Ministry" there will be much like it is here. I'll visit with other moms (maybe more unbelieving moms then) and maybe teach a music class or two for moms and their children. In essence though, we just move our life to a different culture. I won't all of a sudden start working outside the home to "minister." I am fully content in the calling of motherhood as I feel it now. My little ones are my ministry and my greatest mission field. SO With that mindset, I go to Haiti. We go as a family because we need the "practice" and the perspective. We need to see and hear and smell first-hand the desperate poverty of the two-thirds world as a family to renew our long-term vision.
Another reason we feel called to go AS A FAMILY is that we firmly believe that people need to see Christ-centered families. Husbands who love their wives with the Love of Christ, wives who honor their husbands with Christ-like submission, children who are learning the Word and how to pray. With so many single parents, children on the streets fending for themselves, orphans, God's plan for marriage and family needs to be witnessed. The cycle of dysfunction needs to be broken! One way we believe that can be challenged is by the sincere testimony of a family living together for the Lord --with all our flaws and failures --trusting in the blood of Jesus to cover our sins! That's true in the first world and the third!!
Her heart echoes mine; her desires parallel mine. I long to live in such a way - here, there, and everywhere - that we as a family challenge the contemporary life of frenzy and emptiness that so many are caught in... families who aren't really families at all, but merely resentful strangers living under the same roof - if they're still doing even that. I believe Christ redeems us and our lives and the world around us. I believe He is the answer for the pit that is divorce and pornography and teenage sexuality and rampant materialism and American isolationism and, and, and...
Oh, come, Lord Jesus! Keep us from complacency and disengagement because we've bought the lie that to live in grace means not to fight, not to labor, not to engage and confront and challenge the world and its worldliness - both within and without - with a bold humility, a humble boldness. Give us tenacity to fight the fight with our own flesh, and to love others enough to give them the hope of the gospel of grace, which we snuggle into, rest in, hope in, live. Teach us what it means to be "in the world but not of it," neither retreating from the world nor becoming indistinct from it.
Come, Lord Jesus! Impact Haiti because my friends have walked there. Impact Hampton Roads because we live here...