I just woke up to the sounds of what sounds like 20 dogs howling outside my window. Is that the wind or dogs? I hope one of the two. I could hear doors slamming down the hall and life beginning outside these walls–so with all the noise as it was so quiet at night, I was sure I overslept. Jumped up to see what time it was as today isn’t a day I’d want to oversleep on–and it’s just 4am. Wow. Life here begins early I guess. And today–life will forever change for our family and for a precious little boy who doesn’t know or love me yet…but who I’d fly around the world for and for whom my heart is convinced it already deeply loves as much as a mommy could love a son.
We had hoped we would get to start paperwork at 9ish like past groups–but when we got our itinerary, it just said that it would be closer to 1pm, and it would be approximately 1 hour to complete before heading to Hannah’s Hope. We are 6 hours ahead–so I’m guessing 2pm here will be 8ish am back home (that is if my jet-lagged brain is doing the math correctly;). I can’t believe today is the day…and especially with Rich not being here—there isn’t a detail I want to forget…
After arriving we packed ourselves and tons of suitcases and donation bags in a small white hotel van. As we drove down the road–I felt such a sense of “this is home” in my veins. Third world countries stir something in my heart like no other places in the world. I believe–they do the same in our Savior’s heart as well. Sure countries and places we visit for vacations and leisure travel declare the glory of God and his handiwork–but so do third world countries. They also reveal our lack of loving as the Lord loves…as we deserve no more than they do.
We, Americans, live so differently. We are really good at being comfortable–and even expecting it. We like comfort. Air conditioning. Upgrades on appliances. We cook for pleasure more than need. Yet-while we live in comfort (and often FOR it as well)-all while the REST of the world…lives and breathes much, much differently. We get to a hotel or restaurant–and if everything isn’t perfect, we complain, threaten and expect to be reimbursed. Of course we do this politely and might not say we expect something back–but we really do, don’t we? And really–we just don’t know any better.
We also think it’s okay, and we deserve. Who am I to deserve? Do I really think that it’s possible to work for something and deserve something just because I “earned” it? We just don’t know any better. This is how we have been taught and raised…raised by our culture–and until we step outside our culture and ourselves it’s hard to see that really–we don’t deserve anything. And while we point fingers at poverty stricken cultures and come up with our brilliant solutions and say it is they that don’t know any better—really, we are just as guilty as we often forget that it may be the LORD’s brilliant solution– for us to give up some of our daily comforts to bless them. And just maybe it could be what the LORD has given THEM to bless US.
Bless us? Given them?
Yes. We have much to learn from the 3rd world countries that we often forget to visit. (James 1:27) How they give up a month’s wages to serve a guest and do without so another could be blessed…trying to make us feel special and to serve us no matter the cost it will mean to them. Stand back in small, dirty, hot church in one of these countries–and watch the people with what we consider to have nothing put their hope in God and dance before the Lord declaring their joy and trust in Him. Dance before the Lord? Oh Andrea-you are getting crazy on me. But really? Have you read the Bible? We go to church and get dressed up…or chose not to go because we don’t have anything to wear…yet–we often forget to go and dance before the Lord. So much we can learn. Seeing them sitting together in their huts–with no place to go…but having time for one another and developing relationships instead of busy agendas…barefoot children laughing and running about…playing with paper airplanes and their own invented toys. SIMPLE. There is so much to learn from 3rd world countries–and my heart often wishes it could be a place like this where we could raise a family.
But instead…we have been called to a city in the South–where soccer moms and tennis skirts abound…and to figure out how to live in this world but not of this world…to focus on relationships rather than putting my kids in the best of everything…to prepare them more for the kingdom of heaven rather than an ivy league school or future career on earth. Now–let me add–there is nothing wrong with soccer moms and tennis skirts…unless by doing them it keeps my focus off what life is really all about or if takes up more time than serving others.
And now…in this culture–our day here begins. I pray I can soak up every detail to share with Richard and one day with Isaac. I pray we can forget about our lack of comforts and rejoice in what really does matter in this world. I pray the Lord would build in me today and make me a mom who raises our children to live in this world but not of it. And I pray that my children’s hearts would also beat for countries like these. Yes, something about it does say “welcome home”…not sure if that’s because my son is from here or because the Lord loves these people so much and longs for us to love them like He does.
Off to prepare my heart for all that today brings. And to think the next time I share–there will be a baby sleeping in my room. It feels so surreal that he will REALLY be ours…truly he is a gift from the Lord! WE are the ones blessed getting to grow our family in this way. What a joy and privilege. May you each have a blessed Sunday spending time with Your Savior and your sweet family. May it be focused, intentional, peaceful and joyful.