Then, I got married. And had babies. Lots of babies *wink*
We have 2 sponsored children from Africa. My heart breaks for them. I love them, even though I’ve never physically met them. I will one day, though.
In the busy-ness of life my desire to go on missions trips, specifically Africa, has been buried deep in my heart. So deep, at times, that I wondered if it was still there.
At the beginning of this year, Brad and I took some time to reflect on our current season and God’s goals for us.
My direction was clear: no more Laurel Haven Interiors (the furniture refinishing business I began last year), no more Bible studies. Specifically, He said no new commitment to anything on-going.
I felt this was for two reasons: First, I need to focus on my children and be available for them. Brad has more opportunities to travel than ever before and I need to be a constant for them. Second, there would be spontaneous opportunities for ministry that I needed to be available for.
A month or so ago, I became overwhelmed. We were in the midst of The Thorn, our Easter production. It seemed all I was accomplishing was a lot of driving kids around, picking up after everyone, washing clothes, cleaning out yucky lunch boxes from take-and-go dinners, running errands for my very busy kids and overly busy husband. I felt I was becoming an invisible, behind the scenes, under-appreciated enabler of my family.
That should be ok. And it is, 90% of the time. But every now and then I get frustrated and unsettled. I found myself asking, “Is this who I am now?”
Not to downplay the roles of wife and mother. I know they are a high calling. But I know that there is more in me. I know I have more to give.
On a rare evening at home, I vented to Brad. There I was, crying over dishes in the sink. “It’s not always easy to be Mrs. Brad Parsley!”
My poor, sweet husband. He wanted so badly to fix it and make me feel better. But he couldn’t. This was an issue of my heart. I know I’m being obedient by doing these things. And NOT doing other things. But even in my obedience, I was needing validation.
“Well, what is it you want to be doing? You don’t even know what you want to do…” He was right.
I began to question God, “Is there anything left in me? Do I have anything to give anymore? Anything besides changing diapers and doing laundry?”
Over the next 24 hours, God and I had an ongoing conversation. Sometimes He is so tangible, His voice almost audible. “You have missions in your heart. You have orphans in your heart. Those things aren’t Brad’s things. Those things are ME in you.”
I felt at peace. Ok. I can wait. I can be patient and wait 5, 10, 20 years. As long as I know those promises are in there, I will wait.
I told Brad that night that I had come full circle (He knows I always do…He is so patient with me).
Then, this last week, Brad called me. “It looks like one of the girls isn’t able to go on the (New Life School of Worship) trip to Uganda. Do you want to go?”
So I listened to the Lord’s instructions. I was obedient and trusting. And now, I am going to AFRICA to work with ORPHANS in one month!!
It couldn’t be more perfect. The trip is all planned, ready to go. All I had to do was say yes.
*Let me note that we took a couple of days and talked through and prayed about it. It’s a 2 week trip. That’s an eternity to a stay at home mom of 5 kids!!*
I know the Lord is pleased. I bet He was just giddy over His surprise for me. It’s like when I’m planning a surprise for one of my kids, but they start to question my plans. I say “Just trust me, I know what’s best,” knowing that they are going to be soo excited and pleased at my surprise. He is a great Father and He loves to surprise us, too!
If I had a bunch of furniture projects lined up, or some ongoing commitments to tend to, this trip would have been harder to accept. As things are, I can just say “YES!!”
I’M GOING TO AFRICA!!!!