March 21st, 2015
Today I gave up on my dream of taking my family on a mission trip.
It all started yesterday when we decided to take the kids to the Children’s Museum. Because it’s about an hour away from home, and super expensive, we only go about once a year. We wanted to make sure we got the most out of our day, so we knew we would have to skip nap-time to give the kids plenty of time to play. Everything went amazingly well until we announced it was time to go.
Connor threw himself down on the floor and attempted throwing his first fit. Honestly, it was a pretty pathetic attempt and I wasn’t even sure what was going on at first. So, I snapped a quick picture for the baby book (isn’t that what every mom does?), and then bribed him to the car with promises of going out for ice-cream. A tactic reserved for special days only.
The rest of the evening was a little rocky for both kids because they were so worn out, but we managed to make it to bedtime without any major issues.
Then morning came.
My kids don’t sleep in. They are completely broken and no matter what time they go to bed the night before, or how tired they might be, they will ALWAYS wake up at the same time every single morning. So, Jenna and Connor were both tired, cranky, and grouchy when they woke up. Evidently the previous day still had them tired out.
Now, at the risk of sounding like a bragging mom, my kids are normally very well-behaved. They are not perfect, but they have great character, manners, and are mostly obedient. But when they are tired (or hungry), all that goes out the window. They transform into bickering, disobedient, cranky maniacs. And that was what happened this morning. Everything was a fight and a struggle. Bath-time was horrendous, changing diapers was a wrestling match, and horrid attitudes abounded.
I realized that if we were to go on a mission trip, we would be dealing with hours of travelling, time zone changes, and jet lag. My children are like Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to sleep deprivation. Why did I ever think this would work?! My kids can’t even handle the day after the children’s museum, why did I think they could handle flying across the world and living in a foreign place for a few weeks?
The bigger issue was that I felt like I can’t do this. I have a hard time not getting upset and frustrated at my kids when they’re acting like this. Imagine if I were dealing with jet-lag and exhaustion on top of it. What was I thinking? I had disillusioned myself into thinking I could manage this trip, but reality was screaming at me in the face.
I sent Cory a text message letting him know we were having a rough day at home, but even more than that, I realized going on a mission trip was just a dream and that I was feeling really “bummed out” about it.
That night, after the kids were sleeping peacefully in their beds, Cory sat down with me to talk about everything that was going on. I told him I realized a mission trip was a crazy idea and on and on. He patiently listened, and then told me he had just finished reading something with Connor and wanted me to look at it. He said as he was reading it, he realized it was just the thing I needed to hear. He handed me his phone and it was open to the story of Moses and the burning bush on the kids Bible app.
The simplified version said this: “The voice of God spoke from a burning bush. “My people are suffering, Moses. I have chosen you to free them.”
“I can’t!” Moses cried.
“I’ll help you,” God promised.
And then Moses continued with his reasons for why he wasn’t the right person for the job. But in the end he decided to do what God asked of him.
The simple story spoke volumes to my heart. There are so many “reasons” I can’t go on a mission trip. Depending on where we go, I might not speak the language, the food might make me sick, or some other unknown issue. My children are still very young and very needy. What if something awful happened to us there? I am just an average person. What do I have to offer in such a short amount of time?
Cory reminded me that if God is asking us to go, He’ll take care of the problems. It doesn’t mean it will be easy. In fact, the majority of the Bible tells of things people had to do that were very difficult or uncomfortable.
Serving as missionaries with kids will most definitely be a challenge. Sometimes going to the grocery store with kids can be a challenge! But just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean you don’t do it. And more importantly, just because something seems difficult, doesn’t mean it’s a “sign from God” that you shouldn’t do it.
I told Cory he was crazy because this was his perfect chance to be talking me out of doing this, but instead, he was supporting me and encouraging me just like he always does. I don’t know if we’ll go soon, in ten years, or never. Perhaps this is just God’s way of challenging me and it will never come to fruition. All I know is, I’m not giving up yet… But I may be praying that He’ll wait to have us go until we get through the terrible two’s phase!