Sometimes I like to sit down and just see what flows from my heart to my finger tips. Writing is like an extension of myself. I am not sure I would be able to think clearly without writing. It is a gift. There have been moments when I have sat down and written so fast, so furiously that my fingers cramped and ached when I was done, but it is in those moments when I feel alive. When I get it all out and on paper. I have been like that for as long as I can remember. There have been few days in my life, since I was old enough to grasp journaling and writing, that I have not written something. I am thankful for this outlet.
So, as I sit here in my dark, quiet home, I am just going to write. It's not thought out or planned or purposed. I am not sure how it will end or when. It is not written for anyone. I am not even sure if this will be one of the posts that make it onto the blog. I'm just trying to untangle the thoughts in my heart.
It was really hard to say goodbye to Jim. Harder than saying goodbye to my children when we went on our two trips to Ethiopia (and that was hard). It's just that we are so connected I guess. We do everything together, and both of us love being together and doing life together. We are such a team when it comes to parenting, and he has left a huge void here. Although, I must say my children have been really resilient and really well behaved. We have had fun together. This is the longest Jim and I have ever been apart since being married. I believe the record before this was four nights. This is eleven. Now that I think about it, most of our dating years were spent at the same college, and even though we lived in different towns, we always managed to see each other over our school breaks. I am guessing this is the longest we have gone without seeing each other in probably 13 or so years. It is weird.
But it is worth it for the sake of the gospel. It is worth it to know that while Jim did leave his family for a bit, he is sharing Jesus' love and the gospel. I truly believe that God is pleased with this. It is worth the sacrifice to know that their may be a kingdom increase because he was obedient to the Spirit pressing on him to take this trip.
If the Lord has put a particular people group on your heart, do not delay in your obedience to GO. (Project 61)
This knowing, that it was God leading, and that we would rather be smack dab in the center of God's will than anywhere else, is the only thing that gave my heart peace as Jim stepped out of our door for another country. Jim went for the sake of the gospel. I stayed here for the sake of the gospel. Everything should be for the sake of the gospel. The gospel is all that matters, because without it where would I be?
Not only is Jim getting the opportunity to share the gospel, and to be the hands and feet of Jesus alongside various ministries in Ethiopia (Ministries such as FashionABLE , Mark 10:14 , and Children's HopeChest - Ethiopia), but he is also having a BLAST!
Doesn't this little sweetheart look like our Jamesy?! They must both be from the same region. I can't get over her cuteness.
Jim has also been able to spend time with Habtamu! Thank you for praying as Jim broke the news to Habtamu about adopting him. Jim said that he was very sad, but he was brave. I have not met a braver boy than he.
These photos do something to me that I cannot even describe. It is the weirdest thing to walk around here feeling as if I have a teenage son in Ethiopia. I asked Jim if Habtamu remembered me, and Jim just laughed.
He said Tiffany, he talks and asks for you - "Mom" - all.the.time. The feeling is mutual. How God can bind hearts like that must be supernatural. I just have no other way of describing it.
Here he is, my beautiful, brave, teenage son, who lives across the ocean.
I still want him home, but I am trusting in God's perfect plan for Habtamu's life.
I have been searching God's Word intently, these past few weeks, regarding missions and the Great Commission. I grew up believing (and I actually think I was even taught this) that the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age".) was a mandate only for the disciples in Jesus day and then Super Special Spiritual Christians today with a special "calling" on their lives. But I cannot find anything in Scripture to back this up. Nothing Instead I am reading in the Bible that EVERY believer is called to spread the gospel to those who have not heard. I do not think we all have to move to Ethiopia or a foreign country, although I know that people think that I think this. But I do think we all must go somewhere to a place where there are people who have never heard. That seems to jump out in the Scriptures, and I have not found a loop hole that gives me an out, or any believer an out - even being a mommy (to read a great article on why even Mommies are called to go to all nations click here I really love her line about not always feeling called to go to Target, but she still goes. It makes me chuckle because that is the line I hear the most and have used the most in my own life.)
I will even step on toes and say that I think all believers should have a passport and be ready to go. I am amazed at how many pastors, here in America have never stepped outside of this country. Yes, they must shepherd their flock here, but what happens to them outside of their comfort zone, and the renewed passion they can carry back to their people is immeasurable and very valuable to their ministry here at home. I am ashamed that it took me 31 years to go outside of our country, and it was only necessity that I went at first, until God exploded my world and opened my very blind, very foolish eyes.
I am not going to go as far as to say that we all must go on a trip outside of America (although I will say we all must be ready and willing), but this verse does leaves me uneasy, because I know that there are literally countries around this world that have barely even been touched by the gospel. And we cannot say this about America - no matter how heathen we think America is - there is opportunity for people to hear the gospel everywhere in America - even on TV or the radio. This is just not true in other countries. There are people who have never even heard the name of Jesus or had opportunity to hear.
And thus I aspired to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man's foundation; but as it is written, 'They that had no news of Him shall see, and they who have not heard shall understand'. (Rom. 15:20-21)
I know that there are many, many that will not agree with me on this, and that is okay (please be kind though and back up your reasons with the Word of God if you feel led to share your reasons). I am really still working and praying through all of this myself. I am not a biblical theologian or any kind of expert.
I am leaning towards the thought process that God wants us to share (verbally) the gospel where we are everyday, and then he also wants us to GO and share the gospel with those who have never heard - which probably (but I am not definite on this) means another country. So, I am really starting to see the value in (properly done) short term mission trips, and I am seeing that they are not "just for teens". Again, I am just beginning to really get a handle on any of this. It's foreign to me because of how I grew up.
I guess that is what I am pondering tonight and begging God to give me clarity. I have miles to go in this journey of sanctification. I promised myself that my next blog post was going to be light and fluffy. So much for that.
As always thankful for grace.