As I sat there rocking him, tears poured down my face in buckets. Buckets.
The question was rolling over and over again in my mind, “What is this love I feel?”
I felt love deep. True. Connected. Not the “I just met you and you are sweet” type love. Not the “oh my heart breaks for you because you have less than I do” love. It wasn’t that at all. It was something new.
The John 15:17 type love “This is my command: love each other.”
Would you be shocked if I told you didn’t even know his name? All I know is that little two year old boy was crying for his older brother who wasn’t around at the moment and I scooped him up like I scoop up my own sweet babies.
With his head on my shoulder I sang him my mommy songs and his tears faded into a gentle deep sleep. At that moment, as he slept on me, I felt heaven come to earth in the way that I’ve only experienced a few times before.
Those children were amazing children. They were grateful, they were content, they were excited about the small things. I found myself immediately endeared to them because they were so different from children here.
I know it is so tempting to come back from these trips, give people pats on the shoulder and say “so sweet of you to give back to those less fortunate!” And they would be right. Yes, they have much less than we do.
Some without electricity.
Some without running water.
Some with family on other islands who have died or been killed.
But it was I who felt less fortunate. I am still wading through this feeling.
How can I feel less fortunate? I’ve been given so much?
But mine is a poverty of heart. A heart that walks through the aisles and roads of this life back home as if the lives behind the faces do not exist. For one whole week there were no phones, no computers, no social media, no television. Just people. I saw them for them.
Listening to their stories, giving a loving word and offering a prayer. And not just Bahamians, but the team of people we went with.
I felt an “ah, this is what I wish life was like all the time.”
My daughter Faith was with us. She blew my mind. She loved, she worked, she ministered, she stepped out of her comfort zone. And me mommy? I just got the joy of riding alongside of her. I did not have to tell her where to go or what to do. I did not have to worry about entertaining her or making her happy. No, I had only to live with her on wherever her journey was taking her.
Also, the wonder of God’s creation seared into both of our hearts forever.
One night, we were watching the sunset over the Caribbean ocean. Gabe and Jan, the amazing missionaries who live there, challenged us to sit quiet. With God and watch the sunset.
As the sun went down below the surface of the water, Kazia a sweet Bahamian young woman on our team, started singing “Oceans” in the most beautiful voice you have ever heard. If you know my story you know that this song carries deep meaning to my family and I. It became overly clear once more that God knows us. He loves us. He is watching and caring even when we might have lost sight of Him.
I had the joy of leading the teen girls at camp. We laughed, we cried, we braided hair. One day we played capture the flag and I’m telling you, something got into me. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been pregnant or nursing for 10 years and finally felt bodily freedom. Or just maybe it was because my competive juices got flowing, but I was running my face off stealing that flag. Could I have been embarrassing myself? Possibly. Did I pee my pants? I will plead the 5th on that one. But my team went undefeated and the teen boys were looking at me quite confused at my sudden onset of capture the flag abilities. There was a Bahamian young man Branden on our team that Faith and I grew to love and I said to him, “It’s not in the legs, it’s in the heart!”
I don’t care to follow by rules anymore. I just want to run the race of my life with heavenly heart, regardless of whether my legs will fail me or not. I don’t care if I’m old, have a million little kids to take care of, and live on an American conveyor belt that tells me I have to live a certain way. This trip gave Faith and I a taste of God’s goodness that I think our entire family wants more of.
I don’t have a pretty little bow to tie this one up in. Honestly, I am struggling daily to understand what to do with the stirrings that God placed in us. This is what I do know: God IS doing some stirring.
Is God stirring anything in you? Do you have these undefined feelings that won’t leave you be? Do you sense God calling you to something but you don’t know what it is?
I am there with you too friend. Will you sit with me here? In prayer and in hope that God will finish the work He began in us? May we finish this race together and May we finish it well.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1