Sunday, September 28, 2014

Goodbye, little box. Don't come back now, you hear?

The other day, we received an email from our mission director.  Our work permits have been approved by the government in our mission country.  We should have our visas in hand and be able to buy plane tickets around October 8th.  I need to keep in mind how I felt when the husband read me that message.  I smiled, high-fived the husband, and felt genuinely happy and maybe even a little excited.

I need to keep this memory fresh, because now my doubts are taking over.  There is quite a bit going on in my family right now.  Am I okay with leaving everything during this crucial time?  Perhaps this is God letting me know that He will handle it all and I need not worry.  Then again, our foreign mission is a ministry of presence.  Is my presence there more important than me being present to my family?  Is it really a matter of one being more important than the other?  

When I play out these two scenarios in my mind (staying home vs. going on mission), I feel more at peace when I think about leaving.  I am honestly not sure why this is.  I have written before about discerning whether what I hear is God's voice.  According to my research, God is asking me to trust Him in a radical way.  

During our retreat with the SDBs (Salesian priests and brothers), we had an opportunity to go to confession.  My tendency to hold back a little bit of myself in serving God and others had been weighing heavily on my heart.  I told the priest that I did not want to keep doing this, but I was scared of letting go completely.  He smiled as if he knew exactly what I meant and encouraged me to jump into the arms of God's mercy.  "You can do this," he said.  "You've done it before.  You guys got married young and probably didn't know what you were doing, but you trusted God and jumped in.  You have a wonderful husband and a beautiful marriage.  Don't be afraid.  Be bold for God.  He's got you."

In that confession, God blessed me with the grace to let go of that last piece of myself.  Before, it felt as if I kept a little box sealed tight in my chest.  Now, that box has been flung open and tossed into the wind.  I feel free.  Yet, even with this incredible blessing, I still battle fear and trepidation.  I have said yes to God, but I am a little frightened to find out precisely what that means.  I hope I continue to open my heart to God and not to seal up that box again.

I thank God with every breath that He has blessed me with my husband.  This man shows me every day what love is, who God is.  I am blessed to have someone to encourage me along this uncertain path and to remain firm when I try to stray from what we both know to be right.  By simply being himself, he teaches me how to love God.  I must trust his goodness, love him without reserve, and rejoice in his presence beside me.  

Now, don't sit there and think, "Wow, I wish my marriage could be perfect like that."  Allow me to dust the stars from your eyes.  Our marriage is far from perfect.  We have to overcome our own faults every day to create a loving home.  Many conversations begin with "AAAARRRRGGGHHHH," and end with, "I'm sorry."  Yet, he is my vocation - my road to Heaven.  I am better with him than without him.  

Thank you to all who are praying for us as we prepare for mission.  Please keep all the other SLMs in your prayers as well.  We are all facing unique challenges in this journey.  Let us pray also that all people may discover their vocations and that God may bless them with peace as they find their way.

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