Be nice. Read your Bible. Make a cute, happy life for your kids. I (Sarah) often behave like this is all that is required of us. I sometimes wish it were true. But I believe we are called to so much more. “Lay down your life.” “Heal the sick.” “Feed those who are hungry.” “Take care of orphans and widows.” “Go all over the world and tell others about Christ.” Me? I don’t know how to do those things! Besides, I am so busy with my 2 little kids at home, that I am not able to go anywhere!
I know it will be difficult. Not difficult like taking a hard test, or like staying up all night with a sick baby… but difficult like weeping in desperation, totally changing my perspective, ripping away everything. But I know that it will bring me closer to Jesus. (It already has, and I haven’t even done anything yet!) And isn’t that so much better than having all my stuff? And my job? And my house? And my extended family close by? (Can you tell I’m still trying to convince myself?)
But guess what: We aren’t the only ones who have done this. Man, there are hundreds and thousands of folks who have not only given a year to share the Love of Christ, but have given their entire lives. Husbands who never came home to their families. Children who grew up never knowing their grandparents. Mothers who gave birth to their precious babies in treacherous conditions… because God has an eternal perspective. Believe it or not, this life is not all about our kids! (Again, I so wish it were, because I often live this way and feel this way!) And all He’s asking us to do is give up a year?!
The Lord of the universe has blessed us with a nice home, cars, food, healthy babies, whole bodies, and mounds and mounds of stuff- and all He wants is for us to give up 1 year to serve Him. I don’t know why He blessed Nick and me with the perfect childhoods. I don’t know why He somehow makes sure we have money left over in our budget each month. I don’t know why He gave us these adorable, joyful, brilliant children!
But I just don’t think it is so we can hang out in our house and smile. I don’t think it is so we can give each other a kiss goodnight and say “Good job, Honey, we nailed the American Dream.” There has to be more. But what all does that entail? I guess that’s what we are about to find out.
Two things came to mind as I was trying to come up with a name for our blog. Fourever Faithful: cute, sweet, defining what we hold dear; and Freak Show: encompassing how we feel and what the world thinks of us. Nick and I have been a freak show for about 3 years now. I’d say we became freaks when we brought three special needs kids into our home (in a rainbow of colors, I might add).
We became even bigger freaks when we were blessed to welcome a baby from our own loins and, *gasp* allowed the 3 foster children to stay with us even after he was born! “Your children have to be the priority,” they said. “How will you ever have time for all four of them?” “Have you considered the safety of our own child?” “This is just too much.” Well, I was just not sure I agreed with those statements. (P.S. Those precious kiddos moved on to an adoptive home after ours.)
Yeah, I get it... OF COURSE, our own children are our first thoughts… always! Do you think that was not the first thing that entered my mind when we felt like God wanted us to move to Uganda? That is our human nature. However, God calls us to fight against our human nature. I searched the Bible for a verse that said, ‘Take care of others, but only after your flesh-and-blood children are as comfortable and as happy as possible.’ Or, ‘as long as your own kids are in the best programs and have the best medical care and are financially in the top 1% of the world, go ahead and take care of some other kids that might need your help.” It’s not in there. In fact, the Bible doesn’t really talk much about comfort, happiness, or safety. These things are not Jesus’ priorities. He tells us:
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:35-40
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Not only are we to love others, but we are to love them as if they were part of our own family! There are far too many verses to list that command us to put others above ourselves. But perhaps even more important than those, God tells us to follow Him. To do what He says to do. To OBEY. That is what we are doing.
Look, this was not our plan. Does ‘Move to some country we’ve barely heard of, with some people we hardly know, and quit our awesome jobs sound like a Nick & Sarah plan? We are not adventure-seekers. We are not risk-takers. We are not money-spenders. We are people who love to stay home, play games, eat good food, go for walks with our kids, and hang out at church. But we are also people who obey God.