I Don’t Want To with a side of You Can’t Make Me !!!

I’ve felt like JoJo these last few days:  a toddler who rebels and throws a tantrum at the slightest resistance.  I must admit my sin nature has risen up more than once in my inner conversations with God.  I’ve raised my voice, rolled my eyes, and slammed doors…all without saying a word.  I’ve crossed my arms in defiance while turning my back as if to say, “I’m done listening.”  And while I appreciate those who’ve gone before us offering words of wisdom such as, “It’ll get easier.”…the fact remains, IT HURTS right now.  If West Africa wasn’t so hot, I’d lie in bed all day with my head under my pillow allowing myself to sulk as if I, myself, somehow could mend my broken heart.

But I can’t.  And honestly, I don’t want to.  I want to live in this tension of missing my first born and praising God for this amazing opportunity HE allowed.  Of wishing he was in the car with us as we travel and feeling that sting of incompleteness while at the same time imagining him surrounded by his buddies in the cafeteria.  Of watching the village kids playing soccer and wondering if Micah would’ve dribbled that kid while at the same time inwardly cheering him on as he plays for RVA! (Assuming he makes the team of course ) Of praying with the boys at night and saying “Goodnight, Micah” to myself and secretly hoping he hears me in his head 5,000 miles away before it hits the pillow.

I have a feeling this bittersweet tension is going to become our new way of life.  If God allows us to stay in our ministry in Burkina Faso, Elijah and JJ are gonna want to follow in big brother’s footsteps.  It was actually hard to pull them away from the school during this past orientation weekend!  The school staff and teachers were so genuinely committed to loving on the students and helping them reach their potential in all areas.  I just walked around, out of breath, up and down those Rift Valley hills,  with tissues in my pockets because I cried a river every time a sincere or caring word was spoken over my son.  The fact that this school has 112 years of trial and error under its belt is a comfort to this Momma’s son-sick heart.

In the midst of all these confirmations, doubt subtly tries to raise its ugly head and cause us to second-guess our decision to send Micah to an MK boarding school on the other side of the continent.  Voices of previous “I-could-never-send-my-kid-away”s or “He’s-so-young”s linger a little longer than they should over morning coffee.  I could easily go down a road that leads to guilt and dead ends into depression.  Or I could veer off Guilt Road and end up on Resentment Street thinking thoughts like, “If we weren’t in this type of ministry, boarding school wouldn’t even be an option.  If it weren’t an option, Micah wouldn’t have wanted to go and he’d be home with us!”

And that’s when my brain comes to a screeching halt at the stop light of God’s voice.  Over the past few days He’s gently pushed me into a different lane of thinking.  He’s opening my eyes to see that the path He’s laid out for Micah requires sacrifice on our part.  We’re not “sending” Micah.  We’re letting go and allowing God to begin opening doors for our son’s future.  Our sacrifice now is giving Micah this amazing privilege to attend a wonderful school that will help shape and mold him into the man God wants him to become.  Just as it’s a privilege to serve God in Burkina Faso, it’s a privilege for our son to attend RVA in Kenya.  I’ll admit it.  I wanted to find fault with the school, in the staff, in the cafeteria (which was delicious btw–Can I eat study there??).  But my efforts to return home with my son were in vain. (Insert temper tantrum) He’s right where he should be.  But, but, but… how will we pay for next year?  For the next boys?  Tisk, tisk, tisk.  My Father gently reminds me that HIS grace is sufficient for TODAY.

BE THE BIRD. LET TOMORROW TAKE CARE OF ITSELF.

So…that’s a look into the fragile brain of a Mom who is trusting God to take care of her son at boarding school…and so much more.  I have my “I don’t want to!” tantrums from time to time but at the end of the day,  Jesus is my sanity and He’s teaching me to be a bird.

The Next Chapter…

broken-rubrics-cubeafrica-map.jpg

A Piece of My Heart is Leaving Burkina Faso

Tomorrow is the day folks.  The day we begin our drive to the capital of Ghana (which will take 2 days) to then fly Micah to Kenya for orientation at his new school.

NEW.  So.many.new.things are coming our way.  Micah has never been away for more than a week from us.  This will Micah’s first time in a classroom, having to juggle classes and sports.  This will be the first year I haven’t had to add a new grade to our homeschool year.  A new season is exciting but also scary in some ways. Elijah said today that he didn’t want to leave Micah at school because he was gonna miss him.

LEAVE.  I’ll be leaving a child behind.  My oldest.  My first born.  My tallest.  My drum-loving, rubric’s cube addicted 14 yr old.  I’ll be leaving clothes for someone else to wash and fold.  (Thank God for those ladies who will be washing my son’s clothes!!)  I’ll be having to remind Micah by phone to clean his ears regularly.  Maybe that can become his routine…CALL YOUR MOM and CLEAN YOUR EARS when you hang up 😉  YES!

EARS.  What will his ears be hearing this next year:  Hopefully lots of encouraging teaching from God’s Word, counsel from Godly dorm parents, interesting facts and lessons in classes.  I’m sure there will be things I won’t like being whispered after lights out or in between classes or on the weekends.  God, protect my baby!!

PROTECT.  As parents we have to accept that we no longer are the predominant influencers in our son’s life.  Most come to this realization when their child goes off to college at the age of 18.  It’s come 4 years early for us.  It’s not a decision we take lightly.  It’s not something we expect of other families nor impose on them.  This is our decision as a family for Micah’s 9th grade year.  I don’t think this means we need God any more or that God’s protection needs to be greater.  I do believe that I’m gonna be on my knees more, praying that he won’t take the wide road or opt for the easy path. Would you pray with us?

PRAY.  That this week in Kenya, our last one together as a family of six until Thanksgiving, would be full of moments of gratitude and sweet memories. That our hearts wouldn’t miss him so much that we neglect our arrows still at home.  That Elijah, JJ, and JoJo would adjust well to Micah’s absence, growing into their new roles in the family.  That Micah wouldn’t suppress homesickness or loneliness but instead keep an open line of communication with his dorm parents and us.  That he would adapt well to a new schedule and stay healthy.  That he would spread his wings under the shadow of the Almighty who is forever faithful.  That he would work out his salvation and mature in his personal walk with the Lord, growing ever sensitive to the Holy Spirits nudges.

I’ll stop there before I can’t stop the tears.  They’re happy and sad tears.  Sad to think that the next time we travel the road we’ll be traveling tomorrow…it’ll be as a family of 5 instead of 6.  But happy to think of Micah enjoying school and making new friends and growing in His walk with the Lord.

Elijah putting on JoJo's shoes

New Roles in the Family

JoJo e Bernardo

New Friends

Baby sheep on way to village

New Season of Life

JoJo temper tantrum

I’ll admit there are times when I want to throw a tantrum and REFUSE this season of life as if that were truly an option.

Then I am reminded of :

Lam. 3:22-23 “…for his compassions never fail. They are NEW every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Deut. 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you (Micah) and will be with you (Micah); he will never LEAVE (Micah) you nor forsake you (him). Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

2 Sam. 7:22:  “How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own EARS.”

Ps. 32:7  “You are my (Micah’s) hiding place; you will PROTECT me (and Micah) from trouble and surround me (us) with songs of deliverance.”

JoJo sleeping

These promises allow me to sleep like a baby at night, knowing my God is able!  I imagine I’ll be praying these verses a lot in the months to come.  Will you join me?