Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mothers Day 2011

I have always loved children, LOVED CHILDREN...

Right out of high school I started working at a preschool and have been working with kids in various ways ever since.

From nannying babies to Taekwondo students and even teenagers my whole life has been wrapped up in investing in their lives. When I was a child I remember my Aunts telling me, Chris you are going to have 10 kids! And I remember thinking, sure why not??

I have had two Mothers Days that up until this point, I will remember them as being the hardest of my life.

One, the first Mothers Day I experienced after the year I lost my first two children during their pregnancies. That was a rough time in our life, we kept it very private and only a few of our closest friends knew about it at the time but the Lord held me close, gave me His strength and comforted my heart. We now sponsor two children from Africa, I can't think of a better way to honor their memory.

and two...

Mothers Day 2011. This year I spent Mothers Day away from my precious children, they stayed home with an amazing Daddy while their Mommy flew to the other side of the world to be with the children of Sierra Leone. I can't tell you how hard it was to leave them, but I am so grateful for my opportunity and what it has taught their little hearts! First let me tell you about my babies. *Ezekiel, 5 years old is my first born He is sweet, kind, compassionate and just last night said to me "Mommy, I love you, you are the most beautiful girl EVER" (LOL he will change his mind quickly someday, but I will hold on to that for now!"

*Gideon, 4 years old. Now, Gideon requires a little extra effort even from the beginning (I was hospitalized at 25 weeks & on bed rest until birth) but, he is the most passionate, fun, imaginative & loving child you will ever meet! Ask him to tell you a story sometime (he says he keeps them in his tummy)

*Levi, 3 years old this Sunday. Happy Birthday little man! "Mommy, I love you" he says to me all the time and he also says he is a Knight! and he has a whole list of princesses he holds in high esteem, but at the top of the list are his cousin Jillian and his precious Aunt Jenna.

*And my princess, Isabel, she turned one in February. We adore her! & She has us wrapped around her fingers. When the Lord gave us each of them we prayed for their tiny lives that they would impact this world in BIG ways. We know that they are not really "ours" but have been given to us to teach & prepare them for God's will and plan for their lives.

This Mothers Day, I had been away for almost a week already that morning, I was truly missing my babies' kisses & snuggles. I had a Mothers Day card to open thanks to my sister-n-law Erin who snuck it in my baggage before I left which gave me smiles that morning. Then off to church we went. Mayemi Baptist Church, a little stick structure building with tarps wrapped around for sides. We sat in the back & I enjoyed it, although I was secretly disappointed and would have much rather had a church service with less Americanism, fancy clothes and more hand drums & craziness, but very much enjoyed the service. I was starting to understand more and more Creole but Ibrahim was standing next to me and very kindly singing the songs in English.
A little boy came in the back and sat down with a small group of children. Little children caring for even smaller children is a common site in Sierra Leone. He had one little girl that had fallen asleep which is passed to Brooke, one of my fellow team members from Texas. He also had a little boy who was coughing and just couldn't get comfortable. He handed him to me and I snuggled this precious baby until the end of church.

He smelled as if he had been peeing in his clothes for weeks, his fever and his cough broke my heart and as I held him close, I could feel wheeze in his lungs. I prayed for this sweet child whose name I will never know. We left church and as we drove home I sat behind our driver Ibrahim with my head down and quietly cried. Babies taking care of babies... I just kept thinking of what my children had told me when we were talking about orphans a few months ago Zeke said "We will share you with them Mommy" and then Gideon "they can even come live with us, then they would have a Mommy!" The smell from this child washed out of my clothes, but he left a stain on my white skirt and one on my heart that will always be there.

We got back to Tom & Becky's and I called my children and wonderful husband, the minute I heard their voices I couldn't stop crying, but it was SO good to hear them say "I love you, mommy. Happy Mothers Day!" We received word from Margaret that she had just received a new orphan. A little baby a couple of days old, her young teen mother had just died from childbirth complications the day before (very common there in Sierra Leone) The baby's grandmother could not care for her. We walked down to Margaret's and it wasn't long before I was holding this sweet baby & wishing I could sneak her on the plane home. Margaret has 26 other orphans that she cares for, including Martin (who is in a wheelchair and needs 24/7 care) and Simon a joy filled downs syndrome little boy. God provides for Margaret and this group of blessed children, there is just no other way to say that. I can remember someone saying "Margaret doesn't have the money to take care of this baby" and then someone saying "well, how much money does formula cost?" (and before we left Sierra Leone the Lord provided, through the team, for this baby's needs)

Becky asked Margaret if she thought it would be OK if we went to pay our respects to the Grandmother. So we walked into the camp where the war widows live to visit the Grandmother of this baby. She was sitting out front of her 2 room house heart broken in complete despair. We realized that she had a house full of children and grandchildren already that were struggling to survive. I started to look around at the conditions surrounding me and the desperate children everywhere. My words would just mess it up. All I can say is walking back out of there to Margaret's house I lost it and one of those "uncontrollable cries" hit me. Mohamed (aka "pants on the ground" we called him) was walking by me and just kept saying my name and patting my back. Then one of the war widows looked at me and said "Why do you people love children so much?" I'll never forget that question and the look on her face because she didn't understand my broken heart or tears. What is a mom anyway? Why do we love children? This day...Mothers Day was the day after our visit to Waterloo--- (if you haven't read that post yet here it is ) It will give you a better sense of what was going on in my heart and mind.

As we walked away from Margaret's house back towards the missionaries home, my heartbroken tears continued to pour. There isn't any comfort in the thought of my lifestyle excess and someone else suffering. I felt the Holy Spirit bringing up scripture after scripture in my heart about how taking care of these widows & orphans should somehow be more important to me personally than my home renovations, flat screen TV dreams and or my eating out budget.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth, 1 John 3:16-18

What is the best thing I could wish for my children? Good grades? Great college years? Become successful with great jobs or what if ... what if they disappeared to a far off land to serve the Lord, loving his people. What a hard thing it must be to let go and let them go but I pray that if that is what God's plan is for their lives that they jump in with both feet, run toward Him and never look back!

And as for the children of Sierra Leone. I love THESE precious wonderfully created children, children of our Father God. It is now month later and not a day goes by that I don't shed tears for these sweet faces, I might be on the other side of the world but when I close my eyes, I can see their beautiful eyes staring back at me. Right now, a team of friends from my church are there, falling in love with each of them and I am SO excited about it! It is an adventure that will forever change the way they think and live. When do you want to go? I'll take you...

No comments:

Post a Comment