This week I had the enormous privilege to be on a zoom call with a group of local Iraqi refugees and ones that have recently been graced with placement to Australia. It was like a reunion (except bound and freed by Zoom, as wonderful and as limiting as it is)! Also, present was a psychologist from California who meets with the group once a month via the internet. The group sessions with her are ALWAYS outstanding. Each time, I marvel at the concepts she draws out of each of us and the points she sends home. I was quiet and observant as at least 10 ladies participated in the activity that the doctor was asking us to do. Then my turn came. I admitted that I needed to allow space to process. Tears leaked out of nowhere, with no warning and no ability for me to hold them back. Much to my embarrassment, I will admit. I mean, who am I to cry compared to women who had to flee with NOTHING from war and worse? Yet, our friend, gently reminded me that space is especially important and that I MUST process; otherwise, my little problems would become bigger.
So, over the weekend, I took an hour or two, and after lunch guests went home, I sat down to blog. My processing place. Welcome to that space. Perhaps if you have things you need to process you can ask yourselves the same questions. This is how I started:
Let me add a little more detail.
Who? Darron. Ruth. Aubrey (and Mia). Andrew. Jacob. Nathaniel.
What? We left them.
When? The oldest two, 3 years ago. The youngest two, 1 month ago.
Where? In America. While we returned to Indonesia (3 years ago). Beirut, Lebanon now.
Why? Because we are crazy. I mean, seriously, kids leave parents…but what parents leave kids? Abnormal ones? How about unusual ones?!? There, that sounds a bit better.
How? Quickly. On a plane. With determination. With set made-up minds.
Can I add a bit more flesh to the term, “empty nest”? A layer more of processing? A few hours of counseling saved! Thanks for listening as I sit on the couch and examine the nest. I ponder women who get physically sick, when their children leave and travel just a few States away within the same country. I ponder why we do what we do. So, I must ask the same questions again.
Who? My dearest, absolute, most precious treasures. My boys and new daughter. Our parents. Our siblings and their kids. All with names, needs, and stories.
What? We made the choice (prayerfully) and accepted the request (prayerfully) to leave ALL our loved ones to serve overseas.
When and Where? Our extended family we left 9 years ago when we travelled as a family of 6 to Indonesia. Then, three years ago we left Aubrey and Andrew and 4 of us returned to Indonesia. One month ago, we left Jacob and Nathaniel in boarding school, in America (during a world pandemic) to return 2 of us to Beirut, Lebanon.
Why? Let me be perfectly clear. This goes beyond crazy, abnormal, and unusual. It is significantly deeper than that. It is because we feel with all our hearts that it is God’s will for our lives.
How? Yes, it is true that we left quickly, on a plane, with set determination, but it was really with the strength that comes from God and Him alone. I mean, when we dropped the kids off at boarding school, I lay in bed next to my husband that night and whispered, “Do we really have to go back?” But I already knew the answer to that question. I knew that we had not been released from the task or the calling despite what was happening in the nest. I also knew that enough strength would be granted to accomplish the calling.
Additionally, we could not do this without the help of a host of people who are willing to care for our kids on their home leaves. As. They. Do. Not. Have. A. Home. Or. Parents. Within. 24 hours of plane/airport time. And we, cannot be that for them. This is the most challenging part to the life that we have been bid to create.
I still hold dearly the image I had when we left Aubrey and Andrew in the USA. That image is of Christ and I can hold His hand wherever I am in the world. He in turn is holding the hands of my children. In Him, we are not far apart at all. Better yet, I know that His hands are the most trustworthy to care for them.
Whether you are one of the people who are being the hands of Jesus to our kids. Or perhaps you are separated from your own loved ones. May you remember or find the deeper reason for where you are right now and who stands in the gap in your service to others or your absentee from those you love.
If you would like to tell me about your who, what, when, where, why, and how current situation, I would love to hear your story either in the comments or private message me.
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