Tuesday, June 5, 2012

You Are Now Entering the Mission Field

A few days ago, I wrote a post called Uprooted.  The day I wrote it, was a day full of time with more "goodbyes" to precious friends.  In that post I referred to several friends who are navigating a "new normal."  Amanda, is one of them.  God's plans for her family are different than expected...
On Thursday, we began our day by meeting my friend Amanda for breakfast.  It was a day of rejoicing as I finally met precious Molly - the child our family has prayed continually for since birth.  
World, meet beautiful, precious Molly Rader.  I can not tell you how my heart leapt because I got to hold her!  Because of all of her challenged immune system, holding her was a GIFT!
Since her birth, Molly's presence has brought the Rader family into a "new normal."  Recently, life has consisted of ...numerous hospital stays, multiple surgeries, feeding Molly breast milk through a tube, separating family at a hotel if someone is ill, administering many medications throughout the day, juggling the needs of five children, maintaining a healthy marriage, missing important life events of one child in order to care for the needs of another,  monitoring a pace maker, etc...  My friend, Amanda, Molly's mom, has been forced to lay down expectations, plans, and dreams in order to embrace the ones God has planned for her.  
Amanda is learning to serve in a new way.  An unexpected way.  A beautiful way.  She is reflecting Christ's glory as she loves on this precious child of God.  
Amanda wrote the following post on their Caring Bridge site.   The title above is what she chose and I felt it was fitting.  The truth is, wherever God has planted our feet right now IS our mission field.  I wanted to share Amanda's post because her heart understands that we are called by God to serve Him - right where we are.  Right now.  
Molly made her first trip to Cracker Barrel.  While she of course didn't eat, I like to think her afternoon milk was laced with the sweetness of pancakes with maple syrup!  I got permission from our Cardiologist to take her out so we could say good-bye to our sweet friends who are going to Africa to serve orphans for the next two years.  So we went to the Strawberry Plains Cracker Barrel and were blessed that it was practially empty (you NEVER see that at Cracker Barrel).  We sat and visited while enjoying a big Southern breakfast and watching the kids play (there were 9 children and two moms).  There were LOTS of tears between Robin and me.  I think I started crying when we pulled into the parking lot knowing this would be the last time I would see her for a long time.  However, it was also such a joyous time filled with so much blessing, love, prayer and encouragement.  I am so thankful for e-mail, her blog and facebook.  While I won't be able to just pick up the phone and call her, I can still communicate with her really easily even in Ghana!  How amazing is that?!?  Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg! 
As we were visiting, she again filled me with hope and perspective.  We were talking about them going into the mission field and how exciting that was.  She looked at me and said, "Amanda, you're in the middle of your Mission Field."  I guess I hadn't looked at it that way. It made me think of those signs one can often find as you exit church parking lots.  They say "You are now entering the Mission Field."  I know we all have our ways that we serve, but I never thought about this as a mission field.  I then laughed and told her, "Yes, but you're willingly giving up everything and moving your entire family to Africa to be in your Mission Field.  While I feel like I've been moving into this 'mission field' of mine sometimes kicking and screaming!"  I guess it really doesn't matter.  God can use us even when we're contrite, and it made us both laugh.
(I will insert here that when Amanda said she was entering her mission field kicking and screaming, my answer to her this was this - because God trusts you more.  He has handed Amanda her mission field.  It is a gift - even as hard as daily life may be.  As I read the book of Job, I do believe that the Lord does entrust much to those He trusts.  God knows who will bring Him glory in trial.  God searches the earth for those whose heart is completely for Him.  The Rader family is walking out their faith completely dependent on their Savior.  Kicking and screaming may the way their journey on this new path begins, but as they walk on the narrow trail, their steps become more steady. They will not be shaken.)  
Now, back to Amanda...
Robin's words gave me a little bit of a fresh outlook on my "new normal."  While I may not be able to do all of the "things" I used to do, it doesn't mean that I'm not still serving.  My serving just looks different.  So rather than beating myself up for the things I can't physically accomplish anymore, I think I just need to rejoice in the things that I can.  All of us are called to serve one another.  While my way of serving and loving others has looked one way for quite awhile, it doesn't mean that my "new way" is necessarily bad...it is just different.  Maybe because we don't "do as much" as we used to, we will appreciate the things we can do all the more.  Right?  I know Robin and I have not been able to communicate regulary in months because I've been so busy with Molly and she's been so busy preparing their family to leave.  While we haven't "done much" with each other lately, we've still served one another well in the time that we've had.  My kids will never forget the day she came out and helped them make a keepsake of our family for them to take to Africa along with my Mother's Day gift.  I'll also never look at that gift without thinking of Robin and her boys.  Yesterday's hour and a half breakfast was PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS time together even though it was short.  So maybe that is part of the lesson I'm to learn here.  Honestly, I don't know.  This has always been and will continue to be a journey.  I just pray that our family continues to grow through it...

Oh, you will grow, Amanda, you will.  You inspire me, my friend.  May we, as St. Patrick says in his prayer, bind ourselves to Christ.  (Thank you for sending this Michelle!)  
I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;*
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Please pray for the Rader family, and precious Molly Rader.  They are a testimony to God.  We board a plane seven days from today with one way tickets to Ghana.  We would be grateful for your prayers as well.  

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