Monday, September 1, 2014

Was I afraid?

Confession: I actually wrote this post a couple of months ago right after I got back from Guatemala.  At the time, I thought people might be getting overloaded with Guatemala stories, so I decided to wait to post this....and then life happened and I forgot to ever publish it.  Little did I know that this would be a recurring theme for me that I could walk through again and cling to the faithfulness God showed me in this time.

The biggest question I get asked when people ask about my trip to Guatemala is "Was I afraid?"

It comes in different forms, like...

"Were you afraid to leave your son?"

"Are you afraid to travel to a third world country?"

"Are you afraid of getting sick/catching a disease/contracting malaria....?"

My answer: A big, resounding "YES!"

Let me remind you that I had already been to Guatemala twice before I returned this summer.  Twice.  And I have absolutely no memory of being afraid.  Granted, I was 16 and 17 when I traveled the first two times, so perhaps I was still in those teenage years where I was blissfully unaware of danger and my worst nightmare was that I wouldn't get asked to prom or would wake up with a zit.  Those that know me can probably attest to the fact that I was never really one of those kids that just didn't worry, but I digress.

Before traveling back to Guatemala this year, I was plagued by absolutely crippling, paralyzing, heart-squeezing, hope-crushing FEAR.

I think this fear stemmed from two things:

1.  I legitimately like my life.  I have a wonderful, supportive husband, a beautiful, healthy son, a fulfilling career that I happen to love, and a comfortable living.  This comfortable living that was so hard for me to leave is something I wrestled a lot with once I was in Guatemala...but that's a completely different post.

2.  I'm a Mommy.  While the world sees me as just another somebody, to my little guy, I am his only Mommy.  I was terrified that he would miss me too much, but also that he wouldn't miss me at all.  I dreaded the thought of leaving him behind, but I also dreaded the thought of spending the next few years of my life hiding behind my kids.  I was absolutely panicked at the thought of leaving him without a Mommy, but I also panicked at the thought of being a Mommy who is physically present, but spiritually empty.

I finally came to this conclusion, and it's a tough one.

I was having a conversation with my husband about being afraid, and he point-blank asked me, "What are you afraid of?"

I allowed myself to say the words that had absolutely robbed me of any joy and excitement for Guatemala: "What if I die?"

So we walked through the practical aspects.  I'm serious, y'all.  If you don't have kids, maybe you'll think this is morbid, but we legitimately talked about the financial and legal aspects of what would happen if I died.  I wrote down my physical address while in Guatemala, and we talked through the process of reporting me as a missing person if I just never came back.  We talked through my husband's role as a single father to Henry.  We talked through remarriage.

But we ended on this.  JP said, "Imagine the legacy you would leave for Henry if you died on the mission field."  Out of everything else we talked about, this is what brought me comfort.  As a parent, what better example can I leave for Henry than to give my life for Jesus?

Now, obviously, I did not lose my life.  I'm home, safe and sound.

But as we take the beginning steps towards a brand new, big, scary, exciting journey, I again find myself battling fear and insecurity.  And I rest in the fact that God has brought me through that valley of despair, and that He will not fail to do so again.  I take comfort in the fact that my answer to the toughest of questions a Christian will ever face: "Would you give your life for this?" is YES.

Some people, like the Christians dying in the middle East or missionaries on the front lines in hostile environments, are asked to give their lives all at once.  For most of us, we are asked to give our lives away a piece at a time.

If you had asked me what my life would look like 5 years ago, and especially 10 years ago...this life is not what I would have answered.  My spiritual journey and the small sacrifices I have already made have led me to this place, and I can honestly say, I wouldn't have it any other way.  For every sacrifice God asks you to make, He has something infinitely better for you in store.

"For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it."  Matthew 16:25

I hope you find this encouraging and I hope more than anything that you would find the courage to step out in faith to a bigger, scarier life, found in the hope of Jesus.

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