myMISSION Mom Blog

myMISSION, myCALLING

Exactly three years ago, I was on my first myMISSION trip. We went to Atlanta, and our whole weekend was dedicated to reaching refugees and victims of human trafficking. We’re still getting to know each other, but you can just know that this is my heartbeat.

We went around rough areas of Atlanta, handing out roses to prostitutes—women who needed to know that they were loved and valued. This is something to which I’ve dedicated my life.

Isaiah 61:1b reads, “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” Isaiah’s description of his calling rings so true for me. I was so excited to be in this group, fulfilling this calling, but I knew I needed to be keenly aware of the vastly different needs of the women I would meet. This reminds me of Paul’s calling in 1 Corinthians 9:22b: “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” Paul knew that he was called to preach the gospel to all people, but that took different shapes as God brought him to different places.

A Need for Spiritual Parents

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday, which makes me a member of the emerging generation. Who are the emerging generation? We go by many labels; most commonly, we are referred to as Generation Y or millennials. The emerging generation encompasses those of us born between 1980 and 2000, roughly.

We are the largest and most unchurched generation in America. Notably, we are the first generation in history that didn’t grow up with a church or religious background. We weren’t raised in church. We weren’t taught the authority of the Bible, the inerrancy of Scripture, or other basic doctrines of the evangelical Christian faith.

More than half of the millennial generation believes being a religious person is about doing the right things versus holding the right beliefs. The majority of the emerging generation believes religion is a private matter that should be kept out of public affairs. More than half of my generation does not see a connection between belief in God and morality. In other words, you do not have to believe in God or have a personal relationship with Him in order to be moral.

Prone To Wander

I like to take pictures of my children. Since I have a smartphone, this task has become easier than ever before. Whenever my children are doing something funny or cute, I quickly whip out my phone, open the camera app and snap. In fact, at the time of this writing, I have 2,622 pictures on my camera roll in my phone. Clearly, I like pictures of my children. And since I like to capture these moments, nothing is more frustrating than when I aim my camera, ready to snap, only for the image to soften and lose focus. Suddenly, I’m tapping the screen, trying to refocus the image. Inevitably, by the time I get the camera refocused, the moment is gone. I’ve missed an opportunity.

Sometimes, this happens in our spiritual lives as well. We can lose focus on God’s purpose for our lives through distraction or waywardness, and we can miss out on divine opportunities if we don’t refocus. Let me give an example from my life to demonstrate.

Lessons from Mexico

During my time in seminary, I had the opportunity to go to Mexico as a translator for a missions trip. The youth pastor from my former church was leading a group of teenagers, and he asked me to go along because I knew the students in the group and because I studied Spanish for 8 years. This trip was my first missions trip, as well as my first opportunity to leave the country. I was 24 years old and wasn’t married or a mom yet.

Since it was my first missions trip, I didn’t know what to expect from the week. I knew that it was going to be challenging: I was spending a week with teenagers in a foreign country that didn’t speak my native language. I was excited about the trip, but I was nervous as well. My inexperience made me feel vulnerable and insecure, not the most comforting situation to be in when you have a Type A personality like me. So, I was out of my comfort zone. However, God stretched me during that week in ways that have eternal implications. Here’s what I learned on my Mexico missions trip:

• They don’t teach “Christianese” in Spanish class.

Reaching the Nations Through VBS

It’s summertime, which means Vacation Bible School time! This time of year is a hot mess of decorating, planning, recruiting volunteers, and passing out flyers as many churches prepare to welcome a small army of little people and engage them with the gospel for a week. If you’re a part of VBS, you know it is exciting and exhausting. It is also an evangelistic effort with kingdom implications.

Our church is nestled in the heart of the Hispanic community in Oklahoma City. Every year, we have a unique opportunity to interact with another culture through VBS. Many children from the Hispanic families in the neighborhood surrounding the church attend our VBS, and it affords us an avenue for connecting with these families. Many of these families would probably not cross the threshold of our church doors otherwise.

Let Go and Let God

Recently, we learned we needed to take our 15-month-old son to an ear specialist. He’s had nonstop double ear infections for the past several months, and after multiple rounds of antibiotics, it’s time to think about next steps in his treatment. Some of our options include placing tubes in his ears or removing certain parts of his ears, nose, and throat in order to prevent infection. Though the process is painful and unpleasant, it will be a necessary procedure to protect his body from a hostile takeover from toxic organisms.

When Praising is Perilous

This Easter, while many of us donned new dresses and enjoyed hearty meals with our families, many believers around the world risked their lives in order to gather and celebrate their risen Savior. One such believer is Julia*. Julia’s husband pastors a church in a country halfway across the globe, and they have young children. Julia wrote to our small group soon after the Easter holiday to update us on their missions work and to request prayer. Julia told us they learned that the country’s officials had ordered special security for their Easter services because they had received credible threats involving attacks to the church. Julia shared with us the challenge of explaining the situation to their children that, even though their very lives might be at stake, they couldn’t neglect the task before them: to share the gospel with the people they’ve been called to serve.

The Source of Selfless Joy

Until recently, my one-year-old still woke overnight to eat. Every night since his birth, he would wake around midnight to 2 a.m. for this purpose. For the first six months of his life, I was his only source of nutrition, so I was burning the midnight oil with him every night. After I returned to work, we transitioned to a bottle, which meant freedom—my husband could now share in the midnight feedings. For weeks, I would feign sleep or ask my husband to take the night shift because, after all, I’d woken with him exclusively for six months. It was about time he shared the responsibility.

Weeks turned into months, however, and my husband was regularly exhausted from night shift duty. I could see his exhaustion, yet I still let him get up for the majority of night feedings each week. I allowed my desire for sleep to deprive my husband of much-needed rest. I acted like my husband owed me for all of those sleepless nights I endured, and I didn’t care enough about my husband’s needs to share the burden. I was being selfish.

Babies and Bible Stories

It’s 7:30 p.m. The sun is quickly fading in the western sky. The day is drawing to a close. It’s been a long day. There have been so many tears. One child has an ear infection and the other has strep throat. It’s a busy time at work; the annual fund-raiser is just around the corner and your community has been hit hard economically, so giving is down.

After a long day, it’s tempting to rush bedtime. You’ve been counting down the minutes because a warm bath and a few moments of quiet solace would nurture your weary soul. As you're pushing your child toward bed, she turns to look at you and says, “But Mama, we have to read a Bible story first.”

You think, "Not tonight. I just want a few moments of 'me' time." Yet, as you look in her eyes, and though you know that part of her is just trying to avoid bedtime, you smile and reply, “Oh yes, dear. Let’s read a Bible story. Thank you for remembering that.” And as she curls up in your lap and tells you all about the big fish and how dark it is inside its belly, you’re reminded of God’s great love for His children and His unfailing patience.

When Motherhood Didn’t Go As Planned

The months leading up to the birth of my first child were filled with expectant planning. I’m a Type A person, so I tackle fear of the unknown by over preparing—I read and research until I’m too informed. Since I’d never given birth or had a child, I spent the months leading up to her arrival by reading all the advice blogs and baby websites I could find. I asked all my mom friends for tips. I made all these plans—I basically knew everything there was to know about having a newborn. Or so I thought.

The first few days in the hospital with her seemed to go smoothly. We were getting to sleep pretty regularly, and she was feeding well. And then we went home. She fought me every time I tried to feed her. She didn’t eat for 12 hours. She started to look jaundiced. I began to panic. Suddenly, things weren’t going as planned. As a first-time mom, I lost my confidence in what I was doing. I gave up on nursing her and we gave her a bottle. She ate and she was healthy. That was all that mattered.

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