Saturday, June 18, 2016

A different kind of mission trip...............

You might have noticed that I have been silent for the last week or so.  The reason is that I have been on a different kind of mission trip.  I spent these days being with Lia, Ellie, Zeke and Anna while Gwen and Tim traveled with the youth from their church on a mission trip.  It was quite a week for me.  It has been a long time since I spent this many days taking care of kids, all on my own.  As a matter of fact, I have NEVER taken care of four kids for an entire week.  I came away from this week not only knowing the kids better, but also learning some new things about myself, about life and about Jesus.  I will be blogging about these things in the next few weeks.  Honestly I am still trying to digest all that I learned!  And I am resting!  Those four kids did keep me on my toes and going for the entire week.  I loved every minute of it!  Okay, with total truth telling, I did not like the 20 minutes or so when Anna threw some temper tantrums (very typical for a 2 year old) when mommy and daddy did not come home when she wanted them.  No, I did not like the pitiful screaming and crying and kicking and the running away from me and feeling so totally helpless to do anything to help Anna feel better.  Aside from those few minutes, I just loved my time with these little sweeties.  Just before Gwen and Tim got home last night, Anna climbed up on my lap, gave me big hugs and cuddles.  I told her I was going to be leaving to go home as soon as her mommy and daddy got home.  She grabbed my face and said "No Grama, no home!"  What a sweet little one she is.

I confess, I was quite jealous to see Gwen and Tim go off on this trip.  I have been on several trips and these have always been life changing for me.  When you leave your home and step out of your comfort zone, Jesus always shows up.  Some of the most powerful points of direction and correction have come from these trips.  I also know the warfare that can accompany these trips, so I felt on "prayer alert" for this mission team.  Somewhere around the fourth hour I was with the kids, I realized how much I needed prayer support for my "mission" trip.  I am so thankful that I could call on my small group to stand with me during this week with the kids.  By the end of the first day, I knew that this was probably the most important mission trip I had ever been on.  Keeping Gwen and Tim's house running and the kids happy and safe, while covering them in prayer, was exactly what Jesus wanted me to be doing.  I felt His presence every day and in so many ways.  Having four children is not easy!  There is a lot of laundry. LOTS of laundry.   There are hungry mouths waiting to eat (and have snacks).  There are so many things that these small hands just can not do by themselves.   I was so thankful that Gwen and Tim have done an amazing job of fostering independence in their kids.  But the cupboards are just to high to reach the bowls.  The milk is to full to pour.  Well, you get the idea.  On the first evening, after all the kids were tucked into bed, I opened up my journal to write a few sentences.  As I sat there with pen in hand, just thanking Jesus for the day, praying for Gwen and Tim and their team, one thought appeared on my paper..... THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MISSION FIELD!   Family - children - home..... this is the mission field that matters most to Jesus.  The seeds that are being sown into these children will be watered and grow deep roots.  And the world will be impacted by them.  The thing about this "family" mission trip is that it requires perseverance.  It is a day after day, week after week, twenty four-seven trip.  There are messes and sickness and yes, temper tantrums.  But then there are those wonderful cuddles and hugs.  Those sweet goodnight prayers.  And the smiles and laughter.  What we all have to do is REALIZE that family IS a MISSION!  We should approach family like we do a mission trip.  We should ask for prayer from those close to us.  Every day should begin asking Jesus for direction for the specific activities for the family.  And we should make the most of every opportunity that presents itself to shower the love of Jesus over those around us.

Most importantly, we need to support all of these young families.  The dads are working so many hours, just to provide. And most dads are doing their share of caring for the children and home also.  Many of the moms work outside of the home and then have the children and all their activities on top of that.  This season of the BIG mission trip is seemingly endless and so very heavy.  Most people have heard the quote "It takes a village to raise a child".  I think I would like to change that a little bit and say "It takes the support of the WHOLE body of Christ to carry out the MISSION of the family".

After trying to fill the very large shoes of Gwen and Tim, I am thankful and happy to return to just being Grandma Lyn.  On the first day of filling in, I gained a new perspective about mission trips. It was a privilege and honor to be trusted with these wonderful children.   It was just the start of an amazing different kind of mission trip!

Jesus, thank you for speaking to us and showing us exactly what we need.  Thank you for children and family and time out of our comfort zones.  Holy Spirit, help us all to be more aware of those around us who are in the thick of raising children.  Jesus thank you for your plan that included families.  Thank you especially for children and grandchildren.  Amen

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