I didn’t want to go to Brazil. Our associate pastor was planning the trip; some teens were going; another adult wanted to go; and my husband told me one evening over dinner that he wanted to go. He felt God’s leading him to go. I thought that was great; I would be supportive.
A few days later, over another dinner, my husband told me he thought God wanted me to go. My husband wanted me to go. He wanted us to do this together. My reaction — Hello, we have six children. Like I could just up and go to Brazil for a week and a half.
My husband asked if we could find someone to watch our children, would I go. “Sure, why not!” I answered. But I knew we wouldn’t be able to find anyone to watch the children.
Our parents readily agreed to watch the children. Much to my surprise. My aunt and my sister-in-law pitched in some days. Not only did they agree to watch the children, but they planned special activities — trips to a wildlife park, crafts, music lessons, picnics, trips to the lake, splashing pools and sidewalk chalk, bubbles, cookie-baking, bread-baking, fireworks and homemade ice cream. My children weren’t only cared for, they were given a special vacation as well. OK, God, maybe this was Your idea.
In Brazil, I wrote in my journal:
Matthew 4:18-25 — The disciples, the first 4 called, left their nets immediately and followed Jesus. Jill Briscoe challenges me to be willing to leave all I love to follow Him. It makes me think of this trip. I feel like -over and over- God is asking me, “Do you love me? More than all else?”
I left all I love, except Patrick, to come on this trip. Most people think I’m crazy. All I know is I needed to obey. Honestly, I didn’t want to come. I did eventually get excited about the trip, but I didn’t really want to come. Up to the last minute, I would rather have stayed with the children. I am enjoying myself. I know I am supposed to be here. But I didn’t want to leave my children.
I think too often, we act like we love our children more than we love God. And we act like we love our children more than God loves them. We love them more than we trust God.
I know God wanted me to submit to Him, to submit to my husband. I know He wanted me to go to Brazil, even if only to exercise submission, to relinquish control. I needed to trust God to protect my children, to protect us. And I learned some things in Brazil that I couldn’t have learned here. I was encouraged by the missionaries. I was challenged by my Brazilian brothers and sisters in Christ and their vibrant worship and transparent living. My view of the world was expanded yet again — it’s easy to hyper-focus on diaper-changing and toy-strewn bedrooms and grocery lists and laundry baskets. As I fumbled for the right words and played a game of international charades with a saleslady in the mall, I gained sympathy for people in the US who can barely speak English and are struggling to learn. I was reminded to have compassion, the kind of compassion Jesus had for people. Mostly, though, it was a lesson in relinquishing control, in leaving all for Him.
Do I love God? More than all else? Yes. Well, I want to. And it’s good to have opportunities like this trip to Brazil to fan that tiny spark inside me that does love God above all else. To practice leaving something or someone for Him. I’m glad He gave me the chance to trust Him, to follow Him out of my comfort zone.