September 30, 2013

The View From Here and a Prayer

The view from here, my tiny little corner of a very small sphere, concerning things related to Christian outreach, especially foreign missions, is often clouded by the lack of information, misunderstandings, and fear.  In Mark 16:15-16, Jesus, talking to the disciples, said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned..." 

That's pretty clear.  It would seem that we are to go all over the world, to let others know the good news.  Now, I have to say that I haven't really had a heart for foreign missions, not because I don't think they are necessary or even that we shouldn't be involved in them, merely that, for one thing, the hurtle of missions is often monetary.  Often thousands of dollars are raised to send a missionary into a specific city or country, sometimes for a short period of 7-10 days of ministry.  Are souls reached?  Yes! Are lives changed?  Yes!  But how much good could those same dollars have been used for right here at home to reach an obviously lost and hurting society?  Couldn't the same principals used in cities or foreign countries be used to spread the gospel to our own streets?  Absolutely.

A few thoughts on why my personal heart doesn't necessarily lead toward foreign fields...

First, because I am a home body.  While I enjoy traveling, it's always good to get back home.  My roots are here.  The people I love are here and I crave the family circle.  But, God is my comfort.

Second, because there are Christians all over the globe at this point in history.  So to spend money to send and support a missionary or missionary family in a foreign land when someone there could evangelize seems to be money that could be spent on other ministry needs right here at home or at least in this country.  But God knows best and so He calls the right people for the job.

And third, many places that call out to missionaries are in societies that are not the same as ours...a bad thing?  No...some diversity is good.  But often that change in culture includes higher crime rates, frequent terrorist activity, prejudice toward religions other than their own, tumultuous dictatorships and/or extreme poverty which leads to crime for survival.  Can God cover His missionaries with protection?  Of course.  Does He always? Unfortunately, no.  But He knows the big plan and I don't.

And herein lies a big BUT..., for me.  The WHAT IF.....?,  the fear....I have a hard time with all the scenarios that appear in my mind.  And what it all boils down to is the fact that I struggle with my plan over His.  I want to keep my family together...and safe...I want to hold, care for and play with my grandbabies, to be a part of their life that is more than a picture or a cold, interactive "movie" that they can't hug or snuggle with...I want to help and continue being a mom to my kids that is a real, hands-on helpful part of their lives...I WANT these things!   Wow! That's a selfish statement.  But the reason is that I feel my life's mission has been to protect, disciple and raise godly children and break the mold out of the dysfunctional stuff that has been such a big deal for so long.

While I was growing up, my parents didn't get along more than about 20% of the time.  I think that's generous. Eventually my dad left us for a period of time during my early teen years and I'm not sure I was ever really able to forgive him for it.  My maternal grandfather had passed away long before I came along.  It's probably for the best since I've heard he was a mean, abusive drunk most of the time and my grandma, the sweetest woman I ever knew, died when I was ten.  At that point, I lost that entire side of my family with 18 aunts and uncles and tons of cousins...lost over a feud that goes on to this day...40+ years later. My paternal grandma died when I was 7, a grumpy woman who never really seemed to have much time for a timid little girl.  My grandpa, a big man who worked on and retired from the railroad, was a sweet old fellow who had a silly lopsided grin, loved to play his fiddle and sing at the same time, yet led a family who had nothing but contempt for my mother and her family.  Her bitterness and sense of ill treatment all her life filters into everything she has done for at least the past 50 years.

Growing up in the middle of all that, I repressed alot, tried to maintain the status quo and rise above the broken family toward what I hoped would be a better life.  Enter a husband with a little attitude...a manipulative, bitter  mom and what followed was 30 years of yet another separation that is still a battle daily.  I had to chose...husband or parents...and as I had taken a vow at my wedding, husband came first.  Which led to my children caught in the middle...a situation I had hoped to improve for them.  In order to keep them from being pulled apart, I stepped back and didn't see my folks for several years.    
After threats to take my kids away from me, even though the only situation I denied them was alone time, and various other arguments about unimportant things, the feeling that the other shoe could drop at any time was too much.  My weight had increased much too much, my confidence level was shot, and my protective mode was in full gear. Don't mess with husband...or my kids.  I've made choices and sacrifices to protect them and give them a home that, while not perfect, was a far cry more stable than the ones either of us came from.
The protective mama bear syndrome. 

I guess I carry that over into their adult lives.  And I know deep inside that God knows better than me, and His will and timing are perfect.  Better than mine...and here's the BUT...I'm afraid to just say okay to what ever. I'm afraid to send my kids off to missions half way around the globe because "What if...?"  What if I never see them?  What if they are hurt or sick and I can't get to them?  Or what if they have children that never know me?  What if they are killed or kidnapped or raped?  I always wanted the support of a family, the peacefulness that others had in knowing that they were surrounded by people who wouldn't let anything happen to them if they could help it, much less hurt them or drive them away.  That protective bubble of love that was never compromised by anger and self righteousness.  And I want that for my kids, too...from me.  For me.  Just once.  I want to have that happy family circle for all of us.

So I'm asking...Please hear the desires of my heart and consider my plea.  I know they don't come as a surprise to an omnipotent, all knowing god like yourself.  Please allow us to have that happy bubble of family love and protection that will carry us through, welcome new members and build a community of caring and supporting that I've never known and can break this cycle of hate and hurt that has been the norm for far too long.  These blessings don't come from me, or anything I've done or deserve, they are only from You.  Ultimately, You are in control and you can give me all the peace I need just from Your glory and mercy.  Your, with me. 

I know and believe all these things.  But I'm asking in the name of Jesus...hear my prayer.  I can't find the words to express it because it's so much bigger than what I've written here, but You know me inside and out...You've seen my darkest secrets and my sweetest thoughts.  Help me to trust You with the blessings You've given me.  Because in the end that's what this issue of trust.  We make decisions all the time to act on head knowledge from a right heart.  Help me have that heart and know Your peace.

Pondering My Meanderings...
with much herbal love,

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