Sunday, March 09, 2014

13 Years of Motherhood and Mission

MOTHERHOOD:  Thirteen years ago today, I became a mother.  The most important purpose of my life, fulfilled.  [Feminists, roll your eyes if you must.]  I was created to be a mother.  I wasn't one of those girls who ever questioned whether I would have children; I only questioned how many, and through what means. 

I was ready to start creating our family as soon as we were married; the earlier the better!  So after two years when it hadn't happened, you can imagine my sadness and frustration.  Two years of the "young married" class at church.  ALL those baby showers to suffer through, trying to genuinely be happy for my friends but then crying myself to sleep at night because it wasn't "my turn." 
When we learned of our infertility, there was no question of whether we would try to go to extraordinary means to create life.  When the doctor told us we had a 5% chance through infertility measures, through tears we said, "That's okay.  We will adopt."  That was in our plan for family building anyway.  The big whammy was when the quack of a doctor told us that "Oh, nobody would allow you to adopt.  With your husband's health issues and you being overweight, you would never qualify."
THIS was a new concept.  Not being able to become a mother?  What?  No.  I had a very fearful next several hours, but was reassured QUICKLY by the new fangled internet-thingy that international adoption would be a great choice for us.  YES!  Motherhood, here I come!
And then it did.  Thirteen years ago today.  I met my daughter. And my heart grew two sizes bigger.  I felt it.  As I lay her on my chest for the first time, for that first nap together, I felt it.  A literal pain.  Whether it was my heart breaking or growing I cannot say for sure.  Maybe both.  That day motherhood began, and so did my mission.
MISSION:  I never realized I would hurt so badly for my daughter's biological family.  It never occurred to me that I would mourn the loss of country and culture for my daughter.  I was young and naïve and nobody mentioned even the remote possibility of these things to me.  But as she raged in my arms over all she was losing, I raged with her.  I remember crying with her on our fancy hotel room balcony.  And I think it was in that moment that the Lord God planted my life's mission within my heart.
When I was 17 years old I felt a call upon my life to be a Foreign Missionary.  It was as real a "call" and experience as I have ever felt.  I do not question it.  And then I married a Type I Diabetic that is legally blind with kidney issues.  How does that fit with foreign missions?  I didn't know, but I went on with life, and became a mom.  That seemed more important.  In becoming a mom, the "foreign" part came closer to me.
Cambodia was within me.  Cambodia's people plagued my soul.  At that time the term "family preservation" hadn't been coined (I don't think??) but certainly, that was at the heart of the matter.  It was at this time, 13 years ago, that my mind was opened to the realities of the developing world.  A passion like fire spread in me and I remember BEGGING God to open doors for me--the RIGHT doors.  He did.  And within the year I was helping others people adopt and involved in humanitarian aide for the first time.  Bulgaria.  Haiti.  Vietnam....the world became smaller again.
In 2006, Ghana entered my life.  Like Cambodia, Ghana and its people entered my heart in an all-encompassing way.  It wasn't just about adopting my child.  It was so much more.  How could the Lord use me to help the people there KEEP their children rather than lose them to conditions of poverty?  Oh, the burning in my heart!  It's now 8 years later and the passion continues.  Now, through Eban Project, the Lord has opened doors that are closer to the "foreign missions" call He put on me so many years ago.  Eventually, I believe I will stop being an "armchair missionary" and start being a true foreign missionary for Him.  But not now.  Not as long as He allows me to keep my dear husband.
Thirteen years.  Of motherhood, ever changing.  Of mission, ever growing.  Of family, ever filling.


Julie Keaton 12:20 AM  

Beautifully written and expressed. You and Eric are such great examples of Christ's love. May God continue to bless you and your family immensely. Love to you all.

Claire 6:31 AM  

What a lovely post. You are a wonderful mother, and I really believe God placed each of your children into your family.