She kissed me and squeezed me. “Mommy I am going to miss you.” Then Grace kissed my cheek and squeezed me again.
The other night we gathered as a family before bedtime and prayed for each other. Stephen suggested we pray for the person on our left so Grace prayed for me.
“Thank you God for everything. Thank you for my mom. Keep her safe, keep her healthy. Don’t let any of the food she might eat in……(stop, pause)…. “Mom, where are you going again? ”
“Ethiopia” I said.
…..”don’t let any of the food in Ethiopia make her sick. Thank you again God for my mom. Bring her home safe.”
After we were done praying as a family, Isabel called me over to her bed. “Snuggle with me MOM. I have something I would like to pray about.”
“OK, what is it?”
“Shoes for Kids.” She said.
So with passion she began a very heart felt prayer. “God, thank you for everything. Thank you for all the shoes for ShoesforKids. Lord one day I pray I might get to see the faces of smiling kids as they get shoes. But God, I pray for each child that receives a pair of shoes. Please God help them. Thank you God. Thank you for everything.”
After our prayer time, I had a hard time sleeping, thinking about these sweet prayers. My heart felt squeezed with emotion at saying goodbye to my kids, but I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I have three children who get it and a husband that shares a passion for ministry. They understand this world and all the darkness of poverty because they have seen it. They understand the difference between want and need. They understand blessings, and for the most part, live with thankfulness. They all desire to make the world a better place.
“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…”
I have now said my goodbyes and am sitting at the airport waiting for my flight. The sunrise this morning was brilliant. The reflection of the sun on the clouds made the sky look like a blanket of fire. I was reminded of God’s majesty and all the blessings in this life. My children and my husband are indeed my greatest blessing and my heart feels such gratitude as I think of them and their love and support as I journey to Ethiopia.
I don’t feel alone. This is not just a business trip to my kids. It’s our family mission. We are in this together.
If there was one thing I could pass on to all parents, it is this: Find a family mission.
“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Whether you family helps at a local mission, or collects shoes, sponsors children, or does a mission trip, having a family mission is such a blessing. It brings closeness and focus and keeps things in perspective. It brings gratitude into the home. Often we can remind each other what is most important.
“Mom, you don’t need another pair of shoes.” Isabel said to me the other day as I admired the Nordstrom shoe sale.
A big sister to a little sister…..”I am so very proud of you! Isabel for ShoesforKids, I brag about you all the time,” Julia declares.
Leaving is hard, but knowing I am an ambassador on behalf of my family, makes it ok.
This is our family mission. Together, the Jones’ want to make the world a better place.