In our family of six, each person’s personality is so different from any other. So it shouldn’t have come to a surprise that when Ben and I finally told our kiddos about Ireland, each of them had a different reaction. One morning at breakfast this past fall, we told the kids we had something exciting to tell them. Over bowls of oatmeal, we shared that we were taking steps toward International Ministry. After a brief second of shocked silence, each child had a different reaction. Becca, our girl who has wanted to be a missionary since 4th grade, happily exclaimed “Wonderful!” and continued to eat her breakfast as normal. David and Maya burst in to tears simultaneously. David, our baseball obsessed boy, was very upset and wanted to know all about baseball outside of the US. Maya, the girl who loves animals and has tamed a feral kitten, cried “What about my cats?” The thought of leaving them made her really sad. Ezekiel looked at us quizzically and asked, “Will they have sharks there?” After we reassured him that the ocean surrounding Ireland had sharks, all was good.
Since then, each person’s feelings has run all over the place, my own included. There are some days I feel so excited at the prospect of serving oversees that it’s all I can think about. And other days I feel sad because of what we are leaving behind. I think about the family and the friends we’ll rarely get to see, I think about the quality of my friendships and wonder if I’ll ever have friends who point me to God like they do. I think about the practical things like the kid’s schools. I realized last week that David will not have a certain teacher for 6th grade. I think about our church. Will we find other people who love Jesus to serve alongside? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Feelings. Sigh. Wouldn’t it be great if once a decision has been made your feelings stayed constant? Then I could always be so so excited to go! But that’s not how God made us. He made us with ever-changing feelings. Just like the gamut of emotions to our International Ministry news from the kids, all of which were completely okay reactions, it’s completely okay for me to feel however I need to feel. I know God will meet me right where I am, no matter how I feel and will use it to grow me and prepare me for what’s ahead. I can trust that He is working everything together for good (Romans 8:28) and that He is with me wherever I go (Deuteronomy 31:6), even if that place is in my feelings.