“Irresponsible” for the Gospel (part 2 of Inconvenienced for the Gospel)

We have officially finished our 3 months of Intake in Louisiana and have had a couple weeks off to visit with family and friends before heading to our mission post in Mexico on January 1st.  It struck me a couple days before leaving Louisiana that I might have some difficult conversations with people over the break as I share what we are planning on doing as a family with 2 small children.  It occurred to me that I will be around all kinds of people who have not undergone the same formation and been surrounded by so many like-minded “crazy” people like we have been blessed with for the past 3 months.  Family, friends and strangers alike may have all sorts of opinions about what we will be doing. Was I ready to patiently hear their concerns and humbly respond with love?

Usually persecutions don’t come in the ways that you might imagine them in your mind, and I am starting to think a small persecution that God is asking me to undergo is the sense that others might consider me an irresponsible parent for “dragging” my children into the life that my husband and I feel called to.  It’s not always said outright, and more often than not, it is hinted at in the questions and not so subtle comments like, “Oh, you’re going to Mexico?  You just make sure you’re safe…and you’re bringing your babies with you there?” and, “You’re not going to have heat in your house…that’s not good for the babies.  What are you going to do about that?”

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When I was single and living this missionary life, it was much easier for me to brush these concerns off and radically trust, but as a mother now, sometimes the questions begin to unnerve me.  However, when I bring it to prayer, the Lord reminds me of a few things. First, that there are plenty of other families with small children living in Mexico, and they are doing just fine…albeit suffering in the cold months, but still able to live there.  Who am I to say that I my children are better than theirs, and they shouldn’t have to suffer the discomfort of a cold house and possible sickness that may follow from it?  Instead, Jesus is inviting us to join in their suffering, to offer it up for the salvation of souls and live in solidarity with the poorest of the poor.  Is sharing the Good News of Jesus enough to pull me out of my comforts at home in the USA?  Second, He reminds me of the reality that if my husband and I are called to be missionaries, it follows that our girls are as well.  He has entrusted them to us, and our call is our family’s call.  He also reminds me that this is the best gift that we can give them, growing up knowing, loving and serving Him.  We want our girls to give their whole lives to Jesus, and what better way to teach them but by living out that example everyday as we answer the Lord’s call to serve Him as missionaries.

The other day as I was praying, I was once again pouring out the concerns of my heart to the Lord and asking Him to give me confidence in this call, especially for my girls.  I was led to read a meditation in the Magnificat about the Nativity of Jesus.  As I closed my eyes and pictured the scene of Christ’s birth, I was challenged and comforted.  I thought about Mary giving birth in the manger, in the cold, the dirt, in discomfort and poverty.  God’s own Son emptied Himself to this state.  Mary and Joseph humbly and joyfully accepted the reality of their poverty.  They might have been looked upon as irresponsible for traveling so far from home when Mary was 9 months pregnant.  They didn’t have a place prepared for them ahead of the birth.  They didn’t have a plan.  They just trusted God and accepted the provisions that He provided for them.  And they were open and docile to be led by God, so that when the angel told Joseph in a dream to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt to save them from danger, they went without hesitation.

nativity

 Our God provides for, protects and cares for His people.  He wants to provide for us, but so often we are so busy trying to provide for ourselves that we don’t see Him or allow Him to take care of our needs.  He will protect us from evil, but we are so often living in fear, and trying to prevent every little suffering, that we don’t even remember to turn to Him and ask for His protection.  The Lord is inviting us on a journey where He can be our Everything.  Are we willing to trust Him and allow Him to be just that, even at the risk of looking irresponsible to the world?

As we begin this new year, may we draw near to the heart of Mary and learn from her total and complete trust and obedience, regardless of others’ opinions.

Help us, Jesus, to live in the freedom that comes from wholeheartedly answering Your call.  Set us free from all of our fears that paralyze us from following You.

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~ by martinsonmission on January 1, 2014.

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