It was a simple and sincere request from someone who loves my daughter - "Please reconsider". I'm planning on leaving my daughters with family for 10 weeks while I go to India, seemingly, because God has told me to. She is NOT the first, and won't be the last. And I especially respect that she was bold enough to say it rather than suggest things, make vague references, But...
"Please reconsider" can only be done if I'm doing this as part of my own desire, and not God's. But oh, reconsider I did, and do, often. "Did God really say?" may be what the devil tempted Eve with as he offered her the apple, but it's also something it seems I'm constantly hearing myself. Folks don't say it specifically - but it's implied when you suggest someone reconsider doing what God told you to do. "Did God really say?"
I went to Bible study Wednesday night and ended up in a great conversation with a missionary who, also, expressed her concerns for my children and we prayed together that God would make His way clear and "shut doors that I can't open, and open doors that I can't shut" so I follow where ever He wants.
And perhaps, I'm entirely wrong and India isn't what God is telling me to do.
But the next morning I woke up feeling calmer about the separation (I generally have a curl-into-a-fetal-position-crying mindset just thinking about leaving my girls) and then I got to have breakfast with my 3 yr old.
Conversations with a 3 yr old are always interesting, and this one was no exception. But at the end I was halfway through my story when I realized the words I was saying:
"Michaela, you need to cover your mouth when you cough, otherwise your sickie germies can get on things and make Aunt Gigi, or Dubba, or Davie or Angel sick."
"But I can cough on my toys?"
"No, you shouldn't cough on your toys either, because then Aunt Gigi might pick it up and touch your germies and get sick. Mommy would have to wash it"
"In the washing machine?"
"No, the toys are hard they would break the machine. you can only wash soft things in the washing machine, not hard toys. Your pajamas are soft, so they could go in there, but not your cup, or bowl because they are hard."
"Could I put a piggy in the washing machine?"
"A piggy needs to breathe air, and in the washing machine a piggy would drown in the water"
(We go through various animals and their need for air)
"A fish would be the only animal that might not die in the washing machine because they can breathe water, they live in the water." I remind her of Marlin and Dori from "Finding Nemo" and how they live in the water.
She begins to tell me about how they might get eaten by a shark and how scary that would be.
So I tell her the story of Jonah and the whale. A man who got eaten by a huuuuuuge fish.
She's sitting at the table eating her Cheerio's while I"m running back and forth the kitchen showing how Jonah didn't want to go where God told him so he ran the other direction, then I'm vividly trying to describe the waves tossing the boat around and Jonah telling them to throw him overboard..
"BUT THEN HE MIGHT GET EATEN BY A SHARK!" interjects Michaela
I'm telling her how right she is and describing his prayer in the belly of the fish when suddenly the words I'm saying hit me "Please Lord, get me out of this fish and I will go where you wanted me to go".
Talking with the missionary the night before I had mentioned how much safer I feel within the will of God. Regardless of what He might ask of me I feel confident of provision and His keeping, that things are going according to His best plan if I simply do as He asks. I said if I go other directions I don't have that confidence, and as a single mom feeling confident of His blessing and being in step with His will gives me a great feeling of security. She stressed to me that of course, God's love for me as a child doesn't change if I do something wrong, just as my love for my children doesn't change.
I didn't have a good answer for that last night, except that yes, God would still love me. But it's safer in His will than out of it.
It wasn't until I was telling a story of a man getting thrown overboard because God sent a storm to stop him from going the wrong direction that I realized what I wish I had remembered last night.
A prime example of how going the opposite direction God is pointing is a bad idea.
There's love regardless, but a certain amount of safety being in His will rather than out of it.
That said, I don't want to go to India.
I want to live a powerful life for Christ, own furniture, maybe get a puppy,and cook American pancakes on Saturday mornings for breakfast in my American little house, with my girls getting American education and learning about the wonders of Amusement parks and funnel cakes. But if I do that now, without having gone to India...I don't feel that same security of "everythings gonna be okay".
I don't know what the future holds. But I know that regardless of how much I like the timing, how necessary the money is that He may want me to give away, or how I don't have money to pay for some teen mothers hospital bills so that they don't abort their kid - If God is calling me to do it I need to do it and trust that the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills will be able to provide.
Meanwhile I also need to trust that He'll also comfort two little girls who I've been told will feel abandoned. That they'll forgive me for not considering them "enough of a ministry" and that He'll help them understand that they are not my "first priority". And that somehow, some day, these two kiddos that I'm gonna miss like all get out will want to be like my Jesus too. Despite me.