Sunday, March 20, 2011

Laredo Mission Trip

We spent Spring Break with this amazing group of friends ministering in Laredo, TX.

God is doing a great work among the people in Laredo. After our second block party we were involved in, the crowd watched a drama presenting the gospel. Several people raised their hands wanting to know more about becoming Christ followers. And it was clear that it was the Lord's work--not some fancy program or building, no glitz or glamour. Just the power of the gospel. I literally cried watching it all take place, thinking, "Lord, it's all you. You are the pursuer of these souls." How beautiful.

And how even MORE beautiful that my children care for the salvation of these souls. They have no idea that Laredo is unsafe in many ways; they go willingly to those in need. Eager to spread the Good News and to show the love of Christ. Excited to play games with the children there, to hug on the little ones, serve popcorn and snow cones. All you need is a couple of bounce houses...

On Sunday while we were there, we attended a church service at Nuevo Desafio Baptist Church. This was one of the congregations started after our visit to Laredo last summer. Here's what was truly fabulous. We sang Santo Santo Santo (Holy Holy Holy), people there stood up and shared what God was doing in their life and why they want to thank him. When it was offering time, ya just go up and put your money in the plate at the front. Since a bunch of kids were there, a guy in the back and his wife took all the kids and taught them a great lesson about The Battle of Jericho. No props or puppets or lesson plans--just a willing heart and the Word of God. My kids loved it:) We sang a little with one great guitar player (Pastor Hervin Antonio who is starting the church in Rio Bravo). I seriously told God, "Lord check it out! We are in a little space in a shopping strip center in Laredo hearing the Word completely in Spanish. Just together praising who you are. Again, nothing fancy. This if flat out amazing--it's all you God."

We are going back in July to serve again. Oh and to eat at Taco Tote, which is greatness. And to risk being a little uneasy (since I do read the news like the political junkie that I am) just so I can see this...

And plus where can you find this kind of fun with your 5 year old and his buddies while listening to Justin Bieber for about 9 hours in the car? Did you know you can still sing with water bottle labels across your mouth? Well now ya know. Pure greatness.

As we left Rio Bravo (which yes is right on the border) for the second time, I did consider having Taylor drop me off here on the way out of town there. Pay CLOSE attention to the business name.
Our family is grateful for Church At the Cross in Grapevine--thankful for a church home who is willing to teach its families that serving outside the box is the new normal. And I am glad my kids won't remember life any other way:) Well, unless I leave them in a gas station in Waco (previous post)...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mother of the Year

Do you have a running list in your head of things you will never allow to happen on your watch now that you are a mommy? Things that secretly you have judged others for, wondering how on EARTH would any good mommy in her right mind allow such a thing to happen? I have a list a mile long. Well today I am eating CROW, feathers and all...

Here is the sweet face of my Sarah Beth, an almost 8-year-old bunch of fun. My mini-me. She is actually 30, just shoved into this tiny body, which is what my mother used to say about her. Here she is serving popcorn at a block party in Laredo. And on our way back from a mission trip yesterday from Laredo TX, in the midst of chaotic car loading between 2 vehicles, i left my sweet Bethy in a Waco gas station stranded on the candy aisle...

For exactly 5 minutes she was left alone as we got to the next exit on I-35 and turned around to get her. She would have been sitting right behind me, but I thought she was reading a book. I never turned around. I assumed she was there. What a foolish assumption I had made. Her oldest sister and a friend let me know she wasn't there. "Stop joking girls," was my first response, as I leaned over to see that it was NO joke. Our friends drove quickly to get off and turn around to get her. In those 5 minutes I prayed against all the fear circulating "what if's" in my imagination.

As I ran into the gas station and called her name, she leapt into my arms and sobbed, "I'm so sorry mommy. I didn't mean to hide by the candy. I was just looking." The guilt! Poor sweet child must have heard me say I am sorry about 100 times in less than a minute.

She had been protected by the sweet ladies working at the gas station, had given them my cell phone number and they were just about to call. I thanked them over and over, climbed into the car, and double-buckled with my sweet Bethy the entire rest of the way home. She never cried. Only her little heart raced. I could feel it as we sat so close. I said,
"How did you feel when you were in the store?" Her response? "I was kind of scared but I knew you'd come back. You wouldn't leave me. And besides, God sent the nice lady with the pretty blue fingernails to protect me." Apparently this was a feature I had overlooked on one of her protective angels:) Humbled by the trust she has placed in me, not knowing of all that could have gone wrong. Not failing to trust in a God who is all-powerful to protect and restore. I am humbled. This defines child-like faith. Oh how her heart must please Him with such a sweet trust.

I didn't cry where she could see me. I didn't cry when she prayed for the lady with the blue fingernails. I cried like a failure when she couldn't see. Moments like these make me understand why people look at me like I have too many kids to keep up with. Moments like these remind me that I am a fool to pretend to have it all together. Moments like these give way to the enemy, who drives me to believe I am a complete mommy loser.

Praise be to God who gives children the grace to forgive, even when we do not mean to fail them. Praise be to a God who can remind me that I AM the best mommy I can be to this crew--this science experiment of life--where I as an only child, am now raising 4. Unchartered waters, which sometimes cause me to think I am drowning. But he is faithful to restore me, through confidence in Him.

I am patching myself up today through the power of His Word, fighting back Satan's "Mother of the Year" speech that he continues to replay.

Ps 28:7 "The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults. And with my song I shall thank Him."