I love being a mom! I can’t believe the adventures being a mom has brought to my life. I’ve had the honor of mommyhood for 19 years and grateful for the hours and days and years I’ve spent with my three beautiful children! The ups and downs and challenging mom days have prepared me in so many ways to have the courage to face the new dreams in my life. I’ve made so many mistakes through the years, I lost count after the first year of my son, Michael’s life. Every day is an opportunity to grow in love, wisdom, forgiveness, prayer, perseverance, and faith. I often tell my friends, I wake up every morning grateful for another day my kids are making good choices, and committed to living a Christ filled life. We all know life is hard, and parenting never gets any easier, no matter where you live in the world.
I think the greatest challenge this year has been mentally, asking myself countless times, am I a good mom on the mission field? It was the scariest decision to bring our two daughters, five year old, Zoie and sixteen year old, Hannah with us on our mission-adventure. Making the choice to home-school was easy, but actually homeschooling scared me to death. The fear rippled through me for months, can I really do this?Will I ruin Hannah’s education? Can I do a good job? The fear kept me up at nights, and even though the theme I rewind over and over … do it afraid played in my mind, like a broken record, I really had no idea if this was going to work out. It’s amazing the people God put in my path to encourage me as a mom on the field. Mom’s came out of every corner helping me pick the best programs and reassuring me, I could do it!! Even though, I doubted, I moved forward with baby steps and a whole lot of prayer. I’m happy to report, homeschooling my girls has been such a joy and privilege this year. They have both had great attitudes (which really helps) and have handed me the gift of grace. The last thing Zoie’s preschool teacher (my best friend) told me before we headed to Haiti was, “make every day count and don’t mess this up!”
Michael and Hannah and Zoie have made big sacrifices going with Roger and I on our 12-month mission adventure. Believe me, I’m reminded every single day sleeping on bunkbeds, and taking cold showers … battling killer mosquitoes and critters when we go outside our little cement house. I’m constantly worried about one of us getting malaria or worse, dengue from the day mosqs. At night, when the voodoo drums are pounding, I wonder really how safe we are in the village of Pignon. This much I can say, Jesus has never failed us. He has been faithful and caring and patient with our family. It’s so hard for me to understand WHY He asked our family to give our stuff up and go. He could never have picked a bigger wimp than me. Seriously, I’ve lived life as safe as I can … just ask my family and friends. They will testify that I am a big chicken, that I like being comfortable, that I have been at times, selfish with my time and money. I’ve lived many years thinking only about me and my needs. It breaks my heart to think of all the time I’ve wasted in my life. I feel embarrassed knowing how many people I’ve hurt in my past, due to un-forgiveness and selfishness. I’m the last person in the world that would have thought God would ask to serve as a missionary. Writing this, I have tears streaming down my face, because I know how many chances God has given me as His adopted daughter. He never gave up on me, and continues to hold my hand as I learn to live in His will. I will be forever humbled and grateful that God gave me grace grace in every area of my life, and decided to take a chance with me serving and loving big on the field. I’ve lived an out-of the box life and I know what a privilege it’s been to have the family I grew up with and the unique opportunities being Gary Smalley’s daughter gave me the past 46 years. I try to call or text my parents often to thank them for being the best parents and believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in me. I’m working on forgiving myself most of all … asking the Lord to allow me for the rest of my life to share the gospel and serve Him through Simply Love ministry anywhere in the world where He needs me the most. Am I willing to go? Yes, I’m willing to continue to be stripped, and used, and molded to do the purpose God called me to do. Am I scared? Oh yeah!! But, I don’t want to waste another second of my life not doing what He has called me to do. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
So, am I a good mom on the mission field? I pray that God works through all my crazy mistakes and failures as a mom, and … I want my three children to have the courage to take risks, try new things, obey God at ALL costs, and never be afraid to live a God-adventure. I hope I have in some crazy way, modeled for my kids to serve big and love big … no matter what you have to give up in life, no matter where you live in this world. God can use us if we are willing to simply love.
What are you willing to give up to live a new God-adventure?