Eager, I race across the grass. Papa’s bright, golden sun is lighting the world. A fresh breeze blows, and birds sing praise high in the trees on The Three. I pop the lid down, reach inside–and there it is.
In the heart of my home, our kitchen, I open the mailer. Resting inside is the answer to my prayers. Prayers for grace, for a timely arrival. Prayers that nothing would go wrong (for it had been held up). Now, it’s here.
I look at the dark blue cover, gold embossing, and tears fall right down. Like grace-drops, and praise. Like love-notes, and wonder. Like spring rains that water the earth in the night, they’re prayers of thanksgiving, those tears.
In stillness, I savor this day. For who could have known one short year ago what God had in mind, what He’d planned?
How well I remember “the summer of our son’s discontent.” I remember his anxiety. His turmoil and frustration. The flood that ran deep, finally peaking. I recall the night that it spilled out, dam all breaking. I remember the season of prayer, answer coming.
It was at the Parent Launch on Labor Day weekend in Atlanta when it came. “God will use your kids as bait to change your heart.”
Like a lightning flash, it sizzled. Burnt a path in my heart; I could feel the import, and I wrote it down.
Who knew that an 11-month, 11-country journey was not just for him? That it wasn’t meant for our son only, but for us? And the community?
For who knew, starting out, that our own hearts would be captured, that they’d be plumb stretched out and enlarging? God knew.
I remember the day the first message came in from our racer across the blue sea. “We’re working with orphans in Albania, Mom. Teens.” Standing at a cross-country meet on a bright September day, the heart in my chest, it squeezed tight. There by a wooded trail, my kid had two parents who were cheering, applauding and loving. But under the same great sky, other teens…
I remember a day that came after that when an urgent message came through. “It will be intense. Pray, mom. It’s the refugees. We’re going to Lesvos.”
And all at once, all of a sudden, my heart broke in half, splintered in pieces for a tragedy I’d not known to exist. An entire people group…such suffering. That quick, with one ferry’s passage, an international crisis became local. All at once, we had skin in the game. Flesh and blood.
On a simple, plain booklet, these words are stamped, shining, “PASSPORT (meaning ‘miracles’),” and then below the seal in the middle, “United States of America.” And I am in awe.
For this plain, simple booklet will take me to Thailand where my heart will once more break in half, then enlarging. My boy will be there and the team I now love. But there are others Papa’s got, ready, waiting.
In a bar somewhere, there’s a girl I must meet. A sex worker, she’s His heart’s desire. In a bar over there, there’s a man who is preying. Who’s looking to fill up his longings.
Papa wants him.
There are orphans there, too. My mother heart’s loving. All of this He’s had ready and waiting.
What a plan. What a God. What a Helper. What a Dad.
And this mama, she’s ready to go, feet shod in the gospel of peace. Passport’s ready.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless HIS holy name. Amen.
Photo of Thai bar via @ravinat0r