As many of you may have seen I was blessed with the privilege of going to Haiti for a week to help implement a prenatal program. Before kids I went on quite a few mission trips, but this was my first trip as a mom…..you know, that whole have a baby, nurse a baby, have a baby repeat, repeat ,repeat thing didn’t leave much time to go gallivanting without a kid attached. My husband is awesome at being a husband and dad and took the reigns of both roles so I could go love on others (for my perspective on dad’s “babysitting” feel free to look back at my post about "the time I ran away for Mother's Day. I'd totally put the link here, but let's be honest, I literally have no idea how to do that ). I’ve been back for a few days and have been processing all the things.
One huge difference in coming home from a mission trip from a third world country with kids is, you realize you have made entitled, spoiled, brats for human beings. Within 30 minutes of waking up to my little heathens EVERY SINGLE ONE had complained or asked for something. It took all my Jesus centered self control I had just gained on my mission trip to not scream, “ You know what! You can skip breakfast today so you know how it feels to be hungry and none of this grass fed organic all the things crap! You’re getting beans and rice for the next week. ACTUALLY we’ll just skip Christmas and never go to Target again!!!! That will teach you!!” After a come to Jesus moment, I took a breath and remembered my babies know no different and it’s my job to GENTLY teach and demonstrate how to love others well.
As I drove each day, like a piece of popcorn, in the bed of a pick up truck (my hip replacement is scheduled for next week) I was struck every day with the breathtaking beauty of Haiti and the equally breathtaking poverty and despair. How do you reconcile those? I would grill Shannon (our fearless leader who is so knowledgable because she lived AMONGST these people for three years) about how we could fix things, how do we pull these people out of this and give them a hope in such sadness and pain. How? Their is not an answer. The more days I was there and the more I could fall in love with this people group and the more I watched Shannon tirelessly (and wisely) work I realized the answer is much the same as it is for all of us….
If you only look at the big picture and all that has to be done you will become bogged down and lose hope. It’s too much, it’s too overwhelming….if you rest, right where God has you, and do the NEXT right thing, you will get there. It may take a really long time, many mistakes will probably be made, their will probably be a lot of pain and/or sadness involved, but one step, thats it. Keep taking one step toward the big picture. I realized this on the Sunday I was there. We were at Bible study with the people from the village of Milo and a sweet baby, probably no more than 3, was falling asleep next to me (TBH, the mom in me kept envisioning her face planting on the cement, because that’s how things roll at the zoo), so I scooped her up and she melted into me and immediately fell asleep. Let’s be honest, I have been blessed with pretty cushy pillows…aka boobs, but whatevs. As she slept on me for 2 hours I realized that we don’t need to fix all of haiti (or the world, or your family, or whatever your “big picture” is) I need to sit and snuggle a sweet baby. I need to help the five women in our program to have healthy bodies to then have healthy babies. I need to come home and point my babies to Jesus, one step at a time, one day at a time, so they can then participate in the “big picture.”
My hope for those who read this is that you sit and rest right where God has you, have a vision for your big picture, but don’t get bogged down. Do the next right thing and move forward. The amazing thing is that God will meet you right there. Spending a week with people that have experienced more suffering than I probably ever will in my spoiled American life was a fresh reminder that my joy is not contingent on my circumstances. I saw the sweetest, purest, simplest joy. The sweet joy these people have is more breathtaking than the mountain views of Haiti. I want to be just like them when I grow up.
More to come on what I actually did there to come….
Here is the link to the foundation I travelled with http://foundationpsm.org. I cannot praise Shannon and the Haitian team.