When Troy and I first met and dreamed about a life together, we were convinced we'd raise our family overseas. He is a fluent Spanish speaker and I am fluent in Mandarin Chinese, so we figured we could certainly serve God and people in a country where one of those language skills could be used.
It's a (long pull up a chair and let me make a pot of coffee while I talk incessantly with my hands) story for another time, but in the end, we were called to doing a few things with our lives we never anticipated...namely: church planting, school founding, raising six boys, and creating what would become my online business, GraceLaced.
God often writes our stories differently than we see or hope to have unfold if we were to have written it ourselves. He doesn't always give us understanding, but he always calls us to trust Him. God may call someone to circumstances that may feel like sacrifice to one person, and not so to another. For us, the harder thing was not to go, but to stay.
Over the years, the Lord's graciously given us opportunities to serve for short spells in India (where we took two young ones,) Chile, China, and Zimbabwe...and I have tasted it: Seeing another person's truth in another world...changes you. And now, after over a decade of my feet planted pretty close to U.S. soil continually, I am grateful the Lord is shaking things up and reminding me that He is at work...beyond my walls, my borders, my own comforts.
I'm so honored to be traveling to Ecuador in two weeks with Compassion International, a Christ-centered organization that works through churches to support children and families living in poverty. I will be traveling with fellow bloggers and dear friends, Ashley, Shannan, and leader Bri. Ashley, Shannan, and I will each be bringing one of our sons, and I couldn't be more eager to see the ways in which they will grow from seeing into another's world.
I'm grateful to travel with Compassion, and more grateful still, to get to do it with my oldest, Caleb. At almost 14, he is already becoming a young man I laugh with, analyze with, work with, and enjoy as a friend. But seeing firsthand the poverty that exists together, and for him to serve Christ by loving with his 13 year old hands and heart...well, that is fulfilling a dream of this mama's heart.
I'll be honest: I'm a mess of emotions and scattered thoughts that span everywhere from how to pack for warm weather while I'm currently freezing to what our 3 year old sponsored boy in Ecuador will enjoy from the overabundance of our superstores? What can one full week accomplish? Both not enough, by my own resources...and more than enough, by Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20) The lives we meet, the stories we tell, the children rescued from poverty...they are divine appointments, after all.
You're invited to follow along this journey as I share what I see, hear, feel, and learn along the way. I'm an imperfect lens and I'll ask you ahead of time for prayers and patience as I seek to tell a true story that may be hard to hear. I would be so honored if you would join us and pray for us as we go.
Because of grace,