I always knew it would. At least for the past 7 years I knew it would. But still...knowing you're going to do something feels different to actually DOING IT.
Today we sent our daughter across the world.
For 13 days.
Not alone, obviously, since she's only "almost 16," as she would be quick to say. But having her outside the direct line of my eyes or her daddy's eyes...it might as well be alone.
I purchased and packed an entire pharmacy for her, for any possible ailment. I made sure she took lots of bug spray, tons of warm clothes for the cold nights, and plenty of snacks.
She calmly added all the things to her luggage, if only to keep me feeling like I was actually helping.
As I drove her to the church where she was meeting up with the rest of the team, I grilled her on things. "Don't forget..." "Did you remember to pack...?" "If you need to..."
She answered "okay," and "yes," and "I will," to it all.
And then she climbed her little self into a van, giant backpack and all, and rode away.
To GO to the world.
To be an ambassador.
To be obedient to God's call to her.
I am BURSTING with how proud of her I am. She's so brave. And tough. And obedient to her Father. And I cannot wait to hear all about how much the Lord will pour out on her as she obeys Him.
And as I sit here in the quiet, thinking and praying and smiling and crying, I am reminded of so many other mornings in the past 7+ years...
I have sat in the quiet, dark house, and cried, and prayed, and asked the Lord why He chose to do it this way...ever since my sister died.
She was brave too. And tough. And obedient to her Father's call. She left a mark on the world, for sure.
And she died.
And maybe my little girl, my Faith Danielle, would've become a missionary anyway. But certainly she wouldn't have been shaken into GOING so early in life if she hadn't walked through losing her aunt Joy, the missionary, at such a young age.
Because who ever heard of an 8-year-old asking the Lord "What now, Lord? It can't be for nothing. She can't have died for nothing."
And because He is ENTIRELY faithful, He has proven that nothing is for nothing. He has used the quake of Joy's death, the shock and the pain, to widen the scope of missionaries and callings.
There would be no trips to Bangladesh with our church if my sister hadn't died. If I hadn't spent all those quiet mornings crying, and praying, and wondering why the Lord chose to work the way He did, and why my sister's death had to be part of it...if not for all of that...this day would be just like any other day.
All I can think about, as I sit here, are all the children in Bangladesh at the school, and in the villages. The kids of the world were Joy's very favorite thing. She would've adopted them all if she could've.
But instead, she went to heaven, my little sister, and she left a hole on the front lines of ministry.
And today...today the Lord allows me the overwhelming honor of sending my baby girl, my only daughter, to fill that hole for a time. To play games with the kids, and hand out stickers and balloons.
Last night her brothers were sniffling and hugging her, and I reminded them: "Boys, we can do this. The Lord thinks we can do it. If He's sending her, He sees us here, and He is with us. It's going to be okay."
I'm saying it to myself this morning.
Because I can't stop thinking about all the years that have gone by since my sister died. There were days when I didn't think I would be able to take another breath, when the grief and the loss were more than I could bear.
But the Lord saw this day on all of those. And somehow, in His plan that I can never understand, He stood beside me then, whispering to me that He was trustworthy and good and faithful and kind. I FELT Him carrying me. I knew He was with me. I have learned that He is all that sustains me, and all of those lessons give me strength for this day.
Courage to send my fearless little girl into the fray.
Peace to trust the One who loves her most.
Comfort in knowing she is right in the center of His plan for her.
Hope in the understanding that, even when I don't understand the ways of God, that He is entirely, ENTIRELY, faithful.
Pray for her, and for the entire team.
Pray for the people of Bangladesh.
But most of all, let's all pray that we will see our loving Father at work in all our moments, all our past affecting our present, and all of our present a walk on the path He has laid before us, for the sake of the future.
When we say "YES" to the Lord, our path never only affects our own feet, but the feet of others as well.
That's what it means for a life to quake throughout eternity. For ripples to spread across the globe. For the kingdom to advance.
It isn't about me.
It isn't about you.
It isn't about Faith. Or Joy. Or anyone at all.
It's about HIM.
It's about THE ONLY ONE.
He is worth all. All that He has asked of me. All that He has asked of you. All that will come in the future.
Yes, Lord. I don't have to understand. I only have to trust You. Teach me to trust You more. For the sake of Your kingdom, I say...