“Mom, I’m thinking about going to ______________ [a closed country where missionaries go in under other platforms such as business or teaching] over Christmas break.” “What?” “How?!” “With whom?” This text exchange between our youngest daughter and me happened last night. But what Melanie (daughter #4) didn’t know was that this was supposed to be the perfect Christmas. The Christmas I’d waited for. The Christmas where all six kids (including one by marriage) would be home. The one where daughter and son-in-love #1 could join us from South Carolina. The one where daughter #2 would return from her mission in Brazil, where one-and-only son would return from his new job in California. The one where daughters #3 and #4 would have almost a month’s break from college. The one where my mom might join us all the way from Ohio. The perfect Christmas. The perfect Christmas. A fully-decorated house. At least two trees. Cookies filling the pantry, tables groaning with other food. The traditional fast-food Christmas Eve supper followed by the candlelight Christmas Eve service. The perfect Christmas. No, we wouldn’t act out the Nativity story as we’d done when the kids were small, but we’d read it from Luke 2 before we opened the presents. We’d eat our traditional Christmas kringler (a Danish coffee cake) and sing “Happy Birthday to Jesus” just as we’ve done every year in, well, forever. “Mom, I was encouraging another girl to go. I said, ‘What’s stopping you from going?’ And then she turned around and asked me, ‘What’s stopping you from going?’ “Mom, I really think God is calling me to go.” My kids have come to expect my answer to almost any big question to run along the lines of “We’ll pray about it,” and “Do whatever God wants you to do.” But the deadline for this decision? Midnight, the same night she called me. So yes, I said the words—but did I mean them? As I...Read More
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