Another Transition

Transitioning from this life Ben and I have lived here in the States for the past 8 weeks to a life lived overseas can be extraordinarily challenging. We are leaving a first world life of comfort and efficiency, surrounded by family, friends, things and places we love and find familiar to third world issues in the Philippines. We also have friends, things and places we love and find familiar there. "Home" is not one place for us.

For me, as a mom, this is an especially hard transition to leave my two daughters here in the states while I journey back to Davao. They are journeying in young adulthood, college, and work life. They'd both love for a parent to be here with them.

Talking with other missionary moms, I know this situation is not unique to me. It is heart breaking and hard on many levels.

Pray James' immigration paperwork comes through soon so we can travel as a family and all be together next summer.

These words sing in my head, and though my emotions are very sad, there is a deeper peace resting in His leading....

All the way my Savior leads me; What have I to ask beside? Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who through life has been my Guide? Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in Him to dwell! For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well, For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.

Newly Licensed

Mikayla now has her driver's license.

She has a job (several of them) as well!

And she has a great car from an aunt!

Graduated

I finished my masters degree in Human Services Counseling from Regent University!

I am thankful for this degree. I plan to provide much needed mental health services to missionaries on the mission field.

In Michigan

Ben, Mikayla, and I arrived in Michigan on June 2.

It's been quite a time here, filled with new experiences for Ben,

getting dental work redone because what had been done in our host country was not done well,

visiting with friends and family.

Ben loves how easy it is to find things at stores, the cooler climate, the better internet speed.....

Mikayla is learning to drive, has a cell phone, will continue college in the fall, and is looking for a job....

We are blessed and thankful to be here.

5 years

Five years ago today my visitor from Heaven returned to Heaven.

I often mention that Jerard taught me so much. He was a vessel of grace God used in my life to teach me many truths. Let me share a few with you....

The night we got James and Jerard scared me. I was afraid to hold Jerard due to his big head. When he was placed in my arms it was a weird sensation. His head so heavy, his body so light. Like a tweety bird. I was concerned if I held him wrongly his neck would snap. Innocence and vulnerability lay in my arms. Tiny body, large, heavy head beckoned my heart to love this little boy and do what I could to heal him, to relieve the pressure of fluid build up in his cranium. Love ensconced this innocent, hurting boy and wrapped it's tendrils around my heart for my little son.

As I think back to that night of first holding my son, Jerard, I ponder: His heavy head and little body symbolized my spiritual life at that time. I had a heavy head of knowledge that my Heavenly Dad, God, loved me. I knew Bible truths and doctrines. But was my life living out what my head knew and believed? Had the depth of His love for me sunk from head knowledge to heart? Not then.

Only through the caring for and loving on Jerard with all the turmoil, uncertainties, anxieties, joys and duties did that knowledge drain from head to heart.

Like Jerard needing shunts to drain cranium fluid from head to abdomen, I needed surgery of soul to release knowledge of head to heart felt believing-settled deep-truth and knowing.

Early on in the care of Jerard this song by Twila Paris became a background theme song in my head for our Jerard.

A visitor from Heaven If only for a while A gift of love to be returned We think of you and smile

Jerard had a great laugh. A wonderful smile. His smile and laugh could brighten up my day so well.

A visitor from Heaven Accompanied by grace Reminding of a better love And of a better place

Jerard's life has reminded me of a better love...the deep, deep, love of my Saviour. Jerard could be messy. I changed diapers on him all his life. He drooled. He liked to bite and pinch. He'd throw up, get sick, be messy....and isn't that how each of us are? A mess? And yet Jesus continues to love each of us just as we are, no matter what mess we are in.

Learning to give thanks in the mundane and dailyness of life, to see each moment as worship to Him is something I learned to practice in caring for Jerard.

With aching hearts and empty arms We send you with a name It hurts so much to let you go But we're so glad you came We're so glad you came

Not a day goes by that I do not think about and thank God for my son, Jerard.

With breaking hearts and open hands We send you with a name It hurts so much to let you go But we're so glad you came We're so glad you came

Jerard has been precious to me. Jesus made him just the way he was just as Jesus made me and my other children the way we are.

Jerard's special needs have been irons of fire Christ has used to mold me more into His likeness.

Jerard's blindness taught me to see the depth of love Christ has for me and for each of His children.

Jerard's weakness helped me discover more deeply the truth in God's word that when I am weak, He is strong.

Jerard's inability to balance taught me the need to lean into my Saviour always.

I loved the way Jerard just seemed to melt into me when I'd hold him.

It was a perfect reminder to me of my own need to lean into my Saviour, resting ever in His arms no matter what storm is raging around me.

I thank God for Jerard.

The road our family traveled in caring for Jerard was hard I do not regret the road:

It's been a road full of mercy a road leading me closer to my FATHER's love And all I know is that all is grace And my FATHER knew what He was doing when He created Jerard, When He brought him to our family. I rest in HIS loving arms Thanking HIM for HIS gift, Thanking Him for Jerard.

Jerard didn't do anything. He just was. His life was used by God to teach me His love for me just as I am. And I pray each of us spend time in quiet reflection on the depth of radical , passionate love God has for each of us, just as we are!