Tomorrow, our family will have been home one full week from a one month visit to Texas.
We are all that you think Texans should be. We love the people of Texas. We love the food in Texas. We love the manners in Texas. We love the land of Texas. We love horses and their smell. We love boots. We love jeans. We love Dublin Dr. Pepper. We love the Gaines Fam. We love salsa. We love the history of Texas. We love Texas sports teams. We love the people in Texas.
We just love Texas.
As a missionary wife and mom, I was scared to take our family back to the land that we love so dearly. We had not been in three whole years and my heart was so conflicted.
"Would our children resent us for taking them out of this amazing place?"
"Would our family seem like strangers?"
"Would all the comforts of 'home' overwhelm us?"
"Would our friends understand how much we love and miss them on a daily basis?"
"Would we be able to spend as much time as we wanted with each friend and family member?"
So many thoughts flooded my mind, and if I am honest, I think they did so because I read so many missionary blog posts from folks who had been home on furlough.
These blog posts did not fill me with hope or encouragement.
Instead they filled me we fear and discouragement.
One of my gifts is that of encouragement. If you know about giftings from the LORD, you know the enemy does what he can to present the opposite of your gifts in causing strife and turmoil.
I knew I wanted to come away from our time in Texas with a full heart and a word of encouragement. I think I have that. I pray the LORD speaks through me as I sit here and type out my heart to you.
We had not been home in three years.
I know we have said that before, but let that sink in. So much can happen in three years. Babies were born and by the time we arrived on scene they were out of their toddler phase and full kids. Friends were married. Family and loved ones moved into new homes. Some moved church homes. Many changed jobs and some changed their family dynamics....either by adding or subtracting in numbers.
When I think of "Three Years" I always think of Moses.
So much can happen in three years.
I love that a momma took her forbidden child in, as an offering unto the princess of the nation, to feed and nurture him into the man of God he was destined to be. And she did so in about three years.
Without getting sidetracked, can you catch my point here? So many things changed in that time and I was just dang scared that I wouldn't be who my friends and family knew me to be. That my kids wouldn't be who they remembered them to be. That THEY wouldn't be who I remembered them to be. That they wouldn't like me or us.
Wow. That thought-caster of an enemy is one heck of a devil.
We arrived on July 1st to a sea of friends and family. They were at the airport, ready to greet us with signs and love and Sonic Dr. Pepper!
My heart was overwhelmed from the moment we landed until the moment we came back to Berlin.
Overwhelmed with goodness.
When I read the blogposts from other missionaries, I was left with a feeling of hopelessness and despair. I was crying in my spirit for a different story and man....the LORD gave me a different story!
You guys, our King is amazing and so glorious! He is Provider of all good thing and we need not worry about tomorrow! He is so very into all the details and He knows us and our children better than we can ever hope to know ourselves or our kids!
We were FILLED UP during our time in Texas! A while back the LORD have me a download of how our time should go and I knew in that moment that all would be okay if we just stuck with His plan.
Sure, there were times when temptations came to go off the track the Lord had for us. But we remembered His word to us and tried our best to hold fast to His plan.
He is so worth it y'all!
So, we were fed. We were housed. We had vehicles everyday. We ministered. We prayed healing. We prayed deliverance. We rested. We slept. We sat under the teaching of our friend and pastor. We had a ton of fun. We met incredible people. We were prayed over. Others ministered deliverance to us. We were given prophetic words. We went deep with our people. We were encouraged. We were filled with joy. I got my hair highlighted. The kids spent the night with friends. We had late dinners and late mornings. We prayed so, so much with friends and family. We ate so much Tex-Mex and we are still floating on the high of that. We celebrated many birthdays. We celebrated Thanksgiving. We celebrated Christmas. We celebrated Easter. We celebrated Valentine's Day. We were in OUR country on the 4th of July and worshipped with brothers and sisters as we tried our best to give thanks to the King of kings for the true Freedom that He gave us. We had friends from Kona who have lived with us in Germany stay with us.,,,thus we got to share our Texas lives with friends who didn't meet us there. We proclaimed His goodness. We vacationed. We proclaimed His faithfulness. We played. We were given many suitcases to fill with our not-so healthy-treats from home. You filled these suitcases with the not-so-healthy-treats withOUT judgement. We swam. We had deep conversations. We reconciled misunderstandings. We sat in air conditioned homes with blankets in our sweatshirts, and it was glorious.
Y'all, are amazingly amazing.
We have truly had the summer of a lifetime and I have no words to describe it.
I have tried and come away sad that it just isn't enough.
But my prayer, is that the Holy Spirit will talk to each one of you today, tonight. That the Spirit will remind you of our times together. That you will be filled and encouraged. That you will know the Maker of the universe a bit more...not because of me or us...but all because of Him.
He is so good.
I love the LORD so much more today than I did yesterday.
I love Him so much more today than I did before our trip home.
When we landed we felt ready to go forth in expectation of all that the Father has for us and we have! Already lives have changed and we haven't been here a full week...praise be to God!
I pray you hear in these words that our trip home was full of delight and joy! I pray you hear that we love y'all more than words can say! I pray that if you were scared to say the wrong thing to us or scared that your words might hurt us, that you hear that we loved your words. We loved our time with you. We loved your words of life and we are encouraged in spirit by them.
We treasure our time in Texas.
It had been a long time and we pray it is not three more years until we can return.
But even if it is, Jesus it worth it.
He just is.
And we will walk forward in the ministry He has called us to completely confident and full of encouragement from the land that we love so very much.
From the bottom of our hearts,