To the Ones I Want to Give the World To,
In just a few days I will have to say goodbye to you. Every time I leave I think it will be easier than the last, but it never is. Just thinking about that parting brings tears to my eyes. I am so used to you being the biggest part of my day. From waking to sleeping, there are so many moments in between in which you need me.
When I am not with you I wonder how I can be apart from someone who feels like an extension of my very being. I can’t believe I have only been mother for nearly 7 years and was something else for 28 long years before that. I can’t remember what it was like to not be your mom.
These moments of leaving are glimpses into what someday will be more permanent. Right now it is me setting out without you and only for a short time. One day it will be you leaving me for the big world out there and there will be a permanence to your leaving that I can’t bear to think of just yet. I hold onto you as long as I can knowing that day will come far sooner than I am prepared for.
As your dad and I get ready to go we talk to you about the places we will visit and show them to you on the map. World travel doesn’t seem strange to you as you speak a few words in languages not your own. I laugh at Arabic or Hindi spoken with your little southern American drawls and when you ask if the people in the part of the world we are visiting live in tents like in the Bible.
But I hope you understand more than a couple words of foreign languages or an acceptance of what is outside your own culture. I hope you grasp the reason we do what we do and it seeps deep down into your heart even now.
I pray that the love for people that don’t look or speak like you is part of the marrow of who you are, that prejudice never enters the realm of possibility for you because you have always seen other cultures as beautiful.
When I second guess leaving you for this time, I remind myself how you look at dark skinned people and say how beautiful they are. I wonder if you would feel that way if we didn’t spend time showing you the pictures of us laughing with the friends we made along that last trip.
Sometimes it is hard when you come home asking for that certain new toy your friends at school have or we listen to their stories of vacations to theme parks and summers spent basking in the sun. There is a bit of a war in my heart, I won’t lie. I want to give you everything your heart desires and I have to fight back against jealousy when I see things I can’t give you or even that I have chosen not to.
It’s so hard to say “no” when those sweet little eyes beg for instant gratification and I want to give it. But we have chosen to live differently with a little less so that we can do more traveling, giving, serving – modeling the life for you that we believe God has called us to live.
I want to give you the world, my precious ones. Sometimes I have to remind myself that doesn’t mean more technology or those new clothes I long to buy you. There is a battle in my heart that wants to give you the things you want but knows that the eternal impact of teaching you to pour yourself out for others will matter more in the long-run.
Babies, I hope you can see we are giving you the world in the best way we know how.
This beautiful, diverse, strange, painful, hopeful, crazy world God created – it is waiting for you. It is full of people who live in pain and need someone to show them love. It is full of people who have so much to teach you that you can never learn staying where you are. It is full of lessons about a God that is so much bigger than you can imagine, if you will just say yes to stepping outside of your comfort and letting go of your fear.
This is the world I want to give you. For now, you see the world through our eyes. One day we will take your little hands in ours and you will walk into it with us. One day, not much farther than that into the future, you will let go and walk into the world without us. I pray we have given you all you need to navigate this life when that time comes.
Until then, little ones, I carry you with me every step of the way and all that I do is to make this a world worth giving to you when that time comes.