How's it going? I have been away from writing on this blog for a while, but don't let it fool you. I have had much to say. I think the gracious LORD we serve has held my tongue for a bit so that I might not cause any of my sweet brothers and sisters to stumble.
And I pray this post does not make any stumble.
If you saw my Facebook post, I mentioned that I needed to pray and repent and pray some more before writing this. I have done that and I think I am ready.
Last November our family moved from our home in Keller into my Granny's home. It was a step in this journey that the LORD has us on, and although the miles were short between the two homes, the gap that was felt was much grander. Because it was a step that symbolized a much larger step going on in our hearts.
I am going to focus on my mommy heart and Ben. Ben was four years old when we took that step as a family. Constantly questioning, "Oh, now do we live at Granny's forever?" and craving the stability that most four year olds crave, he was working through what we were doing and called to as well as any child his age could.
He's doing a pretty good job if you ask me.
January 1, 2014 our family moved on to Kona, Hawaii for our training. Sounds magical and like paradise, right? Well, not so much for our newly turned five year old. He had not read all the travel brochures equating Hawaii with Heaven and didn't know that many people like to go there to get away.
All this child wanted to do was get away to his "home" in Texas.
But he worked through some things, by the help of the Helper and grew to make some friends and settle in.
Then we moved on to Israel. It was dark. It was tough. It was definitely a challenge. Ben wanted to go "home" just about everyday, and let's be honest, I did too.
But we were being trained, prepared, disciplined. And all of those things are good. I have to believe it for myself and for my children.
Then we moved back to Texas for a month. Back to "home" according to this, our youngest child.
I think he thought our "journey" was over. That we had reached our destination.
Just when he got settled, we hopped on a plane for Germany. The place we would stay for quite a while.
At first it seemed like a vacation. Really, the first two weeks in a new place can feel like that. A gracious family allowed our family to live in their home while they were in the States. We lived there for about a month while things got situated with the home that we are now in.
Here we are. Home. A settling started to take place. Ben got his own bedroom, for the first time in almost 10 months. He picked out his own bedding and began to understand that this is home.
This past Monday school started. Our three children were accepted to an American School here in Berlin. It is a tuition free opportunity for our family, and the blessing is not lost on us. We are so thankful to be there.
But, I may be speaking too quickly for Ben. He has not been to American kindergarten, and cannot begin in the Entrance class here in Berlin as he turns six years old before the year is over. (December 17th, he barely makes it!) So this means he jumps right in to 1st grade.
Somehow, the Lord saw fit to gift our family with an amazing teacher who knows Him and loves Him.
The LORD loves Ben more than I could ever dream of loving him.
And I love him a lot.
Ben has cried and thrown a fit every single morning as I drop him off. A full on crying fit where he is so distraught that he cannot even make sense as he is so lost in his situation. See, he is required to walk into the school building (a HUGE school building!) without a parent and find his way to his classroom and get all set up for the day by himself.
All five years of him.
It was overwhelming and I walked him in on those mornings this first week, despite the desire of the other teachers in the hall. (On a side note, watch your facial expressions, friends. They are soooo telling of what you are thinking!) But, Ben's teacher never shamed me for walking him in and reassured me that we will "get this".
I called out for prayer on Facebook after day three. I need you all. I needed you to breathe for me as it was so hard to take breath in and exhale it out. This task seemed too much, and my instinct was to catch the first train to the airport and fly "home" to Texas.
Which brings me to the train situation. We don't have a vehicle here, so we take public transportation. This has been a source of frustration for the past two months for our family. Much of our time is wasted on just getting to a place. Ministry, school, language class, church, you name it. As our ministry is actually all over this city, just getting there is a huge challenge and can be extremely frustrating if we miss our train, subway, bus, or metro.
We began praying for a vehicle and were not quite ready to make that prayer request known. We don't want to look extravagant in our life here. We are able to do what we do because others have sacrificed and given to the God they love and serve. It is such a gift for our family to be supported by so many that love us and support us, but we know that the love and support is first and foremost to our King. We always want to be cautious and responsible with how we live including what we purchase.
Back to day four. The day after many of you spent our sleeping hours, your daylight hours, praying for our family. Praying specifically for our Ben and a good start to his day.
He started off strong. I was confident that this would be the day he successfully entered the school without tears!
The train can sometimes be very crowded. Especially in the mornings as folks are heading to work and school at the same time.
As we were on the train, Ben was in one seat and I was behind him. He turned around upon my request so that I could document this successful day with my phone. He smiled big! He was so excited!
In his excitement, his little foot brushed the man in front of him twice.
This man took it upon himself to spank my son on the thigh.
I am just going to pause and let you take that in. A stranger who does not love my child, spanked him. Loud enough for me to hear and turn in disbelief. Hard enough to get a reaction from all in our train car.
A pop that would have landed this man in jail in the US.
I wanted to slap him. I wanted to speak words of death over him. I wanted to kick him. I wanted to curse at him and tell him what a worthless piece of...
But God would not have me to do this. Instead, I took my crying, shocked son into my crying, shocked arms and tried to hug away that pain. David was in the same train car as me, but did not see what happened. He saw me crying and came over. I told him what happened and he said, "Who did that?!?!" I nodded with my head to the man. The man was nonchalantly playing on his phone with earbuds in. The man looked up at David and was kind of like, "What? You want a piece of me?" (He didn't say that with his mouth, just his body language.) Then German words came out of his mouth that I don't understand, but can only imagine to be "His foot touched MY knee TWICE!" When this man spoke those words, about seven Germans on the train went at him. Yelling at him, explaining that you cannot do that to a child. That Ben is JUST A CHILD. I am not sure what else they were saying, but I knew they were on my side. On Ben's side. It was loud. We had no place to go. We were on a moving train. When it stopped, the others were still going after this man and one followed him off the train and I am not sure what happened after that...but I know what I was hoping would happen.
I cried. I was angry. I was in shock. I couldn't stop crying. I needed the nearness of God, and thankfully I felt Him and asked for His nearness to surround Ben. To wipe from his memory what just happened, because I believe He can and I believe it's okay to ask that. This man had no clue if Ben had been abused before, or if his legs were healthy, or that he was on his way to his big first grade class where he was going to be brave and try for the first time to enter a giant building all on his own away from his mommy and daddy. This man knew nothing about my son, but still hit him in frustration of Ben's little foot touching his knee twice.
This event proved pretty traumatic not just for a mom and her little son, but also for Emma and Jacob. It was hard to shake, ya know? We had never encountered something like this, and never thought we would.
We all got along with our day. I walked Ben into his classroom and cried to his compassionate teacher whom I just adore. She was gentle, loving and encouraging.
I know this is just how it is. I know that this behavior is not "typical" or really okay. I know all of this. I know this man probably does not know Jesus as Savior and will more than likely spend an eternity of being frustrated and hurt. I know this. I care about this. It is not lost on my heart to pray for this man. Not anymore at least. I had to work to get here. I had to pray. I had to ask the LORD for His eyes. I had to repent. I thought some really nasty things about this man and what I hoped would happen to him.
This is why we packed our family up and moved here.
There are so many people here who have never in their whole life heard of a Savior. They have no clue who Jesus is and what He did for them. No clue.
So, I forgive. Because that is what my God does when I lash out at Him for brushing against me, twice...sometimes even once.
He showed me a picture that day of His great love for me. For you. He loves us so much that He left His perfect home. That He dwelt among sinners that had no clue who He was even though He told them constantly. He loved them and they spat in His face. He fed them, gave them drink, and they called him names, beat him. hung Him on a cross to die a gruesome death.
When we punch God in the face, figuratively speaking of course, when He brushes against us...He loves us. He is unshakable. Our little fit doesn't phase Him and I can only imagine He is pained to see us in such pain.
This man on the train has to be in pain to hit a five year old for touching his knee. He has to. So, confessing with my mouth, I want to speak blessing over this man. That when he saw tears from my mother's eyes, me comforting my son with an embrace and love, and NOT lashing out at him, he saw a glimpse at our Savior. I was paralyzed in that moment, and I think the Lord was doing a work. I think He held my tongue because it is not fitting for His daughter to physically abuse one who uses physical actions in anger. Does that make sense? The Lord could save this man. I pray He does. I ask for the Holy Spirit to bless him. For him to walk in peace and love and joy. For his hands to prosper. For his family to flourish and grow. For his needs to be met and even some of his desires. Lord, bless him for Your great glory!
So, here is how you can pray with us; Will you join us in praying for a vehicle? Now, not only for the timely arrival to our ministry destinations and school, but also truly for the protection of our children. I do not think it is an extravagant thing anymore. And I am ready to share this prayer of my heart with you all now.
In His timing, we learned of a vehicle in Hamburg for sale that seats five. I learned of it last night from a friend. We are not sure it is the answer to our prayer, but we are sure willing to ask the Father. It costs 6,000 Euros ($7,900 USD) and we don't have that available right now. But, I know my God will supply our every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. He hears our prayers and He responds. This is not a desire for a more comfortable life. It is a mom's plea to her King for a tool to serve Him better and in turn, to serve and protect her children better. He knows that. He's got this.
This was a long post, and I am sorry for all the words. Thank you for reading through it and thank you for praying as the LORD leads. I am truly excited to see what He does. To give Him glory in all circumstances!
By the way, Ben walked into the school building on his own today. Not crying, not worrying, but chatting with his friend. Never looking back.
My God is Redeemer, Healer, Almighty, Provider!