Monday, March 25, 2013

Full hearts still hurt

A well-meaning mom asked me the other day this question. "How could you send your oldest son around the world at only 19 years old for six months!? I could never do that!" I truly hope my face did not convey what my mind was thinking because if it did I am sure the expression offended her. I tried to quickly regroup and had to simply state, "Because he was not my son first, and I don't ever want to stand in front of our Lord and have to answer for why I stood in the way of his God-dreams." It is the truth. It is my role in my son's life. His dad and I are to basically move out of the way at this point. We have done the best we can in our flawed human efforts to steward this child well that the Lord gave us so that he can grow into a man that chases hard after God. Why would we want to stand in the way of this pursuit now? We are seeing the years of prayers, tears, defeats, and triumphs come full circle and for this we are humbled and excited.

But, if I am completely honest, this flesh still gets in the way sometimes. 

This momma just misses her boy.

There are days that feel like I can't breathe simply because I want that 6' tall man-child to come barreling through the front door with that contagious smile of his announcing, "I'm home!" I so miss the way his little sister would squeal, "Austy's here!" anytime he would drive up. I miss hearing him playing video games in the other room with his twelve year old brother, all the while intentionally sneaking in tidbits of life that he feels are important to pass on to his younger counterpart. I miss the way that he made sure to always compliment my cooking and thank me for the meal prepared after dinner. I miss his political discussions he would have with his dad. I miss getting sneak peeks into video work he is doing and wanting to jump with excitement over seeing something that can move me to tears, or awe.

I missed my son's 20th birthday. 

I miss my boy.

But, God is faithful. As time moves on until Austin's return (counted down by a little sister, a homemade calendar, and a purple marker) God is teaching me so very much. He is teaching me not only to let go of the way things were, but to get excited in the things to come. To embrace those wings He gave my son that are meant to fly wherever He takes him.

The wonderful thing is, the more we watch our son soar, the more we realize that our dreams are not so far from his. Every picture he posts, every video he creates of his time there is one more draw into dreams about places we knew existed, but never saw.

And more importantly, it gives a face to people we pray for but have never seen. Those same faces could be any where in the world. They may have differences in appearance, but the faces are the same. They are faces that need to look upon a great Savior. 

Yes, as I cling to being able to Skype my son once every few weeks, wake up every single morning and check my Facebook and email before I even get out of bed looking for a message from 7,700 miles away, I can choose to rejoice whether it is there or not. I am watching my son grow into the man God wants him to become, and in turn, his journey is encouraging and challenging those of us that need to be stretched in our own way. This stirring in me for something more, something that is desperately fighting against complacency...this is because of a boy that stepped on a plane in answer to his call. In this, I can also rejoice.

My heart may hurt, but my heart is full.

                                                                                               (Photo Credit - Austin Wideman)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Perspective-Away From or Moving Toward

He's six hours into his longest portion of his connecting flights, with yet another six hours and forty-five minutes left to go. How do I know this? I have been watching on and off for almost eighteen hours now a little green plane follow a little line and make progress to different destinations on my computer screen.

Honestly, I have not decided if "flight-stalking" is good or bad for this Momma. I found this website a while back that would allow the kids and I to "watch" their daddy's virtual plane go from one destination to the next since he travels for work. That's kind of fun for the kids and I.

However, when you are tracking a plane that is taking one of your children to the other side of the world to live for half of a year, it feels a bit different. Not so fun anymore.

I watch that plane that I can't stop move further and further away from home. Away from his brother and sister. Away from his dad and I. Away from everything familiar.

Yesterday's good-bye was hard. Very hard. Different from any other time he has said good-bye. This son of mine has traveled before. This is nothing new to us. He traveled to India for 2 1/2 months his summer fresh out of high school just about a year and a half ago. We have known his wings are too big for our city. The head knowledge of what is happening is there. However, the heart is what you have to argue with. The sheer length of time he will be gone this time is what hurts this Momma.

As I stood there at the airport and watched my boy who is now a man walking away from me through that line, I couldn't breathe. I couldn't move. I tried to take in every little thing. Camera in hand. Being the kind of Momma that was surely embarrassing my man-child. Knowing that he loves me in spite of me. Needing to capture every last moment. Walking away...there he goes. Through that last check-point. Taking everything out of that airport check-point bucket. I wait. I watch.

There it is. That one last turn. That smile that has melted me for almost twenty years. The wave. I snap the picture.

I follow his movement until he is gone. Gone. Six months of not being able to hug my son just because I want to and can. Six months...

I turn willing my feet to leave that spot and actually have to tell my head to make my body leave that airport. Then it starts. The ugly cry. The gasping for breath, realizing that I think I have not been breathing for the last ten minutes. The tears begin. I don't care who is around. I don't even remember if anyone else is around. I start walking then. Quickly. I have to leave, quickly. Or I won't leave.

Leave. Away. These words hurt. They sting.

But words like Forward. Toward. These words grow dreams. Give Hope.

This, I will cling tightly too. For the next 180 days. Counting down toward seeing my son face to face again. Looking forward to hearing the stories and adventures that he had during this time. Letting go a little bit more. Letting him go toward what the plans are for his life. Plans not put into place by me.

Plans that can't be stopped. Shouldn't be stopped.

Just like that little green plane that now has five hours and 59 minutes left on this leg of the trip.

I love you son. See you soon...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 ~ The Year of Faithful

I sit here in front of a blank screen with a blank new year laying out in front of me. All new possibilities. Every day a new unknown. I don't deal well with the unknown. I need to know. I need to plan. I need to...

I need to be still. I need to trust. I need to sit back and rest in a faithful God who already knows completely what is completely unknown to me past this very moment. I know I need to learn to live in His moments, not mine.

I was recently challenged to "name my year." You know, to basically choose a word that you believe you need to focus on or an area you need to grow in understanding. After prayer and thought, I chose faithful.

There were a few words I could have chosen, but I soon began to realize they all stemmed from a lack of trust. Lack of trust in people, lack of trust in a lot of circumstances, but mostly...a lack of trust in God. A faithful, unchanging, always-present God. So, as we sat down to have our family bible time on the first day of this new year, highlighter in hand, I began to listen for my word chosen for this year. This first day of reading, Peter spoke of a "faithful" God. In 1 Peter 4:19 we are reminded that God is a "faithful Creator" whom we should be fully committed to even in our sufferings, continuing to do good.  The study note in my version takes it a step further saying, "If God can oversee the forces of nature, surely he can see us through the trials we face." Surely. When you read it put like that, it is almost sad I even had to choose a word like "faithful" as my word of 2013.

But I did.

So, here goes...

FAITHFUL - firm in adherence; loyal; worthy of trust; devotion

My faithful (worthy of trust) Savior has this blank slate of a coming year in his hands.

I don't "need" to know anything other than that.

Knowing this should be enough. It always has been. Always will be.

2013 looks to hold some exciting adventures that only the Lord knows how they will end ~ the first one being that we will be putting our 19 year old son on a plane in almost exactly 54 hours to go live in Asia for six months.

This momma's heart hurts. But, he has a Father who is more Faithful than I could ever be. 

I will make an active choice to press into the One that knew before my son was even born he would have plans to step on a plane headed for the other side of the world on 1-5-13.

And so, the blank slate of this new year begins to fill an overwhelmingly faithful Father in complete control of every single one of our moments.

One moment at a time...