The Important Things

Her unexpected tears over after church quesadillas have taken their place thisclose to Fly Baby Fly. I would tell you the exact number of days until graduation then training then launch except for I am not counting. She has a countdown, yes, but don't even ask me to deal on that level. I may have already told you that.

This will be the first time our family will send one of our own out into the great big world. And with this happening it has gifted me a lot of thoughts on the important things

Here's where my thoughts are coming from– Carly has decided to take a gap year to serve people in Jesus' name. Since she was little she talked about doing this one day. One day is now coming. The realization that she is leaving us for nine whole months to serve in Guatemala, Lesotho, and then Cambodia is exciting to talk about but striking to live out. Her Grandma is literally afraid for her life. Well meaning people have asked me about my own work in anti trafficking and am I afraid she might get trafficked. Carly herself is trying to learn to suffer through headaches because she doesn't believe me that she will have enough ibuprofen. 

As parents, EP & I, we've really tried to not hold our family too tightly. Stay with me. I can't really pinpoint when we decided to live this way. Maybe when EP and me loaded 8 month old Carly and a small U-Haul to Missouri for Bible College. Or maybe when we read Irresistible Revolution. Have you read this? Or maybe when the psychotherapist during an adoption interview said You know you have the perfect family dynamic for the healthiest kids, mom and dad, one boy and one girl. It has been our mission to make our life available and open to be used of God. To not put too much stake in our home, in our things, in our life that we wouldn't be able to open handedly release it if needed. But, a Mama Bear is a Mama Bear, right? 

Then there was this time we took a group of students on mission week to Houston's Fifth Ward. One of the nights the YWAM leaders took us to downtown under the big white neon cross to a place they called Crack Alley. Carly was on this trip with us. Before we could grab hold of her she was off with water bottles in hand passing them out to all of the homeless drug addicted men standing in the Alley. She was easily striking up conversations only coming back to us for more water bottles then jogging back to meet as many people as she could. I would be lying if I said I was in perfect peace. No way. Mama Bear was watching every little move. 

I saw the people around her, they were drawn into her caring eyes and quirky laughter. Their hard faces turned tender in ways that I can't really articulate. That night in the middle of Crack Alley at 1:00 am on a Friday night, and over and over after, I have been reminded by a sure voice in my ear to Trust me With Her - Trust my spirit within her. 

We are not special people. Trust me. I don't write this to say take your kids to Crack Alley or you will not be living on mission, but I do feel compelled to say, make it a point to actually live like the gospel matters. Am I the only one who struggles with this? Way back when a Father sent his Son to go and redeem the world. And when the Son left to go back to the Father the thing he said to his followers was to go out and make disciples. The Son gave his life away and if my theology is correct we, the followers, are to model after him day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute. 

Moms and Dads don't be afraid to live the gospel with your children in tow. Living the gospel is telling the good news. Tell with words, yes, and tell with your life. Go find some people who do not know the good news and live it in front of and with them. Start by telling your own gospel telling. Your story glued to the gospel of Christ can change the world. How did you learn, who told you, how did it change your life? Be a teller. 

Young families don't be afraid to not care about this world. It is so pretty with all of The Things, and consuming with baseball, ballet, work, dinner, shopping, coming and going, but do something to keep your eyes focused on truth that this life is passing away. At my high school project grad there was a money catching machine. I think of it often because I struggle hard with love of money and the love of things. In the machine you would step in and someone would flip the wind switch that would make the money fly, the idea was to catch as much of it as you can. Let's remind each other that we are not here to catch as much money as we can, but to pursue the hearts of people. Hey there, I am not against money, nope. I am just saying hey, let's not love it, okay

To my single and newlywed wildfire friends, oh my word, your life excites me. With so much love I say do not stall what you are doing waiting on a partner or babes. I am praying for your heart desires to be known and found, but be about the work. There is never a time in your life when you will be fully able to hold your days loose like these days. And know that your smiles and talks and joy and energy and freedom spur me on. 

Students, you are full of thoughts and dreams and visions and ideas. You haven't been bitten by all of the realities of life, most of you, anyway. You are deciding who you will become and I know it feels too big. All of a sudden you are given so many decisions that you get to decide even though some of your mothers still make your doctor appointments. You are living in a great tension between child and adult. Listen, we need you and your unashamed trust of God. When you do something you do it all the way. Don't stop. And, for the love, don't stop following us. It's true, we will fail and we will probably fail you. Learn from us. We are in the word daily to lead you because we know before long you will be the ones leading. 

We get this one time on earth. This one chance to be a friend, to love, to give our lives away, to tell the gospel with our lives. It may take all of our life, it may change our schedule up, it may take us across the ocean or across the street, it may re direct our spending, it may make us talk to people who we call strangers, it may send little homeless baby boys to our front door for a bath (yes, that happened, and it could happen to you), but I know from my experience so far, you will not regret all that it may take. 


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  1. Where will she be in Cambodia? Would LOVE to meet her! And someone just gave me 1500 ibuprofen and I'd be happy to share. 😘

    1. I am not sure where she will actually be in Cambodia. I don't think we know specifics until closer to her arrival there.

  2. debra, i have always loved you and your words. please write forever. i will keep reading.