Holidays Away from Family

Being a church planter is rewarding at times, but it is not easy. Take today. It's July 4th, 2011. A day where many family & friends are getting together to celebrate with their annual traditions. Some meet up at the lake, others in the streets, and some at parks for cookouts. It's a day of laughter & fun.

But, today, I miss my family. I especially miss my Dad. Today was his favorite holiday. A day of fun, no worries about his struggles or his depression. Today is yet another reminder that he is gone. I miss him.

I miss my mom. She is such a giver. She has the sweetest voice on the phone. There's something about a mother's love. At times, I long to be with her. I miss her.

I miss my brothers and sister. I am reminded of the times that we were given lighted cigarettes to light up our fireworks. Not the smartest idea, but it's what we did. I remember Mom letting us drink Pepsi, eat like pigs, and play until late at night. I miss them so much.

I miss my friends in Joplin. We spent the past five years there and our relationships grew deep roots. I wonder what they are doing this evening. I wish to see them all together again. I miss them.

But, today has been a great, rewarding day. We've spent the day on the slip & slide with neighborhood friends, had a firework war with the boys down the street, went to a cookout & met some wonderful people, and sat in our cul-de-sac with our neighbors for a fireworks show.

God has called us to leave our family, friends, and the security of what we've known to come here. He's called us to come to a city where no one knows us. They don't know the awards we've received. They don't know where we've served or who we have mentored. Our achievements seem to not matter at all.

So what does matter? Well, I believe that our love matters to them. Sergio and I are asking ourselves, how are we, as a family, going to love the neighborhood kids? How are we going to show their families the love of Christ?

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

This is how we will begin to show them love. We love them by opening up our home. We will remember birthdays, anniversaries, and special dates. We will ask them over for dinner. We will bless them with what we can give. We will wave to them when we see them outside and make time to visit when they are sitting on their porches. We will cry with them and we will pray for them. We will talk about our Father and share of His goodness.

This is how we will love and share life with them.

I believe that everyone wants to feel loved. Everyone has a story & everyone has a hurt. Even today, my own heart hurts. I miss those very dear to me, but "my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Psalm 73:26)

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5