It’s one of those moments with events leading up to and following that are frozen in my mind. May 9, 2015. The phone call. The question. “Would you be willing to move to New Zealand?” The prayers, conversations and events that followed. Asking our family, our friends, our church community, and a group of people on the other side of the world that we had never met to take a giant leap of faith along with us. Happy one-year anniversary!
Day 364. Saturday. There we were again. Hosting a birthday party. In a different city. In a different country. On a different continent. In a different hemisphere. This one involved rockets and planets rather than horses and lassos. There was a giant cardboard rocket in our driveway instead of a horse in the back pasture. A bakers’ dozen worth of jet-pack clad kiddos blasted around the yard. I was overwhelmed with the community that joined us to celebrate—from church, from our neighborhood, and from Q’s kindy they came, offering the greatest gift of all—friendship. We are incredibly grateful.
At the very same moment, my sister was in labor with my nephew 7,500 miles away. Baby B didn’t make his entrance into the world until later that night when we were devouring fresh homemade dosas (the most delicious Indian food ever!) with friends. When we got the first snapshot of Baby B’s sweet little face via text message, I wanted more than anything to be on the other side of the world, kissing those baby cheeks and cuddling that sweet boy. We’re the kind of family that shows up—for the ordinary and extraordinary—and I wasn’t there. No amount of wanting or willing or wishing could get me there. I wasn’t supposed to be there. I was supposed to be right where I was. Truth be told, it was in the top 10 of most difficult days of the previous 363.
On Sunday morning, as I stood worshiping with our church family, it struck me. The call that the Spirit had begun whispering in our ears 365 days before was still the same. You can find it in Luke 9:57-62. “Come, follow me—don’t worry about your family. I’ve got them. I am holding them and loving them and caring for them in ways that you could not, even if you lived in the same town. I have called you to follow me no matter what.”
There are other big things we’re missing out on this week—a nieces’ baby dedication, a first softball game, a dance recital. We won’t be there for those really special moments or many others in the days to come. We’ll miss that proximity and savor the pictures and share in the joy of celebration, but we won’t have a lick of regret. Instead, we will be praising God for his provision for our families, giving thanks for the community of people who celebrate aspiring astronauts along with us, planning and praying for the future, investing in relationships, and anticipating evidence of God’s hand at work at every turn.
We are reminded that “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” We’re not looking back. On day 368 we are as confident as ever that God has called us to Crossroads Church and to Hamilton and to New Zealand for just such a time as this.