I’ve waited my whole life to be an aunt. I remember being really young (like early elementary school) and thinking, “I can’t wait for my brother to get married so I can be an auntie and play with his babies!” I must have thought motherhood was too far away for myself and inadvertently placed my hopes and dreams onto my brother. I’m not really sure where this particular dream came from; all I know is I have looked forward to being an aunt for as long as I can remember.
And God was incredibly gracious to me. He let me have my dream. I was the aunt living in the spare room when my nephew was born and I got to be a full-time auntie. I was there for late-night diaper changes, his first steps, and his first day of daycare. Even when I eventually got married and moved out, my husband and I only lived half a mile from his daycare where we were on the pick-up and drop-off rotation. We loved being a regular part of his life.
Less than a year into living our picture-perfect life, my husband Patrick and I felt the Lord leading us to Colorado to be involved full-time with mobilization through missions discipleship. We had always known that we would be in missions full-time at some point and were praying about life overseas. What we didn’t know was that our first step in that direction would actually take us away from the ocean and toward serving as homeside staff at OMF. Nevertheless, we packed up our little home to set forth on a new journey.
The day before we left, we found out a baby niece was going to be added to our family. My heart grieved knowing we wouldn’t be around to watch this little one grow up in the same way we did with her brother. In the days to come, I found myself thinking about this quote by Oswald Chambers a lot.
“Obedience to the call of Christ nearly always costs everything to two people- the one who is called, and the one who loves that one.”
Moving to Colorado has been so fun but also incredibly difficult in many ways. Talking about giving up everything and moving away for missions was easy in college when I had practically no roots put down. As I got older, I settled into a home, a life. I invested deeply into relationships that I wanted to be present with for the rest of my life. I saw the innocent dreams of my childhood become a reality I lived in.
Choosing to follow God into missions means giving up the life I want for myself.
Missions means an unconventional, unstable, coming-and-going life. Rather than heading down the path towards the American dream of my choosing, it means following God into the unknown while he holds the map. It means I don’t get to be a part of my nephew or his parents’ daily life. It means watching all the major moments of my niece’s life on video.
It also means a nephew missing his aunt and uncle, being sad and maybe a little confused that they don’t come by to play anymore. It means a niece only knowing her aunt and uncle through stories. It means a husband and wife without their sister and brother.
We had to give up a lot in this journey, but so did the people who love us. We’ve all counted up the cost and we know Jesus to be worth it.
The beautiful thing about our God is that even though we had to sacrifice a lot, God did it first and our sacrifice pales in comparison to his.
Jesus went to the cross and endured the wrath of God … and he got us. But also, Jesus went to the cross and endured the wrath of God … and we got him.
No matter how you say it, I’m pretty sure we got the better deal in his sacrifice.
In every step of obedience we’ve taken, though seemingly costly, we’ve only ever gained more joy because we’ve received more of him. Every sweet blessing we’ve received from the Lord, we can surrender back to him with open hands because he has promised us his presence.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” -Psalm 16:11
Kay works as the Serve Asia Follow-up Coordinator at OMF where she has a passion to see short-term mission trips serve as a transformational experience in one’s discipleship journey. When she’s not working, she likes to dream up different creative cake designs or sneak away to the mountains for a good hike.