“We didn’t want you to worry, so we didn’t tell you…”
My parents don’t want me to worry. The day I moved across the world, they stopped telling me things that I used to be privy to in everyday life. For the most part it’s a good thing. I tend to take on the burdens of others too deeply. This is especially true when it comes to my family. And it has been heightened by the our geographical distance. Being so far away makes me feel powerless. I cannot help them.
In the 14 years I’ve been here, I’ve received several emails that started with “Don’t worry…” and then a story of things that made me worry. The source of my worry is that I’m losing life with my family. My parents, unwitnessed by me, have been aging. My sister is married and has kids I haven’t met. And none of them have met our youngest. When I hear of my family members being sick, I worry. I worry because we are not getting to share life. And I’m not ready for them to pass into eternity yet.
Last week, God had been talking to me about my family and my worries. He showed me that I had been living tethered to my past. He brought me into a new freedom and understanding about my life so far away from my family. I felt lighter. A great weight had been moved. I was seeing life so differently. And then, on Friday night, an email came: “We didn’t want to worry you, so we didn’t tell you…”
My strong, adventurous, resilient dad, whose life history strongly resembles the “Man from Snowy River,” has been ill for over a month. Actually he’s been ill for some years but he’s been increasingly ill the past month. In the past weeks, he’s been to a myriad of doctors for all kinds of tests. They are trying to piece the puzzle together. In typical ex-farmer strength, my dad said, “I’m not on a respirator in the hospital. I’m fine.”
But on Friday my Mum felt the Holy Spirit tell her it was time to tell me about his illness. When I read her email, I immediately knew I needed to go home. It wasn’t the desperate reaction of the girl-who-had-abandoned-her-family like I’d had in the past. It was like God had arranged the seasons and times to line up and He was ushering me home.
Yesterday dad received a very good batch of test results that showed improvement! The doctors don’t know the source of the issues yet. But I have this hopeful vision: For my dad to be well enough to play with my kids. For my kids and my parents to walk on the beach together. For them to chat and share secrets. To build memories. To be in relationship. I want to go home while my parents are still able to interact and commune with us. It’s time for me to go home.
One of my precious mentor mentors called me. She had some news: a group of dear people are raising funds for me and my kids to go home. I cannot believe it. I am utterly humbled. My pride is being peeled off. My dreams are coming true. When my precious mentor told me, I curled up on the kitchen floor and sobbed. Tears of gratitude. Cries of hope.
This is a deeply personal journey for me. I hesitate to write about it. But I feel like God is doing something that extends much further than just me and my silly homesick notions.
My mentor told me that she felt God speak to her in September about me needing to go home. Another person says that in December they felt like God put on their heart that I needed to go home. Two weeks ago, a friend felt moved to pray for me to be able to go home. This weekend she pointed out, “We prayed and God is already making it happen.”
I do not believe that me going home is very important in the grand scheme of things. But something grand is happening in the midst of this. I feel like God is doing something personal and majestic in the lives of those who are praying and giving.
People are giving so sacrificially. People who have already been giving to us… for we have had several years of big needs. People who have already given us groceries, paid our rent, paid our bills. People who have given toward my Lyme treatment. People who have given us gift cards, free babysitting, gifts. Truly we have been poured into over and over for many years. (Confession: My pride would say, “Too many years.” To be honest, I would rather be on the giving side. Pride, pride, pride.)
I feel like my little family is, for no reason deserved, receiving the abundance of the vision of the Acts church. The Body of Christ is pouring out the blessing of God they’ve received. Giving despite their own needs. Giving with love and mercy. Trusting that Yahweh will fill their needs too. I feel like I am part of something huge and sacred. My heart is quivering with expectation.
“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph… sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” (Acts 4:32, 34-35 ESV) “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” (Malachi 3:10)