‘He’s going to grow up not knowing who he is’.

We’re a real crossroads in our life at the moment.  Us, my family.  Coming to America was only ever going to be a temporary thing.  Our three year visa was actually extended and we were granted an additional two years.  We have to leave the country by early next year.  Which brings us to now – a crossroads point in our lives where we are exploring options for what to do next, where to go next.

‘He’s going to grow up not knowing who he is’ – those words were casually yet pointedly spoken out to me last week.  A warning of sorts, by someone who cares, but a critical spirit tends to prevail at times.

Yes we may end up in another country, and not back ‘home’.  That may be where God leads us – or the doors may shut.  We’re open to whatever.  What is most important for us is to be where God leads us, where my husband’s skills can be most useful.

Our lives are not our own.  And this is what our children are seeing and learning.  This is what we hope they pick up both intentionally and through the natural process of osmosis, sponges that they are.

And so, to the words spoken as a warning, I rebuke them.

My boys will grow up knowing they are citizens of New Zealand.  Part of the Ngai Tahu tribe.  They are members of a wonderful and large extended family.  But, more importantly, they are children of God.  They have skills and talents and abilities – God given – and it is up to my husband and I to foster in them a love for learning, a love for each other and the wider world, and to develop servant’s hearts.

We are their example.

How we do things in our home, right now, at this crossroads point in our lives, sets the tone.

And so, we talk about the options we have before us.  We talk openly about God’s ability to open and close doors.  We show them that we’re praying.  We remind them of how God has always provided.  We include them in the process.   Not with every, single thing, but with hopefully a bit of wisdom and insight on our part.

And yes we are going to stuff up.  We may have to backtrack on decisions.  We may have to disappoint.  I have no doubt that my children will see me impatient and frustrated.  They will learn that things happen according to God’s timetable and not ours.  As we begin homeschooling to tide us over the transition period, crazy Mummy will no doubt raise her ugly head.

But my prayer, more than anything, is that they won’t remember the frustrations, and the ugly.  My prayer is that they will remember the adventure. They will see what amazing things happen when God takes the reigns, when we let Him lead our lives.  They will see that even in the unknowns of this crossroads time, our faith stands strong and steady.  They will know that as a family unit we are tight.  Unshakeable.  That there is strength in unity.

We are at a crossroads right now, but with God’s help, my kids are always going to know who they are, because they are mine, but more importantly – they are His.


What it takes to sail

When we lived in New Zealand we had our choice of beaches to visit.  Depending on the weather and which way the breeze was blowing, we could pick and choose and end up at a favourite beach, with the most favorable conditions.

Often, from our beach location we could see the big yachts out sailing, and these were often the entrants to the America’s Cup out practicing.  How easily these boats seem to slip and slide through the water, moving at powerful speeds all the while looking so graceful and effortless.

There are however, a lot of people on board these boats and each has a very set job and list of tasks to focus on and complete.

People with such labels as sewer, bowman, pitman, trimmer, runner, traveller, navigator, tactician and strategist all have specific responsibilities – all under the direction of the helmsman/ skipper. The skipper is responsible for the final tactical decisions.  The team, comes under the leadership of the skipper.  Now I imagine that when the boats are out there, in the deep blue sea, in the heat of a race, there isn’t a lot of time to question the decisions that are made by the skipper.  There isn’t time to reflect on the various options.  There are no ‘I have a better idea’ opportunities.  In the midst of a race – what the skipper commands the crew to do – the tactical steps and manoeveres – are carried out by the team.  The skipper carries a lot of responsibility – but he/she is relying on the rest of the crew for their information to be correct and their tasks to be carried out correctly.

There is unity in the team.  There is a cohesiveness to the unit.

Why is this neccessary?  To harness the full power of the wind they have available to them.  The race is a chance to display what skills they have in the areas of both boat speed and tactical skill.  Basically – if they can pull out the right moves at the right time, they will take the most advantage of the wind they have available and win the race.

In much the same way as a big yacht relies on the crew working together and developing strategies together and practicing together – so I think the same is of us as we do life together.

We need unity.  We need to approach life as a team.  We can use the skills that God has given us – and where one is lacking – there is no lack if we are a team as someone else takes up the slack in that area – with their abundance of skill.

As a boat tries to maximise on the wind available to them – so should we be trying to maximise on what God gives us to achieve the Great Commision.  Together.  Maximize on God’s goodness, God’s gifts to us, the Gifts of the Spirit, maximise on each other’s Godly insights and strengths.

The same wind is out there available to all the competitors in a yacht race.

How they use this wind determines if they win or lose.

The same gifts are available to all us of.  The same lost souls are out there needing to be reached.  The same hurting people, needing a word of encouragement or hands to provide practical help, are very much out there.  Are we going to work together, as a united team, because together we can do more?

Or are we going to focus on our differences and not our similarities – and let that wind die down.  Are we going to waste time focussing on the small pciture – while the bigger picture starts fading away.

One person cannot sail a big boat by oneself.

We, under our skipper the Lord himself, can work together as an amazing crew – listening together, loving together and encouraging together, and winning our races, together.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one  another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on  love, which binds them all together in perfect unity – Collosians 3: 13 – 14.

Are we going to sail together and maximise what we have?

The choice is ours.