Fruit That Remains

fruitremains-1Today I had two adopted spiritual sons message me to wish me “Happy Mother’s Day.” One with very dark skin who lives half a world away and another with very pale skin who lives just across town.  Today the realities Jesus showed me 8 years and 2 continents ago in a freezing room nestled in the southern reaches of Africa collided in my heart.  {Yes freezing-no one told me it gets cold in southern Africa!}

As I prepared to move to South Sudan I prayed Jesus would show me the way, huddled under 5 blankets and trusting the building wouldn’t burn down due to electrical fire, there He came with defining vision, the lightenings of heaven flashing forth from His very being.  In that encounter, He placed a dark African baby in one arm and then a pale-skinned baby in the second and I held them both.

I thought it spoke of two halves of a divided nation, not of a calling to multiple continents.

His promise from 8 years ago careened into my now.  And I realized this afternoon afresh that picking up the second baby doesn’t equal losing the first one. No one, no circumstance, no loss can take away the seven years in which Africa became part of my blood and my heart and changed me, making me who I now am.

I am so, so grateful for the incredible leaders whom God has raised up and established in the ministry I founded in South Sudan, leaders who love my kids just as much as I do. {They are still my kids.  They will forever be my kids.  They just have more Mama’s and family now. And above all, together we know they are His kids first, last and always.}  If you’d like to do one thing to make this mama’s heart oh so glad this Mother’s Day, please consider partnering with them in prayer and giving. 

Happy Mama’s Day Mama Carolyn and Betty and Selina and Abuba and all our Mamas! You are amazing examples of His unfailing love.

{More on those ways to partner with me really coming tomorrow.  This post just had to be written first.}

My prayer more than ever is to live a life of fruit that remains.  I don’t want great fruitfulness that shrivels and dies.  I want fruitfulness that remains year in and year out, that multiplies and becomes orchards that feed hungry nations. 

This girl is dreaming big with Jesus.  Again.  Still.  In the face of sickness and loss and joy and suffering and hope and trust that His promises are Yes and Amen.  Every. Single. One.

To all the mamas out there:  Those who have given up sleep to wipe fevered-brows.  Those who have fought their way through storms and gales to protect and hold safe.  Those who have sacrificed, working two jobs to have two pennies to rub together and sow into the dreams being formed in their children’s lives.  To those who have championed and supported and loved and lost and still loved again.  To those who have had to be both mother and father, who have had to raise their children single, but never alone.  To those mama’s who have every right to give up, say game-over, I’m done but who instead have been knocking on heaven’s door so hard and long, they are leaving knuckle-prints.

To YOU. You are the real life heroes with super powers and princess crowns.

I am so grateful for my Mom.  She has special rewards in heaven.  I would never have become who I am without her.  And I am so grateful to Jesus for giving me this season to live 5 minutes away from my both my Mom and Dad for the first time in my adult life. It is a gift all three of us unwrap again and again every day.  We pray and expect there are years ahead for each of us, but I have a priority to make every moment possible a memory to be treasured.  That is the way to truly live and be rich in the ways that matter most.  My kids in Africa taught me that.

So to all the mamas in my world who mean so much to me.  Thank you for paying the price to be who you are in Him.  I love you more than words can say.  Happy Mother’s Day.