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Mothers and Missionaries

Taylor was born at one pound and thirteen ounces.

  • Full respirator

  • 100% oxygen

  • Septicemia from the amniotic sac being broken for three weeks before her birth.

Nothing in her tiny frame was ready to work on its own: her blood pressure wouldn’t stabilize; her digestive system was too immature to receive milk; her heart had a hole; her kidneys were under watch; her retinas threatened to detach. She scared me to death!

So I prayed:

“Not my will but yours be done. Lord, she is yours. By your grace alone, I will trust you.”

But not just like that. Not just a simple prayer in response to crisis. Oh No. Months of prayers, tears, and searching for God happened before I arrived at that moment.

“Julie hasn’t bonded with the baby,” was the whispered response of people (dear Christian people) when I told them I would accept God’s will if she lived or died.

Hadn’t bonded? Oh, I had bonded. I wanted to cling, but God pried my fingers loose.

“Not my will but yours be done. Lord, she is yours. By your grace alone, I will trust you.”

She lived.

She learned to breathe and eat and laugh and sing. Oh, how that girl can sing!

She is charming.

At eighteen months of age, she climbed everything. Everything! She pulled out drawers and used them as ladders. She pushed around chairs and stools and buckets so she could get to higher heights. She piled things on top of things (that balanced precariously) so she could climb them. She scared me to death!

So I prayed.

At two-years-old, she explored and searched and asked questions. What is this? Why? Where? How? She dropped to her belly as elevator doors closed and escalators rose to the top to see how they worked. She scared me to death!

So I prayed.

At three-years-old, when we visited the pediatrician’s office, she pulled out drawers to see what was inside and searched the doctor’s pockets of his lab coat. He let her explore (Oh, Dr. Menendez, surely you are the best pediatrician of all time!) And the doctor said, “She is curious and observant! She is an adventurer!”

At three, she asked for a motorcycle. Even her wishes scared me to death!

So I prayed.

We took her all over the United States. “Explore God’s world!” we told her. She climbed ledges, sat on the edges of cliffs, and explored waterfalls. “Taylor, be careful!” How many times have I said those words? She scared me to death!

So I prayed.

Every summer we invited the neighborhood over for backyard Bible camps. “Be a missionary every day!” we sang.

And I prayed, “Lord, keep us from complacency! Let us be different than our Christian culture. We want to give you all the glory! Make us world changers!”

Then Taylor grew up. (Well, not just like that. Add a ton of joy and lots more bumps and prayers in here.)

A few weeks ago Taylor said to me (Well, this is a VERY simplified paraphrase), “Mom, I want to climb. I want to explore God’s world. I want to be a missionary every day! I want to be a world changer. I want to give God all the glory! I have signed up to minister to eleven countries in eleven months with World Race: South Africa, Madagascar, Botswana, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Hondures, El Salvador, and Guatamala. ”

And I was scared to death! SCARED TO DEATH!

So I prayed.

And I thought, “Wait! How did this happen?”

For this child I have prayed, and prayed, and prayed.

And I said, “There are so many dangers! Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my! Taylor, you scare me to death!”

And Jesus whispered to me, “I AM the same God who sat with you in the neonatal unit.”

I agree. “You are the same God. The great I AM.”

So with tears, I repeat the prayer that I prayed when she was born, and when she was threatened with blindness, and when she was diagnosed with asthma, and when I was diagnosed with cancer when she was only nine (Lord, will I be able to raise my baby girl?).

“Not my will but yours be done. Lord, she is yours. By your grace alone, I will trust you.”

Sweet child of Jesus: Be a missionary every day. And I will pray.


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