November 23, 2011

Traveling with Baby Overseas - Part 1 (The Confession)

Hey there!  Did you know I just got back from Nicaragua and Guatemala?  Hubby, baby, and I just spent 3 weeks out of country and it was quite an adventure.
12 hours on planes
37 hours on buses (some of which were miserable, to be totally honest)
5 days in a Nicaraguan village
4 days in the hills of Guatemala
9 different homes

As you can see, Ian had a pretty good time...


Remember Velloso & Annabelle?  They sure remembered Tedd!


I learned that a little white baby in small-town Nicaragua and Guatemala draws an uncomfortable, but heart-warming, amount of attention.  I can't tell you how many strangers have pictures of Ian on their cell phones.  

On a more personal level, I "wrestled" a bit with God, so to speak, in the middle of a cold night in Guatemala.  My prayer from the beginning was that Ian wouldn't get sick.  I wanted my request to be "granted" so badly for the sake of strengthening my faith (when it comes to traveling with our children overseas), and for the sake of having a testimony that God is supernaturally protecting our son. 

But then Ian got sick.  It started off as a little cough, no biggie...almost ignorable, but then one night, after Ian had awaken with tears of pain, and with a horrible cough, my denial wore off and I had to face the fact that Ian was sick.  It was the first time Ian had ever been sick and I felt scared and, most of all, very hurt and betrayed that God would "let me down."  

Then came those dreaded waves of doubt and insecurity.  What if all this sacrifice and risk is some lame effort to "serve" a God who doesn't exist?  Why are we here?  Is this worth it?  God are you there?  If you are, why can't You just show Yourself?

Have you been in this place with God?  If you haven't, maybe you're not a real person.  I've been there with God...numerous times.  And I don't feel bad for saying so.  Sometimes I've really screwed up and lashed out in anger, but other times, with reverence, I've genuinely cried out to God with a hurting, humbled, human plea for Truth and understanding.

So maybe some of you are reading this and thinking "yes!  you're so close to reason, why don't you just forget all this religious stuff and embrace your heart's suspicions that God does not exist?!"

But the Bible says the heart is deceitful, that those whose hearts turn from the Lord are cursed, and that fools say in their hearts that "there is no God." (Jeremiah 17 and Psalm 14).

But that night, just like other nights that I've sought God, I experienced supernatural comfort and reason.  I was reminded, despite my intense emotions, that God has sacrificed far more, that He sacrificed His Son and I owe him more, and even then it still wouldn't be enough.  I was reminded that God is so holy and beyond me that He doesn't owe me any favors or need to show Himself to me.  I was reminded of how beautifully merciful and kind God is because all we had were colds.  No parasites, no malaria, no kidnappings, no assaults...just colds.  Hey, even if we had gotten those things, we still have no Hell, all praise to Jesus Christ!  And that's enough mercy and goodness to praise God for all eternity, no cherries on top needed.  See what I'm saying?

Just a few days before my sleepless hour of prayer, we were on an old school bus, unaware that our driver was passing another car on a large blind curve...unaware that he was in the wrong lane when a semi was turning the curve coming in the opposite direction.  The bus started screeching and skidding, the lights flickered, and the smell of burning rubber filled the bus.  Our innocent baby slept peacefully unaware in my arms as I held him tight.  
 
How could I doubt God?  How can I say it's all chance and evolution when I gaze upon the complexities and intricacies of this marvelous world?  How can I fail to give all my praise and thanks to God who has been beyond good and merciful to me...more than I'm even aware of?  How could I dare say that He has "let me down?"  All praise to God...even when all seems dark...He is God.  He is more merciful than we can fathom. 

Even with baby in tow, I want to embrace that mindset that I will be honored to give my life to and for Christ, to the glory of God.  Ironically, through "trial," my faith was strengthened, rather than through answered prayer.  I feel more in tune with God's heart and will for me as a mother now than I did before we traveled and made ourselves vulnerable.  And I'm sure there's much more to learn!

Thanks for taking the time to read.  Later this week I'm going to write a much more light-hearted post - part II - about traveling overseas with baby "The Commodities."  We discovered some really nice doodads to have along when you're traveling overseas with a baby (particularly when going to a developing country) and we want to tell you what we love about them!
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