I know this is a super long post, but it took a lot of words to explain all I've experienced the past few days!
So as most of you know, Jason and I leave in a few days, along with one other adult and six teens, to go on a mission trip to Nicaragua. I haven't been on a mission trip since Guyana in 2004, and that was when Gabe was about 16 months old. It was a 16 day trip, and it was so hard for me to be away from my baby! I knew he was well taken care of by family, but it was still hard to leave a child that I am with 24/7 as a stay-at-home mom. And although I knew it was a trip that God had led me to take, it was so incredibly emotionally draining towards the end of those 16 days that I told myself, 'I will never leave my child that long again!' And I haven't since. The last three years, I've either been pregnant or had a very young infant when the mission trip has occurred over the summers and haven't been able to even think about the possibility of going along.
Until this year. Gabe almost takes care of himself most days at the ripe ol' age of 5. And Cooper, 3, and Chloe, 1, are pretty easy children to take care of. But still, this past spring when Jason asked me to start thinking about the possibility of going on the mission trip, I immediately thought, 'No way!' If it weren't for the kids, I'd be all for it! I love an adventure, and of course love the idea of traveling into the depths of a foreign country and being able to share what the Lord has done in my life with people who may never have even heard of God! How awesome is that! But still, the doubts were waying heavily on me. As I prayed I felt convicted that I was letting my own feelings and weaknesses get in the way of the Lord's plan for me, but those concerns about leaving my children kept towering over my thoughts. It came time to give my answer as to whether I would go or not, and I still was so conflicted. But Jason, knowing strongly in his heart and mind that this was a trip that the Lord wanted me to take, went ahead and bought my plane ticket. Well, needless to say, the decision was made.
But to tell the truth, the fact that the ticket was bought for me didn't end the doubts I had. And then this past Sunday came. I started having some pain in my stomach and didn't think anything of it at first. But as the pain persisted, I thought I'd feel my stomach and immediately felt a mass, a lump next to my belly button. Of course thoughts of tumors, etc., raced through my mind, but I tried not to think about it and made an appointment with my doctor the next day. She immediately felt the lump and told me she suspected it may be a hernia. She then scheduled an appointment with a surgeon....yes, a surgeon, meaning she thought this was going to require surgery! Surgery kind of foils the plans for leaving on a mission trip! But this appointment wasn't scheduled until Wednesday, so I had two days to think about, and worry about, what may happen.
As I was talking it over with Jason, I made the choice to pray and give it up to God. I told God, "If I'm suppose to go on the trip, I'll go to this appointment on Wednesday and there will be no lump. Otherwise, I'm taking this as a sign from You that I was never suppose to go on this trip in the first place." Although this may sound like I was giving God an ultimatum, I really didn't mean it to be. I was just desperately in need of some assurance, and ultimately, in need of an answer.
At my appointment with the surgeon yesterday, God gave me my answer. The surgeon felt my stomach, and the pain is still there, but the lump is gone! I didn't believe him at first, so I felt my stomach, and no lump! I had felt the lump on Sunday, Jason felt the lump of Sunday, my doctor felt the lump on Monday, I felt the lump on Tuesday, but on Wednesday, there was no lump. How else do I explain it but an answer to prayer! So, I am no longer in question. We leave in two days, and although I will miss my children immensely, I know that they will be taken care of and that I will be taken care of, because I am in God's will. What a feeling of peace!
Your continued prayers for us and the others going on the trip would be greatly appreciated! Also, please pray for Gabe, Cooper & Chloe and for their grandparents and others who will have the joy, and tiring task, of taking care of them while we're gone on our 8 day adventure.