If Only
If only I could fly you over here and let you see what has become the norm for us.  Let you touch a baby’s cheek to yours who has no mother, and not much hope for adoption.
Let you try your broken Arabic on a neighbor who’s face lights up for the mere fact that you are speaking her heart language. Listen to the call to prayer as it wakes your baby for her morning feeding. Hear your friend tell you her religion is really about the heart and relationship with God too, knowing the truth.  If Only I could let you see the big brown eyes of my daughter begging you to teach her Arabic, so she can “tell the whole world about Jesus”. Maybe, just maybe, it would make living so far from family and adapting to a foreign culture feel worth it. I’ve lived these things and then some. Ashamed, I have to admit there are days I’m tired of the all the little things, sometimes just surviving takes way more time and effort than I feel like it should. There are days when I wake up and think I’d love to see my family just for a day. The truth is, none of these things can motivate us to remain faithful. Emotions fade.

How about if I take you to a conversation between my six year old and I? At the kitchen table with leftovers heating up for lunch and her four year old brother interjecting with random thoughts. She asks me to read her the story of Jesus. “Read it from the Bible, Jesus’ words.” As I read my heart breaks and my voice shakes as I come to the end of the story “Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above;….”
“…he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost”. (John 19:11, 30)
And one of the sweetest verses speaks to me this day. “Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.” (John 20:16)
Jesus chose to die, He rose from the grave,He knows Her by name.
If only I could take you to Jesus. The Jesus who took our punishment, who conquered death. Who lives again. Who changed my life. Who gives me reason to do things that will never make sense to anyone else. Who walks beside me in those hard days, the days I don’t have enough of what it takes. He knows me by name and shows me personally He loves me where I am. Yes, the God of this universe, if you REALLY knew Him. You would never be the same, and you’d be willing to do just about anything to prove it to Him.
Deep down I know all of this, but sometimes I need a six year old to remind me. Jesus is the answer. The goal is not any “work” for Him, it’s Him. Just Jesus. So stop trying to figure it all out. Just sit down and read it, read His story, read about the peace He brought between God and man. Let it sink down deep into your heart and soul. Let it change you and let Him be the reason. When all emotions fade. When I’ve had a little too much language and culture, and it just doesn’t “feel” worth it, I know He is worth it.

~gretchen
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