I can’t sleep. Well, first of all I can barely breathe. It is late, oh so late, and a cold and sore throat are tormenting me in my final days in north america. I am also so excited that I can barely stand it. We are finally heading overseas after 8 years of training, planning and preparation. How in my right mind can I sleep at a time like this?!?
I look at the clock, its about 3 am. In an hour and a half, I need to get up and get ready to go to the airport. I close my eyes and what feels like 2 minutes later the alarm is blaring.
We gently wake the peacefully sleeping children and get them ready.
“Is it today? Are we going to Paraguay now, Mom? On an airplane?” they ask.
“Yes, today is the day!”.
“Yayyyyy!”, they both sing out as they spin and dance around the room.
We shuttle it over to the Chicago O’Hare airport and the gates are not open yet so we wait and I pray and the four year old says, “Mom, look what God did for us! Its a sunrise!”. I look over to see this and I smile. I love that he noticed that this was God’s handiwork.
“And there is an airplane, Mom! Just look!”, I look over again and there are airplanes flying in from all over. All I could think of at first were how were they not crashing into each other. But I took that thought right captive and refused to entertain the fears that grip me. Not gonna happen today, fears. You are not gonna win!
“That’s really cool, Ransom!” I say. “Where do you think the plane is going?”.
“I think to Paraguay!”, he is just so excited.
We check in our things and have some horrible and horribly-over-priced coffee with Wesley’s dad and brother and then say our goodbyes.
“Are you coming to Paraguay with us?” my two year old asks his Grandpa.
I can tell he doesn’t like the answer that Grampa gives him.
We say our goodbyes and walk to security, Ransom and Judah yelling, “Good-bye, Good-bye, We love you, See you later!! “ to their Grandpa and Uncle.
This is it, I think. We are actually doing this. And this is the point where I thought I would be starting to get anxious, and scared and wanting to turn back.
Yet, these past few months I have learned something.
I am a worrier. Probably the worry-est of worrier’s. I fear things that end up not happening. I am full to the brim of what-if’s.
No this is not what I learned- this is something I have known and hated about myself since I realized I do it.
What I am learning is to be present and recognize His presence. To not worry about tomorrow or even ten minutes from now. I am learning that for each and every situation God has the grace to give me specific to each situation. He does not supply the grace I need for something that has not happened yet. But He is faithful to provide grace when I need it.
So as I step on the plane, I am not thinking, “This plane is for sure going to crash!”, I am not thinking, “What if we are making the wrong decision?”, “What if we fail?”, “What if I stink at learning language?”, “What if?”, “What if?”, “What IF?”.
Because as I step on this plane, grace was given. The kind of grace that was promised,
“And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you…”.
The question is “Do I believe?”. And now, I really, really do.
We sit in our seats and the kids are excited. They are putting their seat belts on and taking them off and looking at the barf bags and the airline magazines and looking out the window and they are so full of wonder!
My heart skips as we take off and go up, and up, and up and then the plane turns. I start to get anxious. Not gonna happen today, fears! You are not gonna win!
“This is funnnnnn!”, my two year old exclaims at just that moment. “Yes, baby! Its an adventure!”, I say back to him and we laugh and look out the window and fear is replaced with grace.
He falls asleep in my arms about a half hour into the flight. Our four year old is entertained by colouring, Super Mario, and trying on the airplane headphones. Oh and fruit snacks.
The stewardess asks him what he would like to drink. “Apple juice please!”, he replies. He thinks this is so cool!
As we descend, his ears start to hurt. Oh no! He begins to cry and I give him more fruit snacks. Its all I have. He is still crying but we are on ground now. More fruit snacks.
We get off the airplane and are hit with a wave of heat. We are in Panama. We have an hour to find our next airplane and gate. We take the kids to the washroom and then find our gate. I also find Ketchup chips. They do not have Ketchup chips in the states and I was wishing I had packed some from Canada to take to PY with me. Instead I find them at Panama airport! Score!!
Minutes later we board the next plane. The plane is not full. We get a full two rows to ourselves. Score!
The 2 year old sleeps for an hour. The four year old sleeps for about 3. It is an uneventful flight. Thank you Lord.
We see the lights as we descend. We see our new home for the first time. The plane gets closer and closer to the soil that we will, Lord willing, spend the rest of our lives on. And then…I lose it. I literally pinch myself to see if this is real. It has been 8 years of training, support raising, planning, preparation, roadblocks, trials, and trying to get overseas and now, we are finally here. Tears roll swiftly down my cheeks, and all I can think is, “What a privilege, what an absolute privilege! I cannot believe we get to do this, that God would allow us, the weakest of the weak, to come here in His Name.”. I can’t stop thinking, “What a privilege.”.
“When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?”
I grip the seat as we come to taxi down the runway. I thank Jesus for bringing us all the way to a different continent safely and I can hear my boys saying, “We’re in Paraguay! We’re in Paraguay!”.
Yes, we are.
We get to immigration and I soon realize this will not be fun. We have two toddlers who have been strapped in seats all day, and of course they don’t want to sit still, stand still, or be any sort of quiet so we can get our visas.
We quickly get frustrated because we just want them to obey so we can get this done. We are not ten minutes in this country and I had already let my flesh get the best of me. I am reminded of how much I need Jesus. Not just once a day, or twice or three times but each and every God-given moment.
We finally get our visas and all of our luggage and walk thru the airport doors.
What I see, makes me lose it once again.
A huge sign that says, “Wesley, Tenley and Sons! Welcome to Paraguay We are your new Big Family”
I see this sign and I am blinded by the tears.
We came to Paraguay on our own. We left our families and friends on another continent. We can’t speak spanish and we do not know this culture.
Yet there is something, Someone, that surpasses borders, language, and culture. The Person of Jesus Christ.
Way before we got here, or even knew we were coming He had this family picked out just for us. He knew we would need to see them when we stepped off that plane. He is showing us His great love for us thru these people. He has given us a family. He is showing us that- you may have thought you came here alone but you are not alone and you never will be.
“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age…”
And my Body is here.
So what you can’t speak to them yet! Because of Me you are connected. This is what He reminds me of.
So right there as I hugged each one, I wept and thanked Jesus for His great love for us. For His direction, His provision, and for His presence each moment.
We get back from the airport, tear stained and worn.
We go to sleep. A long, peaceful sleep.
We are home.