I hold his small hand tight. I can feel that he wants to run , he is squirming with all his might, feet sloppy. The floor is sopping wet, we slowly make our way to the kiddies side of the pool. We toddle past the ‘big’ pool, and music is blaring from a boombox. The older peoples water aerobic class. It looks like so much fun. I smile as they kick and jam to the music.
I get my baby in the kiddie pool. He sees a ball. “Let’s get it Mommy!”, he says. So we ‘swim’, me walking on my knees in this shallow water, my hands holding him tight, his little legs kicking. “I swimmin’, Mom! I swimmin”!”. I look at him with such delight. He is a boy now, not a baby. Two whole years old. He reaches for the ball and I look toward where the music is coming from again. I wonder if I could take this class too. And then I see them. In the back row, a lady about my age, black hair, tattoos. And next to her, an older woman. I assume its her mom because of the way they talk to eachother, how close they are together, and way they look at eachother. The younger lady encourages the older. Shows her how to use the foam weight thingys. They bop to the music laughing and enjoying the movements and enjoying eachother.
I look at my love in my arms. Will he ever join a water aerobics class with me when I am old and grey? I really, really hope so. And then I think of you.
You, who carried me in your womb for 9 months. You, who kissed all my owies, and braided my hair. You, who made my favorite meals and made holidays extra special. You, who worked all night so that we could have what we needed during the day.You, who were both mom and dad to us. You, who made me enchiladas and drank tea with me when my friend died and I just needed to be with my mom. You, who when I was lost in alcohol and drug addiction, never failed to pursue me ( I still have all the cards you sent me!) and love me like the Father. You, who constantly encourage me to KOKO (keep on keeping on!).
People say to us, ‘Wow, you are giving up so much to go to South America!’. But no one ever acknowledges what you are giving up. You, who never asked us to stay for your own good. Who never discouraged us from doing what the Lord led us to do. You, who always encouraged and never once brought up what you would be missing.
Having our nightly earl grey tea, as we age. Seeing your baby grandkids turn into men. The birthdays, the anniversarys, their learning to count, learning the alphabet, the Christmases, the Easters. The crawling, the walking, first day of school, the first bug caught. You are missing alot. But you never complain. You never make us feel like we are taking something away from you.
Because you understand the Word of the One who created it all and you believe Him.
You prayed for years, YEARS, for your baby girl to believe Him at His Word.
And she didn’t.
And she didn’t.
And she didn’t.
But you didn’t give up. You never gave up. You believed Him and you believed He could reach even your girl who had strayed off into the deepest, darkest, dead end.
And then finally one day she believed. She came to the end of herself. And was helpless and lifeless and hopeless. And you watched it and you never judged, just loved. Instead of telling her to change, you asked Jesus to intervene because you knew only He could save that girl. And you loved and encouraged and prayed grace over her. Your little baby girl -that one you gave birth to and dressed up in those dresses and clipped those little barrettes in her hair- she met Jesus. And you saw Him pick up your baby from the muck and mire and you saw Him intervene. You witnessed a miracle as He saved her life for eternity.
And then, when you finally had her back, He sent your girl your girl to another hemisphere.
Giving up things in this life, you understand. Because it is for eternity that you are living.
And this is why we had to go- because we long to share our hope and Eternal Life Himself with those who have never heard.
Although I wish we could take that water aerobics class together, and I miss your laugh, and your green eyes, and coloring and cutting your hair, and drinking tea together, I know that we will share eternity together. That helps me to ‘keep on keeping on’.
The music blares and he throws the ball and I turn. I see my husband and my other son. And a slow tear slips down my cheek because I miss you. And I hurt because you are not here seeing this, the every day of our lives.
And He reminds me, ““He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it”.
Sacrifice, love, the gospel. Lived out in you.
The tears mix with water as we splash.
And I am thankful. Truly thankful for you.