One of the most common things we here when we’d tell people we were becoming missionaries was, “Oh, wow. I could never do that.”
I understood the sentiment; in fact, I’ve said those things to lots of people about all sorts of things. When I heard some good friends were adopting from Haiti, all I could think about was the pain in the wait. I couldn’t do that, I thought. Or when I watched as some of my friends made the difficult and hard (and very judged) decisions to stay at home/go back to work/homeschool/public school/sleep train/”do” Santa each Christmas/eat white sugar, and (as long as it wasn’t what I was leaning toward doing) I would think, oh wow, I couldn’t do that.
So when the first things we get from people is something along the lines of how brave what we’re doing is, I first say yes. Because it is brave. It’s really brave.
When we deflect or try and lessen the Kingdom work we’re doing, we do one any favors, least of all God.
So, I say thank you. And I agree and I say how hard it is at times.
And then, when the inevitable, “I could never do that.” comes out, I ask them something we’ve been asking ourselves for a couple years: why not?
Why isn’t this something you could do? The answers range from work to debt to family to just not knowing how. I, sometimes gently, other times not (I know who I am and I’m working on it, OK?), I remind whomever I’m talking to that we had all those variables in our lives as well, and maybe even a couple more.
Yeah, but… But. The but. The but is where we get stuck.
Listen, we can look at anyone doing something we would like to do or believe in and find ten million excesses why we just can’t do that.
I wanted a big family. And then I had Shepherd, and once he hit four months and stopped crying all the hours of all the days, we got pregnant again. Now I have two babies that are alive and live in my house with me. And some days, I wish we had none. Last night, for example. When Valor woke up every hour on the hour to nurse. And then Shep thought five thirty was a Godly time to rise. Do I still want a big family? YES. Will we have more kids? YES. I could look at someone with 3+ kids and list a million reasons why it’s not for me, but at the end of the day, I want 3+ kids, so guess what? I need to do it and deal with the nursing and no sleeping.
I get to take the but and decide what to do.
Because, you know what? I can’t do this. I can’t.
Let me tell you about getting here: it was hell. We were trying to be recklessly obedient to the point of foolishness to God in order to show and experience and prove that He is big enough and good enough. And did He? Sure, He did. But it sucked. And then actually moving here? You know what’s not a lovely way to pass the time? Being seven months pregnant on a plane with an eleven month old. And then arriving in the HOTTEST PLACE ON EARTH (don’t fact check that). And then house hunting and moving and figuring out how to have the Inside Baby get out safely.
There were, oh, ten million moments throughout any day when I thought, “I can’t do this. We made a mistake. This is too much and too hard.”
And, because I like to be consistent, I’d ask myself why exactly I couldn’t do it. And I’d rattle off some list of things: I don’t speak Thai, we have no babysitters/family to help, I can’t sleep on these coconut shell mattresses and I’m just tired all the time, my baby sweats too much here and can’t play outside, this is just too hard.
And, again for consistency sake, I’d whip out the but.
Always but God. I never have to be able to do something because He can.
Because the reality is, if it’s front of you, and you’re where you are because you’ve said a slow and steady stream of small yeses to God, then you can. I don’t care what it is. God exists yesterday and now and tomorrow all at the same time and He is with you. So you can.
So, no I can’t do this. And what’s super cool about that is anything that’s good or works or bears fruit then, is all Him. Because clearly it’s not me, because I can’t.
Forever but God.
So, let’s all confidently do the things we can’t do in front of us. And let’s be honest that it’s brave. In the bravery then, we’ll get to see God show up and show off and do all those things we just can’t.