Two nights ago, I was in a hotel room in North Carolina. I was there as a speaker with Women of Faith, and the day had gone pretty well. I say pretty well because I never think I really do as good of a job speaking as I would like to. I’m not fishing for compliments here, friends. Just being honest. I don’t walk off the platform and pat myself on the back. I think about the four things that I meant to say but didn’t and then I decide that all the women in the auditorium can’t move past the fact that I didn’t say the four things. Clearly, they don’t know what those things were, but whatever. It all adds up in my head.
I had some work things to take care of when I got done, and it was late when I finally sat still, but when I did, something snapped in me. I sat on crisp white sheets and imagined what my kids might be doing. I pulled my phone out and mapquested how far I was from my house. 8 hours and 3 minutes. Too far to try and figure out a rental car and start a drive at 9 at night.
So I checked airlines to see if I could get home sooner. Then I called Delta and talked to them about it. It’s a long story but the bottom line is they don’t really care if you miss your kids. I figured out a solution and called Todd to ask if it was okay for me to book it. It was about $150 but would get me home at 10 am instead of 4 pm, and that six hours was worth it. He agreed and I called them back. In that time period, the price went up to $486. I asked her why. I told her I had just called within 15 minutes. She was very sweet but she didn’t really have any solutions that didn’t involve a debit card. We decided the best bet would be for me to wake up at 4 am and call to try and do a same-day change for $50.
It’s a long story and I can already sense that this is rambly and would be the point in our coffee date where your phone rings and you make an excuse to run away from me. Don’t run away from me. I’m trying to get to the point but it’s just that it’s all tangled in my head and (in)courage is my cheap counselor, so I’m just asking for some sisters here.
I wanted to go home.
I could imagine running in the door and them all clamoring over each other, abandoning their neighborhood friends and weeping at the mere sight of me. It had been almost 40 hours since they had last seen me, so these are all viable options.
Long story short, I got on the 7:15 am flight after forking over my fifty bucks. I pulled in my driveway and raced to the back door. Charlotte screamed, “MA-MAA!!!!” and ran to me. My sweet nanny was there and she was so excited because she knew I was desperate to get home. I asked where all the girls were and went to each one individually, awaiting my “6 hours early” party. The response was mediocre, I’ll just say that. They did squeeze me and tell me they loved me, but I saw no evidence of long-term planning, such as posters, streamers, or other dollar spot paraphernalia. Nonetheless, I was so happy to be home and settled in quickly (translation: started laundry and told Charlotte to stop eating crayons).
I had a great day with them and soaked them in fully, but that night as I climbed into my own wrinkly bed instead of the crisp white hotel one, I couldn’t help but wonder what in the world God was doing with me. How many lives can one person live well? Here’s the bottom line.
We are ambassadors of God.
And what that means is that we will sleep on different sheets. We will cry because of the cost. And while we know it is a privilege, we will still ache for home.
The truth of the matter is, my children didn’t throw me a party when I got home because they were at peace with my being gone. I know because I have asked them time and time again. It isn’t that they didn’t miss me, but rather because they have an intuitive sense that I’m showing Jesus to them in my obedience. They know I prefer the wrinkly sheets and the messy kisses to the stage and the plane.
They are steady in my love and gracious with my calling.
But they know. They know it wounds me.
Todd stopped by the bookstore on his way home from the airport (he flew in from Michigan a few hours after I got in) and bought all of his girls a little gift. Mine is a book of quotations by Mother Teresa, and just this morning I came across this beautiful quote:
“We have to love until it hurts. It is not enough to say, ‘I love.’ We must put that love into a living action. And how do we do that? By giving until it hurts.”
Jesus Christ has asked no less of every single one of us. It will look different in your life than it does in mine, but the heart of the matter is the same. We must put our love into living action, and we should not expect anything else than a little hurt to come alongside. It is the least we can do to offer of ourselves, and a beautiful reminder that we should be grateful we can give it at all.
I won’t expect streamers when I finally get home. I don’t mind if there aren’t any parades or fireworks.
I hardly think He will worry about those details.
When I wake in the middle of the night, may I remember that my time here is short and soon I will be home. And I pray He whispers those words to me. The words that remind me it is all for Him and the wounds are minor in the battle for eternity.
Well done, love.
Wherever you are today, you have a choice. My prayer is that you put your love into living action, ever mindful of the God who calls you heavenward…
By: Angie SmithLeave a Comment
Amy Hunt says
Oh, Angie! I’ve been many nights away for my job and just wanted to go home, too! And I’ve felt the sting of not being welcomed in the door quite the way I had hoped. Yet, you’re right–they’re at peace. And they know that I’m living my love for them.
There’s so much here to unpack in your words. Such truth and candor that makes your heart shine for Him in profound ways.
Rich blessings as He leads you closer to His heart.
Thank you for sharing your heart in this post. I do not travel and yet can so relate to the truth that we as moms and followers of Christ need to be like Him. We are to carry our own cross. Thank you for sharing the Mother Teresa quote. I will be sharing that with my bible study friends. Blessings to you and your family.
Mrs. C says
Thanks you Angie, your post sent a heart touch this morning !
love into action. yeah. my summer has been aimless. i’ve THOUGHT about loving those who need visits, cards, meals….but what i’ve done is serve myself. thank you for this piece. just what i need. now. up.off.the.couch.
Anna Radchenko says
Beautiful, Angie! I feel the same way about home. I love being home… but I know that God has a plan for me and I want to be used by Him! That quote was inspiring. This was just what I needed to be challenged and reaffirmed that even if it means being away from my family, I need to be willing to love and minister in the ways God has called me to. You are not alone. Keep following Jesus! You’re setting a wonderful example for your girls. 🙂 Blessings, Anna
Thank you for sharing your heart today. What a meaningful post, jam-packed with so much that I needed to hear this particular morning. It’s so awesome how our wonderful Lord used your words to speak to my heart.
Your precious family will be forever blessed. As you give of yourself to others, you also give so much love to your own family. The impact of what you do for the Lord will be felt for generations to come in your own special family, as well as the families of those that your words and actions touch for our Heavenly Father. God Bless You!!
Angie, you ALWAYS challenge me in the deepest of ways. Thank you.
Kerry @ Made For Real says
This has been a focus for me this year. The ‘it’s ALL about Him, not me’ thing. It helps so much to remind myself of this. Daily.
Thank for your ministry. Today’s story touched me. I am getting ready to leave with the youth of our church on a mission trip and will be gone a week. Already missing my family!
I have grown daughters now. I changed countless flights and appointments because I was so homesick. I still question if time spent away was best for anyone. I needed to hear what you wrote from your heart. Blessings to you and yours
I am absolutely sure you are a wonderful speaker. I say this based on your writing alone. I love reading your blog because it is real. REAL. I appreciate that and to be honest, I hang on every word – even if you think I am about to give up on your story! Thank you for being transparent. AND – I can relate to wanting to be HOME with my children but knowing that God is asking me to serve others. It is a balancing act that requires the wisdom of the Spirit of God, for sure.
Thank you, thank you! (Looking so forward to hearing you in person in Colorado soon!)
I’m not traveling, I am working on a degree in Church Ministry which is a priority that takes sacrifice. My kids want Mom, and I want a normal day of time with them. Your post reminds me why I am making the sacrifice. It’s for Him. It’s for love. The preparing for ministry that has eternal value. They know it’s for Jesus. My actions in following Christ will speak louder to them than my words.
The Holy Spirit helps you to speak what He wants you to to the women at that time. So those 4 thoughts you did not remember to say He would have put on your heart if He wanted them to hear them.
Hope this helps at your next speaking time. You will speak the right words for THOSE women.
Thank you. As usual, your life journey speaks to & blesses so many, myself included! The last 3 years have been overflowing with so many experiences it is often overwhelming. Waking this morning, feeling more exhausted than when I went to bed, the very things that are my greatest blessings felt more like “barbed wire.” Reading your post reminded me that our journey home is full, not always understood or as we think it should be, yet there is no other “road” I would rather be on!
Jan McMinn says
Angie, this so hits home with me. I no longer have children at home. But I do have a beautiful Christian daughter and 4 beautiful grandbabies. They live 5 hrs. from me and I miss them so much my heart aches for the day when we can visit together.
I too don’t get party reminders, but what I do receive is the love of a Godly mother,and son-in-law and my preciouse grandchildren. I welcome their love and kisses and just hanging out with them having fun. Thanks you for your words of encourgement today. God Bless you! I love Women of Faith and have attended an event. I am encourged and by each of you!
Beth Williams says
I have no children, but even on overnight women’s retreats I yearn for home & my hubby.
Putting love into action is my way of sharing my testimony. I’m not a good speaker, so I just do little acts of kindness for people–send cards, make meals, pray, etc. I know Jesus would appreciate all that I do–no matter how small the act.
Jen Gunning says
Angie, I agree with Mary about the words we speak…I remember a time when I rambled to a friend and thought I wasn’t really being very helpful (she was going through a hard time with no real answers to her problems). She later told me that the words I spoke to her that day were clearly God-ordained and had been the spark she needed to make a difficult life choice. I was shocked because I remember feeling so inadequate with what I had been saying to her. I realized that day that the Spirit can take a word from my mouth and translate it to another’s ears. All we need to do is be willing vessels for Him 🙂 Also, thank you for sharing about your struggle to be at peace with the family/work thing. I used to teach and found great satisfaction in it. Then our triplets were born and I became an instant stay-at-home mom. They’re 7 now and I’m starting to itch to be meaningful outside the home again, but this time, I have the burden of that thing called motherhood (as the world and my inner voice would have me believe.) It’s clear the Lord is preparing me to do something for His kingdom and I’m excited about it. But the thought of leaving home, even for just a few hours a week, and the stress I imagine that would cause, is keeping me from fully surrendering. I want to do both well. I don’t want to have regrets either way. But I can see from your post that what I really need is to accept that the loving and giving will hurt a bit and that’s OK. Not a sign that I’m doing something wrong, but that I’m giving my all and trusting Him to keep my whole world spinning as I follow His lead. Thank you for sharing and being an encouragement today!
Angie… your words resonated in my weary heart this morning!! I am a widow who recently remarried (recently as in less than two weeks ago). I married a widower and together we have three boys within nineteen months of each other. Loving and giving in the midst of hurts are my new normal. One of my new “bonus boys” doesn’t want a new family. He wants his mom back. I get that and yet, I’ve made a covenant to love him, even though he doesn’t want it and would gladly tell anyone all the reasons he doesn’t need it. There are times I long to go “home”, to my old normal, but I know God has called me here and blessed me with a precious, precious man and his two boys! So, onward I go. Your words were a soothing balm to me this morning – thank you for following the Lord’s leading and sharing your heart!
I came across t… « smallworldbigdreams says
[…] can read the full blog post here: https://aws.incourage.me/2012/06/getting-home.html; written by Angie […]
Angie, thank you for writing out your honest, transparent thoughts. I’m in a similar predicament right now and feel the pull of wanting to be home. Currently my family does not have a home because of following the call of the Lord. You are right, it is a privilege to be ambassadors for our God. And instead of moaning, I need to be a little more thankful! Thanks for your encouragement.
I love this post, it spoke directly to me as I just returned from a week long business trip. I TOO FOUND MYSELF HOMESICK AND PAID THE EXTRA $107 TO GET HOME EARLY! Thank you for sharing and keeping the focus on what really matters.
Becky M says
This brought back to me the weekend following September 11, 2001. I was away on a retreat, many of the speakers had not been able to get to the retreat. Planes were grounded all over the US. Many of us had signed up months ahead to get here — this retreat always filled up early — some a year ahead. And many of us were walking around with our cell phones talking to those at home. I finally called my husband asking if it would be okay for me to forfeit a night’s lodging costs and come home. Home was only three and a half hours by car but it was a bit late to be driving. He said, “Of course!” His job was in law enforcement and he was working so he really was too busy to “miss me.” But he knew I felt a need to be home.
I have been on many trips since then, speaking with ladies at luncheons, breakfasts, etc., and am pleased God uses me to encourage other women. But that one time, God knew that I needed my family and He sent me home.
You make me smile. 🙂
Michelle DeRusha says
Wow, Angie. Thank you for this. You reminded me of something I read by Francis Chan recently. He said, “God doesn’t intend for us to be comfortable.” (I’m paraphrasing). I have to say, I like to be comfortable. But yeah, God expects more from us, including discomfort along the way.
Thank you for your blog. It gave me joy. =) but to give until it hurts is beautiful. I pray I’ll give like that, with all my heart.
stacy g says
Thank you. Your post spoke to me in a very different way than I think you expected. I am a 1st time foster parent to a fantastic 6 month old boy that has been with us since he was 19 days old. Over and over people want to know how we’ll be able to let him go back? how will we survive? Won’t it be hard? I always stumble over my answer . yes it will be hard and yes we will be sad but we trust that God will take care of us. We became foster parents because God told us to and we are trusting Him. That quote from Mother Teresa is exactly what i want to convey when I answer people. God wants us to love and there will be pain and it may be hard but He calls us to love and trust Him.
Cheryl Ricker says
I love your posts. I’m glad you do what you do for Jesus. God bless you!
Amanda K says
Oh Angie, your writing is soothing balm for my heart (even when my heart isn’t aching). I can’t always relate to the situation but I always always walk away feeling enriched by your posts. I pray for you as you stay obedient to His calling and direction. May you and your family always be abundantly blessed.
Brooke Burger says
This its so close to home right now. I am leaving to return home in a few hours. I have been away for two weeks for Chaplaincy school. Now, my children are mostly grown, though one still lives at home and attends college. But, my husband is anxiously awaiting my return and my one year old pup has been in mourning these two weeks I have been gone. I expect a warm reception.
In the class we have been discoving love with action. That very issue was brought up by our graduation speakers. I have tried to live this in the past and it is even more my goal now.
Bless you for this!