Tag Archives: family

Leaving a Legado

In January New Tribes Mission in Brazil (MNTB) hosts a field conference for its missionaries. This week is always a highlight of our year, as brazilian missionaries gather for a week of meetings, fellowship, and of course, “futebol” (soccer)… ’til all hours of the night. 🙂
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img_1143I treasured it all up as best as I could–
the dear ladies who gave me these tribal treasures and soap made from exotic fruits,
to see not 1 blue macaw in the wild, but 16!!
our boys translating for those who don’t know Portuguese, chatting in the gazebo, seed pod-swords,a coworker asking Miles to take their family pic,former students lending Jack their bike, Jude saying Brazilian food is the best food ever,
sitting on the couch of a couple who sat on our couch for premarital counseling, now married and deciding which tribe they will go,
all the stories from the field…

This year’s theme was “Legado” {Legacy}. The focus was on what kind of legacy are we leaving; what kind of legacy do we want to leave. {I’ll tell ya. I’ve been thinking long and hard at this. And I fear that the kind of legacy I want to leave doesn’t always match up with the kind of legacy I’m actually leaving. SO, I’m gonna do some more thinking and praying bout that and talk more today about the kind of legacy that has been left for me. Mmk? 🙂 }

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A special surprise was when Andy’s parents were honored for their 41 years of service in Brazil. They are in the process of moving to serve at the NTM Headquarters in the US. Their leaving is certainly bittersweet–Bitter because of all those who will miss them. Sweet because of all those they have impacted in their 41 years here.

Andy’s grandparents moved to Brazil in the 60’s, with their 7 kids {their pic above on the screen}. His dad grew up in a riverboat on the Amazon river until he went back to the US for Bible School, met his wife, and they moved to Brazil in the 70’s, where Andy was born and lived until he went back to the US for college, we met, and now here we are.

{Andy giving an update on Peniel}
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{Our little (and giant!) MK’s singing their song}
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I don’t think I ever realized the legacy we’ve been left— more valuable than gold, more secure than any trust fund– the conviction that there is no hope apart from Jesus, perseverance to be a part of making Him known where He is not, and faith that He is absolutely worth it all, even our very lives. The stories they have to tell…… {are cRaZy!!} but testify to how faithful God has been through it all.img_1084

But it’s not just Andy’s family. We sit behind all the white hairs and it’s humbling. People who have done this for 30+ years with no fanfare. Just faithful servants who have kept their hands to the plow. Even when the path is harder and rockier than they had hoped. Some of them are in more pain than we can imagine (and they will ever tell). Yet. FOR THE JOY they endure hardship. We have got a lot to learn from them.

And it’s not just the white haired-missionaries. But when there’s talk about legacy, I think about my parents….
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My parents have been by our side for birthdays and surgeries. They have come to our rescue when we needed a date night or our laundry folded. They have planned family vacations and silly-string wars. They have not only listened to their grandsons talk for hours about fishing and minecraft, but they have even taken fly-fishing lessons to teach our kids how to tie their own flies and played minecraft with our kids. They flew down to be with us and write emails when they can’t.

It’s hard to condense the legacy they are leaving into words, but here’s a few…
Affirmation— The other day our kids got off the phone and said “I like talking with them. They’re so warm and comforting. And they only say things to compliment.” That’s high praise from a 12 year old boy!! It’s the truth! Just scroll down the comments and you will see.
Belonging— It’s a big thing to be welcomed home, regardless of whether or not you have colicky babies or jet-lagged teenagers, and however long you’ve been away. But it’s what they do. Dad fires up the furnace and mom makes your favorite pie.
Faith— How many times have I called and heard “we were just praying for you.” People often ask me how my parents feel about us being missionaries. I’m sure it doesn’t “feel” good, but I’m thankful for their example of faith, that God is good and He can be trusted… even with our kids.
Joy/Gratitude— (Both, because I don’t know that you can have one without the other). I never realized how much my mom says one phrase until our kids picked up on it. Whether we’re headed to the store or just sat down at the table together, she’ll say “Oh, yeah!” But it’s not just circumstantial. Their joy is a matter is of perspective– looking for grace and celebrating it.
Love— I don’t know how they do it. They have beared all things, believed all things, hoped all things, endured all things. Not just when we’re love-able. In spite of our multitude of sins and offenses, they have given us the greatest gift of all– Love.dsc_0309

I don’t know if their photo will ever be on a projector (although it should!) I don’t know if they’ll ever be recognized for all their years of faithful service (atleast on this side of heaven). But I have no doubt that one day they will hear those words “well done, good and faithful servant,” because the legacy they are leaving is that whether you’re a mechanic or a cook or retired or a missionary, what is important is in all you do, you do it for the glory of God.

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Golden Years

It’s my parents’ Golden Anniversary!
Fitty years! C’MON now er’body…holla!!!
[OR in the spirit of 1964, a more proper greeting]

Oh mom and dad, if I weren’t a continent away, you know I would be going to Cedar Point today! (Just kidding 🙂 )
How I wish we were there to fill your home with golden balloons and your lawn with those who have stood by your side through the years to come party and have “a gas”! (You may have to be over 60 to catch that, or look it up.)
But, I’m here…so I write.

Fifty years ago…
average yearly income: $6,000
minimum wage: $1.15/hour
gallon of gasoline: 25 cents
gallon of milk: 93 cents
average cost of a new car: $3,500
brand new Ford Mustang: $2,320
average house price: $3,360
average monthly pent: $115
loaf of bread: 21 cents
US postal stamp: 5 cents
ticket to the movies: $1.25
ticket to Broadway: under $10
Are we having fun yet?

Fifty years ago…Diet Pepsi was introduced. Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin were born. Lucky Charms and Pop-Tarts made their appearance on supermarket shelves. US decided to enter the Vietnam War. The Beatles debuted on Ed Sullivan Show. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer aired on TV. Arby’s opened. And my dad and mom said “I do” on May 23, 1964.filename-1You guys, what a reason to celebrate!!

1/2 a CENTURY!
18,250 DAYS!
438,000 HOURS!
26,280,000 MINUTES!
1,576,800,000 SECONDS!
FiFTY YEARS!!
of I still do.

I am sure a few of those 1,576,800,000 seconds probably didn’t seem like “happily ever after.” A LOT has changed in the last 50 years. Besides the above…plans changed, wars broke out, soldiers drafted, tantrums happened (referring to us kids, of course 🙂 ), jobs ended, uncertainties surfaced, the nest emptied…to name a few.
BUT! Some things have never changed, like your commitment to have and to hold…for better OR worse, richer OR poorer, in sickness AND in health. I am sure vows have been put to the test. But, there has never been a time in my life when I wondered whether your marriage would make it until “death do us part.” How rare and priceless that is.
FiFTY YEARS!!
of you’re still the one.

Torquato Tasso, an Italian poet said it well: Perduto è tutto il tempo che in amor non si spende.
You guys have lived it well: Lost is all the time that you do not spend in love.
While the 50th Anniversary has been named the Golden Year, I’d say you have strived to make all your years together golden. You have been refined by fire and come out purer than ever.
FiFTY YEARS!!
of conscious coupling.

Your love that goes deeper than how you feel is a gift.
Your resolve to encourage the heck out of others is a blessing.
Your commitment to look for the lovely and focus on the positive is an inspiration.
Oh, how I wish today we could give back a fraction of all that you have given to us.
FiFTY YEARS!!
of experiencing and giving God’s grace.

Being away makes me long all the more for the Golden Years ahead!
For that One Fine Day when our Bridegroom returns for us.
When we are carried across the threshold into the place He is preparing for His bride.
Forget golden balloons…we’re gonna dance on golden streets!
For all these days we have to catch up on, we will have eternity together!

You raised us to face the sun for good pictures. (As your eldest says “OK everyone, now stare directly into the sun!”) You also taught us to face the Son, because the best is yet to come…
So also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.
He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to
all who are eagerly waiting for Him.
(Hebrews 9.28)

Dad and Mom, you are one fine golden example of love and commitment.
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Today, we celebrate YOU! Always, we love you dearly.

Long Goodbye

These weeks feel like somewhere in the background, there is a song being played called the Long Goodbye. The tune is lively and full of emotion, and has been steadily crescendoing with a mixture of reluctant sadness and excited anticipation for the page to turn.

When we started down this road a year ago, one of my biggest fears was that it would take us away from those so dear to us. That we would be on our own. I thought we would tell people we were moving, and they would walk away. But instead, we have been carried to where we are today, backed with care and support for what’s ahead. I don’t even know how to describe the outpouring of love we have received. But I’ll try…

We have friends who are like family. And family who are our friends.
(I’m not distinguishing between the two here and just calling all yall friends.)
There’s the friends whose eyes have filled with tears during these days together. Who have committed to not let the miles create distance. Who embrace through the tears when it would hurt less to turn their backs. There’s the friends who just moved into a house with a basement, and out of all they could do with that space, they offered it to us to store some stuff. There’s the friend who knew my son was turning 5 and we were busy packing, so she turned her daughter’s birthday party into a bash for the both of them. There’s the friends who threw us the most meaningful, elegant, fun going-away party, so that we could approach goodbyes with laughs and cheers. There’s the friends who have made us meals and made sure they were gluten-free. There’s the friends who get a gleam in their eyes when they ask if we can receive packages, and for our address. There’s the friends who have been eager to help…even if it means unpacking our kitchen, packing it up, unpacking it, packing it up again (all while they were in the middle of their own major kitchen renovation). There’s the friends who have always just been there – for advice, prayer, laughs, walks. There are the friends who no matter how long it’s been, we’ll always be able to pick up where we left off.

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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We have something truly amazing here.
Sometimes I think we’re cray-cray for leaving it.
And I long for that Day when this doesn’t seem crazy.

But for now, I am forever grateful for the One goodbye we will never have to say.

The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 31.8

For Dad

It’s not easy being a dad.
The older our kids get, the more I realize this. It’s not an easy task. Provide. Protect. Lead the home. And manage all the everyday stresses that come along in a way that doesn’t exasperate your children.
We had no idea what laid on the shoulders of our dads until we entered parenthood and started carrying the same burdens. The delicate balance of giving our boys the freedom to fly and preserving their lives.

It’s not easy being my dad.
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The further I get from home, the more I realize this. 13 years ago, they gave their blessing to their baby girl marrying some boy out of the jungles of Brazil. Knowing it could mean their grandbabies could move to the jungles of Brazil someday. My parents still live in the same red-brick house they brought me home from the hospital. And yet, they gave me wings to explore the world. Sending their high schooler off to a Navajo Mission in New Mexico. Then on a summer mission trip in California. Their college girl to be a camp counselor at an Inner-City Camp in LA. Then to Berlin, Germany. Papua New Guinea for the summer.

I never realized what sacrifice and courage that required.
For my dad to let go of his baby girl. But I do now.
And I just have to say thank you.
Thank you for loving me enough to learn that delicate balance of protecting and leaving in the hands of our Protector.
Thank you for always welcoming me back into that red-brick house with hugs and home-made apple pie.
Thank you for your example of trusting our Almighty Father, casting your cares to Him because He cares for all of us.
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It’s Father’s Day, and I am thankful for my dad. I am amazed by my husband who just got back from taking our boys camping, for all the ways he loves and serves and loves and serves. And I am blown away by our heavenly Father who has given all He has for His kids.
He gives good gifts.
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My cup overflows.
And the tears fall.
Knowing this not the story for everyone. I weap for the fatherless. For those who cringe at the idea of a day to honor fathers. “Dad” means abandonment, betrayal, disappointment, abuse.
I pray the deep layers of pain this day may provoke brings you to an understanding of One who never leaves, never lets go, never gives up, never loves less. God, our Father! Our generous, lavish-loving, gracious, dependable Father. He knows. He sees. He hears. He cares. And you know what? He is near.

I look up to the mountains–does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth!
He will not let you stumble and fall; the One who watches over you will not sleep…
The Lord Himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.
Psalm 121
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For Mom

Dearest mom, Happy Mother’s Day!
I have thought about you all day. All you are and all you teach me. All you have done and all you have helped me become. You are a wise counselor, a peacemaker, servant, prayer warrior, and close friend. You teach by example. You inspire through encouragement. You love without limit. You have prayed me through hurtful relationships, out of difficult situations, and into an understanding of the matchless love of our Heavenly Father.
I love you, mom. More than words.
Thank you…for everything.

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And for the mommas out there who wonder if the roses of this day are worth the thorns. Mother’s Day may hold recognition and praise, but there’s countless days of self-sacrifice and sleepless nights. I found these words inspiring. I hope you will too.

“Mommas, you are the warriors of our world. You are equal parts soft and strong. You are paramedics, nutritionists, comforters, counselors, personal shoppers and chefs, teachers, and principals. You are life-givers and life-enrichers. Let’s face it, without you we’d all have candy for breakfast and stomach aches by lunchtime. We would feel lost in this big, scary world, but you tether us to the soft edges of home. You guide, instruct, nurture, and pray.

And all of this even though your job is often thankless. There is always one more load of laundry to fold. One more crisis to resolve. One more meal to cook. Being a mother means a lifetime of work that seems small but adds up to big stakes in the lives of your children (and their children, and their children . . .)

Clothing little bodies. Putting cold washcloths on warm foreheads. Making endless plates of mac n’ cheese. Creating a home that says, “You’re welcome here any time.” Gassing up the car again to visit children and grandchildren in far away places. It doesn’t go unnoticed, momma. And the ripple effect of your efforts to mother go far beyond your children. Look past the “least of these” in your world, and see that your service and sacrifice has Kingdom implications.

You don’t have to work to be noticed, because Jesus already sees all you do. Your prize isn’t just a great Mother’s Day gift or a fancy brunch. It’s knowing your life is a living demonstration that sacrifice is worth it, that love doesn’t have to be earned, and that living for more than ourselves is worth every mess, stretch mark, and sleepless night. Your family is a gift, momma, and your thank-you card has already been delivered through God’s Word. Press in to the One who gave them to you, and press on!
Erin Davis