June 2003. It’s the last time customs stamped my passport. Madrid. Tangier. I take my fiance along for quite a ride, then four months later, calm and cheerful, I leave behind my love of nations for the love of my all-American guy.
December 2010. My passport expires in its quiet file folder…no fanfare.
February 2013. About to bring my third baby into the world, I have nestled myself quite deep into a life of home and family. Yet, as I shared here, for someone like me who has logged all these miles in the memory bank and had her passport stamped in a dozen faraway places, the seat of the rocking chair can sometimes feel so small.
January 2014. My son traces his finger over the sweep of Chinese characters on a set of blocks I bought him for Christmas. He wants me to take him to China, he says. “Someday,” I tell him. The elusive “someday.” That same month, I tell my husband that “someday” I’ve got to go overseas again. Maybe I’ll become one of those Compassion bloggers. Maybe I’ll do missionary encouragement trips like I’ve always dreamed. Maybe it will be with my husband alongside or maybe I’ll travel on my own. But I’ve got to see God’s work in the great big world again. Someway, somehow…someday.
February 25, 2014. My husband comes home with bad news. With no warning, the company has downsized his day job, taking the majority of our income and turning all that seemed stable upside down.
March 2014. We walk through a dark season of insomnia and stress, obsessing over the resume and wondering why such and such place hasn’t called. Along with close friends and family, the people who pour into us most are the ones who served overseas with me more than a decade ago.
April 5, 2014. At night, I dream I’m standing in line at the airport, ready to fly to Malaysia to see my dear friend who has just moved there. But when I open my passport, the expiration date says I can’t go.
May 8, 2014. Through my uncle, a ghostwriting opportunity gets dropped in our lap. We’ve worked on a couple of projects in the last couple of years, both from the comfort of our couch and computers. This one? In order to complete the project, we’ve got to do interviews with humanitarian and social justice advocates the week of June 8…in Europe. Between job queries and family life and expired passports, we can’t possibly fly off to Geneva in less than a month, my husband tells me. I shrug and try to hold back my smile. “We can’t?” I ask, thinking maybe God is up to something.
May 10, 2014. Driving out of town to speak at a women’s event, I look through my notes for my Psalm that Never Ends talk, recalling the past wonders of God that show me “His love endures forever.” I add in a sentence about this writing opportunity and wonder if God might make this trip another one of His mercies in our story.
May 22, 2014. Old teammates from my stint abroad take care of our kids while we drive to an appointment at the Detroit passport agency to see about getting these passports expedited. Mine gets the suspicious eye as it’s a back stock replacement passport for the one that was stolen from me overseas. And I’ve changed my name (see June 2003). But we make it through the appointment and head home, hoping to get the passports in time to book the tickets.
May 28, 2014. Passports come in the mail. Tickets are booked!
June 7, 2014. We are set to fly to Geneva, Switzerland, to see the UN, visit Calvin’s Reformation sites and to spend the week hearing the stories of modern day world-changers. This opportunity combines my experience in direct missions with my husband’s experience with think tanks and political movements…and allows us to use our writing skills as a team. I’m floored. But for all of the ways the Lord has worked to make my desire a reality in this creative way, there is something different about this trip, something different about me since my last overseas excursion. The painting above by my friend Leslie Ober says it all. I don’t fly lightly. My heart is tethered to three little ones on the ground. So, if you will, please pray for our safety, that my husband and I will return whole and wholehearted to the job we never want to lose…parenting our children.
If you’d like to get prayer requests and more details about the trip, sign up below to join my “inner circle.” I’ll be sending out a special Geneva edition email later today to those on the list.