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Monday, November 29, 2010


I’m half-way there! Today I’m in Brussels, Belgium and tomorrow morning I’m heading on to Uganda. I cannot believe it! I’m so excited for the days ahead. I’m so thankful to have my friend Joy by my side and my friend Laura coming soon. But I’m especially grateful for my sweet and amazing husband and his willingness to let me take this trip and have this time with my new children while he holds down the fort at home.

Shelly and Joy getting dropped off for adventure

While I’m gone we have some help from sitters, friends and family – but basically Dan is running the show for nearly two weeks. And the show at our house is no joke. There’s a crawling baby who is in to everything, an active 4-year old boy and a studious first grader with all the homework she could ever hope for. There’s piano and ballet and birthday parties and carpools and playtime and baths and bedtime; it’s a lot for a full-time stay at home mom. It’s insane for a Daddy who is also juggling his full time job and helping run a budding ministry in Africa.

Sitting here in Europe, I wonder what people might think of me for leaving my family behind to go and do this thing? I know that many are supportive, especially my husband (otherwise, I would of course not be going) but I know there are others who will judge me for this decision.

I mean, I am a wife and a mother – isn’t my first ministry to my husband and children? What kind of wife takes off for Africa for two weeks and leaves her husband to fend for himself? What kind of mom is out of the country for her baby’s 1st birthday? (Yes, my baby Charlotte turns one on December 6 and I will miss it). What kind of mom would really go get on the plane after her 7 and 4 year olds beg her through tears and sniffles – “mommy, please, please don’t go. Please stay here.”?

I hope no one suspects I take this lightly. I am literally heartbroken to miss Baby C’s 1st birthday. Madeline is about to lose her first tooth. Davis has his first sleepover on Friday. I’m missing it all and this is time I can’t ever get back. But I tell you what, it is my honor and my privilege to give this time. I give it completely, sacrificially and joyfully – because this is an act of obedience, pure and simple.

Daily, I teach my children about obedience. Obedience to me, to Daddy, to all adults and most importantly, to their Heavenly Father. How could I ever stand before my children reciting our mantra - “we obey all the way, right away and with happy hearts” - if I myself am unwilling to obey?

Last night I told my oldest child this: “Madeline, if Mommy loves you more than she loves Jesus, if I love you and Davis and Charlotte so much that it makes me disobedient to our Lord, then you, my babies, are my idols.” The very definition of idolatry is loving something, anything more than you love the Lord your God. An idol is anything or anyone that comes between you and Jesus and His plans for your life.

And finally, to those who might say “Shelly I don’t believe you. I don’t believe that the Lord would really call you to this. Christ would never call a mother to leave her husband and children in order to serve Him.” To that person I would say, Really? You really don’t think Jesus would ask me to do something that might be hard? He would not ask me to do something that would require me and my husband and even my children to step out of their comfort zones and grow in our faith? After all He’s done for me, would He not also ask me to sacrifice for Him?

Post Script, from DaddyDan
Ok, first of all, I think most of you saw through that whole "Sweet and amazing" bit she said about me. My sweet wife orchestrated everything for the next two weeks before she left like a giant Rube Goldberg machine. Seriously everything. She even has one of her friends scheduled to call me periodically to remind me of specific things. The fact that I'm able to work from the office at all this week is a testament to her organizational skills, and perhaps a small testament to my penchant for occasionally, sometimes, every now and then forgetting a thing or two, which prompted her to set all this up.

Regardless of all that, I just had to poke my head in here to say that I am extremely proud of my wife for what she is doing. If you know her at all then you know that she would sooner perform her own root canal than camp out... in an RV, even. She calls me at work to come home and kill a spider, although thankfully we had a boy and I have dubbed him the Killer of all Creepy Things While Daddy is Away or Unavailable.

My wife has deliberately given up some personal comforts this week, and even more notably, has chosen to be away from her children for the first time ever, in order to be with her new children for the first time ever. I couldn't have kept her away. You don't stand between a mama bear and her cubs, even cubs that have not yet seen the loving mother that is on her way to kiss them and hold them in her arms like they've never been held before. I love you Honey.


Sara Otisimo said...

This is so beautiful! I am so encouraged by both of you. Just so you know you have about 22 Colombian street kids praying for yal. I look forward to telling them tomorrow that you are on your way to Africa.

Anonymous said...

First Dan.....LOL, that would be me, planning everything down to the last detail before leaving! But still, it is a hard "show" to balance. Good Luck, I wish we lived closer to help! and Shelly with tears in my eyes I can say I am so proud of you and what you are doing, what you are showing your children about love, and you have our full support - no judgement at all. You may miss a few things, even a few important moments, and it will be hard. But as a mom told me a few years back "There is a difference between something being hard and being wrong" What you are doing is hard.....but not wrong. Lots of love and prayers to you all. We added you to the prayer list at our church this week. Travel Safe! Michelle

Anonymous said...

Ya'll are being covered in prayer. Hugs to my sweet friend Joy...and one to Laura when you see her.
Jennie Rickard-Wiegand

Jennie said...

I cannot possibly be the only one in tears reading this post. Love you all (including you, sweet Joy, for joining Shelly on this great adventure). You are all being blanketed in prayer.

love said...

oh, i'm all teary! i could have written this one year ago as i took off to uganda.
and now again as i prepare to go back..."leaving" 5 kiddos home with my wonderful, supportive husband [just like yours].
He doesn't call us to easy, safe and comfortable. He just calls. May each of you feel peace & so much grace as you ALL say YES!

Nancy said...

Y'all are both amazing! REALLY! I'm sooo excited for her and yes, my heart aches for what she's missing. She had a decision to make and she chose the way she knew she needed to go! God bless all of you!

AGE said...

Sadly you are right. You have been judged, you are being judged and you will be judged from now and forever for answering this call. BUT, truly, as you already know you are in the midst of a miracle. The miracle of the transformation of your own heart, the miracle of adoption and all that had to be orchestrated since the beginning of time for you to intercept these two children God had planned for you and your family before they were even born, and the miracle of the love you will have for them that you will never fully be able to explain. What you are "giving up" are the things "we" have created to give our lives significance. What you are bringing home from this journey are blessings and love that will exponentially increase for the rest of yours and your childrens lives. You are privileged. You are experiencing a small bit of the purpose for which you were created. It is awesome to think your Creator has known since your birth that these were the plans He had for you. I'm praying for you safety and that you do not have to leave without your new babies--that would be challenging for the heart, to say the least:)

Holly said...

Only ONE can judge you and HE already has. HE sent you to meet your new children and bring them home safely. We love you!

Chasity said...

Ok there are teardrops on my keyboard! You both have blessed me (again) today. As I promised Shelly I and my family are praying for you guys. Just trying to imagine all you're going through physically, spiritually and emotionally is awe-inspiring of our God. We look forward to being in your shoes as our Lord leads. Blessings to you all.

nicole said...

I visited from Lovelyn's post. I can't imagine how or why someone would judge you for this. I pray that your obedience leads others to listen to God's call, whatever that may be.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Beautiful post, such a wonderful explanation.


Heather said...

What a blessing it is to be called and to have someone by your side is supportive. I hope your trip was wonderful and that got much done.